4000 MacArthur Blvd.
Suite 600. East Tower
Newport Beach, CA 92660

920 Glenneyre, Suite A
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Ph: (949) 376-9977     Fx: (949) 494-3448     Email: rodhatter@fran-law.com

Our Approach

Q. Do you do legal work other than franchising?

A. Absolutely. We organize corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships on a regular basis. One reason is that many new businesses need to organize better to limit the owners’ liability and to make a better impression on third parties. There are also good tax reasons, but I don’t give tax advice because that’s what accountants do.  We also are routinely asked by our clients to review leases for their new businesses. 

We are hired regularly by people who are either buying or selling an existing business.  We handle employment contracts.

Rod’s corporate experience was, after all, as “general counsel”, so he have experience in nearly all areas. If we don’t, we know who to call – one of our “Associates”. And they call us for franchise and trademark work.

Q. Why do you specialize in franchising?

A. Because of the people. Our franchise clients are generally small business owners who either have a concept that want to share with others or who are looking for a concept which somebody has already developed. Both types are generally personable and like to work with other people. They appreciate the kind of assistance we provide in bringing them together.

Q. How do you bring them together?

A. We try to make our legal documents less “legal” and more “user friendly”.  We want them to be easy to understand and focused on what is important rather than try to create a thick document that nobody understands. After Rod finished his legal training at a big firm in New York, he learned something from a hugely successfully Midwestern lawyer. He said that it was more important for a lawyer to bring people together than drive them apart. Long, wordy documents frighten people and can ruin deals. They don’t want a lawsuit; they want to do a deal. So do we.

Q. Don’t long documents protect people better?

A. Not necessarily. we think simplicity provides the easiest understanding. Drafting a contract is like telling a story. People are put off by long openings or disjointed explanations. The story has to flow from the beginning to the end. If so, everybody understands it and is happy with it. Our experience has been that by adding words for clarification or making exceptions only creates ambiguities and blurs the object of the deal. When a problem does arise later, it is almost always one that nobody thought about before and should never have happened. Lawyers who try to “cover all the bases” with long and complicated documents cannot think of everything.

Q. Is your first consultation free?

A. No, not if I am asked for legal advice. I don’t charge for meeting with somebody to get to know each other, but we typically charge $445 for an initial consultation where we review the client’s legal situation, provide our view of the legal issues and possible solutions and perhaps write a letter. We also review franchise agreements for potential franchisees for the same flat fee.

Q. Do you accept contingent fee cases?

A. No. We have tried it several times, but it is not good for the kind of law We practice. Contingency fees are actually the most costly way to employ a lawyer.