L. Michael Hankes  |  ATTORNEY AT LAW
tel (781) 817-5215  |  fax (781) 849-1472


Michael Han­kes is a trial attor­ney who has been rep­re­sent­ing fran­chisees for more than two decades. Michael has suc­cess­fully tried cases in jury, non-jury and arbi­tra­tion forums. The trial mat­ters han­dled are often com­plex, involv­ing issues such as fran­chis­ing, dis­tri­b­u­tion of goods and ser­vices, con­tracts, busi­ness torts, restric­tive covenants, trade secrets, unfair com­pe­ti­tion and unfair trade prac­tices. He has also served as a com­mer­cial arbi­tra­tor before the Amer­i­can Arbi­tra­tion Association.

In 1995, Michael began a fif­teen year tenure as a char­ter mem­ber of the Fair Stan­dards Com­mit­tee spon­sored by the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion of Fran­chisees and Deal­ers (AAF&D). The Fair Stan­dards were intended to be an expres­sion of what a fair fran­chise con­tract should con­tain. The focus of the Fair Stan­dards Com­mit­tee, made up of fran­chisees, fran­chisors and attor­neys rep­re­sent­ing both groups was on lev­el­ing the play­ing field. Fran­chise agree­ments were one sided doc­u­ments drafted by fran­chisors that were con­tin­u­ing to become more and more onerous.

Michael was the pri­mary drafts­man of the stan­dards relat­ing to dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and remains one of a hand­ful of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of the Fair Stan­dards Com­mit­tee. His com­men­tary on the impor­tance of the Fair Stan­dards deliv­ered in a pre­sen­ta­tion to the AAF&D’s June 2002 annual con­ven­tion in Chicago appears in the arti­cles sec­tion of this web­site. The AAF&D’s Fair Stan­dards were pub­lished in CCH’s Busi­ness Fran­chise Guide in 2002.

Michael is also a skilled nego­tia­tor and has exten­sive expe­ri­ence in col­lec­tive nego­ti­a­tion for groups of fran­chisees. He is also adept at strate­gic plan­ning. Fran­chisees who have the fore­sight to look to the future can often nav­i­gate their own exit strate­gies if those options are explored early.

Born in Bay Shore, New York, Michael grew up in Suf­folk County, Long Island. He attended Ober­lin Col­lege in Ober­lin, Ohio, where he devel­oped a life long inter­est in the sports of ice hockey and lacrosse. Michael grad­u­ated with a B.A. in Gov­ern­ment in 1974. Fol­low­ing his mar­riage to his wife, Con­nie, the pair moved to Terre Haute, Indi­ana, where Michael com­pleted his Mas­ter of Sci­ence Degree in Crim­i­nol­ogy in 1976. After com­plet­ing more than four years of ser­vice as a Cer­ti­fied Pro­ba­tion Offi­cer assigned to the juve­nile divi­sion of the Vigo County Cir­cuit Court, Michael moved his young fam­ily to Spring­field, Mass­a­chu­setts to begin his legal stud­ies at West­ern New Eng­land Col­lege School of Law. Dur­ing 1981–1982, his final year of law school, Michael was selected as a Leopold Schepp Foun­da­tion Scholar. He received his law degree from West­ern New Eng­land in 1982.

Michael was admit­ted to the Mass­a­chu­setts and New Hamp­shire Bars in 1982 and 1983 respec­tively and spent a year as a law clerk to the Pre­sid­ing Jus­tices of the New Hamp­shire Supe­rior Court sit­ting in Man­ches­ter before enter­ing the pri­vate prac­tice of law. He was admit­ted to the fol­low­ing fed­eral courts in the years indi­cated: 1983, United States Dis­trict Courts for the Dis­tricts of Mass­a­chu­setts and New Hamp­shire; 1984, Court of Appeals for the First Cir­cuit; 1986, Supreme Court of the United States; 2000, United States Dis­trict Courts for the East­ern and West­ern Dis­tricts of Arkansas and the East­ern Dis­trict of Wis­con­sin; 2008 Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

As a fre­quent lec­turer for the AAF&D, Michael has appeared on the dais at the AAF&D’s three legal sym­po­siums held dur­ing its annual con­ven­tions in Las Vegas in 1999, San Diego in 2000 and Chicago in 2002. He has received three of the AAF&D’s chairman’s awards: the first from the Meineke Deal­ers in 2000; the sec­ond in 2002, for his work on the Meineke Fran­chise Con­tract and the third in 2006, for his work in the land­mark deci­sion of Inde­pen­dent Asso­ci­a­tion of Mail Box Cen­ter Own­ers, Inc. et al. v. The Supe­rior Court of San Diego County, Mail Boxes, Etc. U.S.A., Inc. et al., 133 Cal.App.4th 396 (2005).

As the father of three grown chil­dren, Michael was also active as a direc­tor in the Brain­tree Youth Hockey Pro­gram and as a coach in the St. Moritz Youth Hockey Pro­gram. Michael still plays both the sports of ice hockey and lacrosse and is not only a fix­ture at the annual Ober­lin Col­lege alumni lacrosse game, but is a mem­ber of the South Coastal Men’s Hockey League’s Hall of Fame.

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