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Steven B. Feirman



Steven Feirman practices franchise and distribution law, with an emphasis on helping franchisors expand their franchise systems in the United States and in foreign jurisdictions. He has gained renown for his work at the intersection of franchising and antitrust, including pricing strategy and supply chain matters.

What do you focus on?

I am a former Federal Trade Commission lawyer, and I focus on helping well-established and emerging franchise systems develop their business models and expand their businesses. Many franchisors call on me to address their most complex issues, and I serve as both their legal counsel and strategic business advisor.

Franchise Compliance

Much of my work involves the structuring of franchise systems to ensure that they comply with all federal, state and foreign franchise laws. More importantly, I seek to ensure that my clients embrace best franchising practices in their franchise documents and operations. This results in a franchise system that is marketable and collaborative. By using this approach, I have happy clients in a variety of industries, including restaurants, hospitality, financial services, travel, real estate, personal services, business services, retail and health care.

Pricing and Other Competition Issues

I regularly advise franchisors and others on pricing, supply restrictions, acquisitions, joint ventures and other sensitive competition issues. Companies that commit antitrust violations can be subject to serious penalties, including treble damages. With my experience as a federal antitrust enforcement official, I have helped many franchisors navigate through varying federal and state antitrust laws. For example, because franchisors are not permitted to control franchisee prices in some states, my clients have used techniques such as Minimum Advertised Price policies, geographic price fixing, pricing incentives, agency models and consignment arrangements. One of my favorite projects in recent years was the development of a unilateral “Colgate” policy that is thought to be the only such policy in use by a franchisor.

What do you see on the horizon?

In recent years, franchisors have recognized the benefits of multi-unit franchising. I believe that this trend will continue, but with a shift from subfranchising toward area development.

Publications

  • United States,” chapter in The Franchise Law Review, 2d edition, chapter 46, Law Business Research Ltd., January 2015 (co-author)
  • “Bringing Your Brand to the United States,” German Franchising Association Yearbook 2014/2015
  • “Second Circuit Refuses to ‘Waive’ Good-bye to Class Actions,” Franchise Law Alert, February 2012
  • “Georgia Supreme Court Strikes Down In-Term Non-Compete,” Franchise Law Alert, November 2009
  • “Antitrust Handbook for Franchise and Distribution Practitioners” (Contributor), American Bar Association, 2008
  • “Another Look at Rebates,” Franchise Law Journal, March 2005
  • “The New China Franchise Regulation,” Franchising Business & Law Alert, February 2005
  • “Antitrust Enforcement Heightened in Europe,” Franchising World, August 2004
  • “Financial Accounting Standard Board’s Proposal Would Create Problems,” Global Competition Review, January 2004
  • “The Legality of Rebates from Suppliers,” Franchise Law Journal, November 2003
  • “Franchising in the United States,” chapter in International Franchising 2016—Legal and Business Considerations, LexNoir Foundtaion (co-author)
  • “The New Italian Franchise Rules,” Global Competition Review, October 2003
  • “Power Selling for Franchise Systems: National Account Programs,” Franchising World, February 2003
  • Franchising Chapter, Insider Report 2002: Doing Business in the European Union: A Practical Guide for Corporate Counsel (published by International Law Office)
  • “Courts Differ on Mandating Arbitration,” Franchise Law Journal, Fall 2002
  • “Franchising in Cyberspace,” Global Competition Review, February 2002
  • “Franchisees with ‘unclean hands’ may now sue their franchisors,” Global Competition Review, Dec. 2001/Jan. 2002
  • “Wholesale pricing policies may violate obligation of good faith and fair dealing,” Global Competition Review, Oct./Nov. 2001
  • “European Commission remains tough on non-price vertical restraints,” Global Competition Review, June/Jul. 2001
  • “International franchising makes a rare appearance in court,” Global Competition Review, Dec. 2000/Jan. 2001
  • “Franchisors gain weapon against cybersquatters,” Global Competition Review, Apr./May 2000
  • “U.S. Supreme Court Approves Resale Price Ceilings,” International Journal of Franchising and Distribution Law, 1999
  • “Supreme Court Decision Permits Franchisors To Set Price Ceilings,” The Franchise Lawyer, 1998
  • “Effects Of State Oil Co. v. Khan On Franchising,” Franchise Law Journal, 1998
  • “Franchising In South Africa Faces New Challenges,” Franchising World, 1995
  • “Intergovernmental Group Recommends Franchising Policy,” Global Franchising, 1994
  • “OECD Report Recommends Policy Rules For Franchising,” Franchise Legal Digest, 1994
  • Past editor, Franchise Legal Digest, published by the International Franchise Association
  • Past Editorial Committee chairman for Of Interest, a publication of the American Bar Association Franchise and Dealership Committee

