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

Practice Areas

Strate­gic Plan­ning and Analysis

Once they have set­tled into a fran­chise busi­ness, many fran­chisees put away their fran­chise agree­ments and rarely give a thought to the future until they are near­ing the end of the ini­tial term. Oth­ers peri­od­i­cally review the cir­cum­stances of their fran­chise, and in the same way that a fran­chisor devel­ops an ongo­ing busi­ness strat­egy, those fran­chisees plan for and embrace the future of their fran­chise busi­ness. In indi­vid­ual cases, such plan­ning may involve addi­tion or reduc­tion of exist­ing fran­chise units or exit strate­gies. One of the ser­vices Michael Han­kes offers is the review and analy­sis of clients’ fran­chise busi­ness rela­tion­ships and doc­u­ments and advice on the devel­op­ment of those long term strate­gies. Multi-unit fran­chise own­ers may find these ser­vices espe­cially helpful.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Fran­chisee Associations

Many mod­ern fran­chise agree­ments attempt to limit the rights of the fran­chisees who exe­cute them and make the process of achiev­ing change very dif­fi­cult. For­ma­tion of an inde­pen­dent fran­chisee asso­ci­a­tion can pro­vide indi­vid­ual fran­chisees with a col­lec­tive voice to address the vary­ing issues which arise in the oper­a­tion of their fran­chise busi­nesses. Suc­cess­ful fran­chisee asso­ci­a­tions often have estab­lished ongo­ing dia­logue with their fran­chisor in many facets of the fran­chised busi­ness rela­tion­ship, from prod­uct devel­op­ment to oper­a­tions. Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of such fran­chisee asso­ci­a­tions is another ser­vice offered by Michael Hankes.

Col­lec­tive Negotiation

Col­lec­tive nego­ti­a­tion involves the art of bring­ing together groups of indi­vid­ual fran­chisees to achieve goals com­mon to fran­chisees through­out a par­tic­u­lar fran­chise sys­tem. Through care­ful plan­ning and devel­op­ment, such groups of fran­chisees can develop strate­gies for nego­ti­at­ing par­tic­u­lar issues with their fran­chisor as a group. Mat­ters that an indi­vid­ual fran­chisee may not be able to nego­ti­ate effec­tively alone can be effec­tively resolved in a col­lec­tive nego­ti­a­tion where the fran­chisor is deal­ing with sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments of its fran­chise sys­tem on issues that affect both sides of the table. For­ma­tion of a for­mal fran­chisee asso­ci­a­tion is not nec­es­sar­ily a pre­req­ui­site to col­lec­tive negotiation.

Group Rep­re­sen­ta­tion

Group rep­re­sen­ta­tion involves indi­vid­ual fran­chisees who may not have the finan­cial resources to bring for­mal legal action against their fran­chisor, but who are will­ing to work together as a group to accom­plish such a result. Michael Han­kes has been rep­re­sent­ing fran­chisees in group actions for many years and can offer such an option to groups of fran­chisees who seek for­mal redress with their franchisor.

Med­i­ta­tion and Arbitration

Medi­a­tion and arbi­tra­tion are sep­a­rate but related forms of alter­nate dis­pute res­o­lu­tion that have enjoyed sig­nif­i­cant expan­sion in recent years. Medi­a­tion is a set­tle­ment process engag­ing the ser­vices of a third party neu­tral to attempt to resolve the dif­fer­ences of the par­ties. Arbi­tra­tion is a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion process which pro­vides a mech­a­nism and process for decid­ing legal claims of the par­ties out­side of our for­mal court sys­tem. There are now sev­eral for­mal arbi­tra­tion forums that offer arbi­tra­tion ser­vices with which Mr. Han­kes has sig­nif­i­cant experience.

Lit­i­ga­tion and Trial Practice

Lit­i­ga­tion and trial prac­tice involve the tra­di­tional resort to legal process in our state and fed­eral court sys­tems. There is a dis­tinc­tion between lit­i­ga­tion and trial prac­tice. Lit­i­ga­tion is the for­mal process by which the par­ties pre­pare for trial; trial prac­tice involves the actual trial of the case on the mer­its, whether before a jury or a judge.

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