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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

David Gurnick

In the world of franchise law, a well-written agreement might be the ultimate trade secret. Much of David Gurnick’s work is devoted to setting up a good foundation for smooth parent and franchisee interactions. “My role is to bridge the two sides,” he said. “Often I am asked to write an agreement that captures what the two sides want, just right, in order to help them have a good relationship. A bad agreement can mess up a good relationship,” he said. The practice of passing down licensed business methods and products through franchising is often a delicate matter, especially when disputes arise and significant amounts of investment money are on the line. Behind each franchisee is a small business owner, working within a larger community provided by a franchisor. Gurnick was never far from the everyday realities of small businesses while growing up. His father, who ran a small business delivering groceries, would leave for work at 2 a.m. each day without skipping a day if he could help it. “My whole life I saw the problems that small business people faced. I wanted to be in a field where I could represent and help real people in small businesses,” he said. As a result, Gurnick invariably finds a compelling human side behind every franchise-related predicament. “A client comes to you with their most serious and sensitive legal problem, a thing that is important to them,” he said. “I think it’s really kind of an honor to have someone trust you to help them with an issue that they want resolved.” Gurnick’s specialization in franchise law includes registration and compliance. He also specializes in related areas such as licensing, trademarks and copyrights, trade secrets, e-commerce, antitrust and competition matters, and related litigation. Gurnick describes his work as not only smoothing out the kinks, but also as building strong relationships. “About half of the work I do is drafting contracts and working with regulatory agencies and advising franchise companies. The other half of what I do involves courts and arbitrators,” he said. Gurnick has served as counsel to clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. These include everything from clothing distributors, restaurants, and even a mobile car washing service, called Pronto Wash, that originates in Latin America. Gurnick, who co-wrote a book called International Franchising, also extends his counsel across borders, serving clients with transactions in Asia, South America, and Europe. Gurnick is an expert in the relatively close-knit franchise law community. “David is very passionate about the law,” said Keith Zimmet, managing partner at Lewitt, Hackman. “He is a leading expert in franchise law.” Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou

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