Presentations

  • “Issues and Challenges for New Franchisors,” International Franchise Association Annual Convention, Las Vegas, NV (January 2017)
  • “A Game of Thrones: Interaction Between Manufacturing and Distribution Channels,” International Bar Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC (September 2016)
  • “Franchise System Pricing—Legal Principles and Best Practices,” International Franchise Association Legal Symposium, Chicago, IL (May 2014)
  • “Expanding to Foreign Markets Via Franchising,” Developing and Financing International Business Opportunities Conference, New York, NY (November 2013)
  • “Advanced Antitrust Developments,” International Franchise Association Legal Symposium, Washington, DC (May 2013)
  • “Distribution and Franchising Update,” American Bar Association Franchising Committee (February 2013)
  • “Antitrust Issues: Back in Vogue,” ABA Forum on Franchising, San Diego, CA (October 2010)
  • “Dealing with the Difficult Franchisee,” International Franchise Association Annual Convention, Las Vegas, NV (February 2010)
  • “Implementing A Pricing Policy,” International Franchise Association Legal Symposium, Washington, DC (May 2008)
  • “Antitrust Hot Topics—What You Don’t Know Could Cost You,” American Bar Association Section of Business Law, Washington, DC (March 2007)
  • “Strategies For Successful Franchise Expansion,” International Franchise Expo, Washington, DC (June 2006)
  • “Disclosure in International Franchising,” International Franchise Expo, Washington, DC (June 2006)
  • “Global Franchise Expansion: Strategies for Lucrative and Planned Growth,” Israel International Franchise Fair, Tel Aviv, Israel (September 2005)
  • “Antitrust Issues in Franchising,” American Bar Association (April 2005)
  • “Supply and Distribution Issues,” International Franchise Association’s 36th Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, DC (June 2004)
  • “The Controversy Over Vendor Rebates in Franchising,” New York State Bar Association, New York, NY (April 2004)
  • “Power Selling for Franchise Systems: National Account Programs,” International Franchise Association 43rd Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX (February 2003)
  • “Franchise Legal Issues in a Volatile Economy,” 2002 Legal Roundtable Series, International Franchise Association, Orange County, CA (November 2002)
  • “Essentials of Franchising,” ABA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC (August 2002)
  • “The Antitrust Impact of State Franchise/Dealer Laws,” The Franchise & Dealership Committee of the ABA Antitrust Section and the Antitrust, Franchising and Trade Regulation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, Troy, Michigan (June 2002)
  • “Vertical Restraints in Distribution: What’s Allowed, What’s Not,” Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law, Washington, DC (March 2001)
  • “Franchise Law Basics and Strategies for Minimizing Legal Problems,” Institute of Certified Franchise Executives, International Franchise Association, Las Vegas, NV (February 2001)
  • “Vertical Restraints in Distribution Relationships,” National CLE Antitrust Conference, Vail, CO (January 2001); “Best Practices in Successful Franchising,” International Franchise Association’s 40th Annual Convention (February 2000)
  • “Franchising in Euroland,” French Franchise Exposition, Paris, France (March 1999)

Contact

Steven B. Feirman

Partner

Washington, DC

Phone: 202-585-8395


Fax: 866-252-1483

Washington University in St. Louis, J.D.

Colgate University, A.B., magna cum laude

Virginia

New Jersey

District of Columbia

Steven was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the field of Franchise Law. Steven has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2006.

Steve has also been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2018 for Franchising (nationwide). He has also been recognized in Chambers in previous years.

Steve is recognized as one of the top franchise lawyers in the United States and internationally in the current edition of the International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers.

Steve has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating™ from Martindale Hubbell®, the highest possible rating for ethics and legal ability.

Steve has been recognized for the past twelve years as a “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times and he was inducted into the Legal Eagles Hall of Fame in 2013. He is also recognized by his peers as a leading franchise lawyer in the Washington, DC, edition of Super Lawyers Magazine.

Steve is a recipient of the Federal Trade Commission’s Meritorious Service Award and the prestigious Burton Award for Legal Achievement.

 

Steve is a member of the American Bar Association’s Section on Antitrust Law and its Forum on Franchising.
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