The firm is committed to providing clients with relevant information to help them understand and research issues that may be relevant to their franchising questions and the process of hiring the right lawyer to handle franchise issues.  Hiring an experienced franchise lawyer is important for both you and for franchising in general. When lawyers inexperienced in franchise and business opportunity law take franchise cases, they may not always be familiar with the available arguments to be made to and from the court and as a consequence, adverse rulings and judgments can often make bad law that will affect other franchisees.

How To Hire The Best Franchise Lawyer For Your Case

Before Hiring An Attorney For Your Franchise Case, You May Wish To Find Out:

How long has the attorney been practicing law and how much experience in franchise cases do they have?

Franchise cases often involve complex procedural and strategic issues that may be best handled by an attorney with specific franchise experience developed over years of practice. Robert S. Boulter has over twenty years’ experience in franchise matters.

Are any attorneys in the firm certified in Franchise and Distribution Law?

Lawyers in California can apply to become “certified” specialists in various areas of law, including Franchise and Distribution law. The State Bar of California sets many requirements that must be met before an attorney can become certified in franchise and distribution law. For example, “specialists must pass a written examination in their specialty field [or in certain circumstances satisfy an exemption], demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfill ongoing education requirements and be favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work.”  The standards and requirements for certification can be found at the following sections the State Bar of California’s website.  As of January 1, 2013, only about fifty of the more than 220,000 lawyers licensed in California were certified in Franchise and Distribution law.

There is no requirement to hire an attorney who is certified in franchise and distribution law. But all other things being equal, why wouldn’t you want an attorney with this level of expertise? In a sense, the State Bar of California, which regulates California attorneys, has pre-screened these lawyers for you and deemed them to be specialists in franchise and distribution law. At a minimum, it makes sense to consult with at least one certified franchise law specialist before you make your decision on which attorney or firm to hire. Robert S. Boulter is a certified specialist in franchise and distribution law.

Have the attorneys participated in activities and/or published articles relevant to franchising or otherwise demonstrated commitment to protecting the rights of franchisees?

Franchise law is a complicated area that has the potential to cross over and relate to a number of other legal sub-disciplines including class actions, mass actions, antitrust, unfair competition, and numerous others. Franchise attorneys need not be experts in all of these areas but need to be generally aware of developments in these areas as may be applicable to franchising. One way to keep of abreast of such matters is to participate in franchising related committees and activities. Robert Boulter has served on the State Bar of California Franchise Law Committee and is a long standing member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising. Robert Boulter has published articles and other materials in the area of franchise law that can be found here.

What results has the firm obtained on behalf of franchisees?

You may want to find out how the firm has handled other client’s cases and what results were achieved. While most settlements in the franchise arena are confidential, sometimes they are not others are not and can be asked about. You can also ask the firm for references of past or present clients. Robert will provide references on request.

Published trial court and/or court of appeal decisions may also give you an idea of the experience and competence of the attorneys. Robert has been involved as counsel of record in a number of important cases involving franchisee rights. Robert Boulter has published cases in the area of franchise law that can be found here.

Has the firm represented franchisees in the same system?

An experienced franchise lawyer may have handled numerous cases against the same franchisor. There are important reasons why you should consider hiring a lawyer who has litigated against the same franchisor before. First, the lawyer will have experience in dealing with the franchisor and its lawyers, which should help your lawyer work more efficiently. Second, your lawyer may already have important information about the franchisor that may help you. Third, the franchisor and their lawyers will know the lawyer will do a good job on your case and therefore may be agreeable to resolving much your case faster than it otherwise would.

Does the firm maintain professional malpractice liability insurance?

In California, a new rule of professional ethics requires lawyers to disclose whether they have professional liability insurance or not. This type of insurance can protect you if your lawyer makes a mistake on your case. Robert maintains professional liability insurance.

Have members of the firm ever been disciplined by any State Bar?

The California State Bar can discipline attorneys if they break certain applicable rules. You can check the disciplinary record of any California lawyer by going to the State Bar of California website, and type in the attorney’s name in the section “Attorney Search” in the upper right corner. In addition to the lawyer’s disciplinary history, you will find other basic information on the attorney and whether the attorney is a certified specialist.