Michael’s unique experience drives his client-centric point of view as a lawyer. Before returning to private practice in 2008, Michael spent 20+ years as chief legal counsel and senior business executive for companies such as Blockbuster, Quiznos, Boston Market and Einstein Bagels, where he was a front-line player in building those companies’ brands both domestically and overseas. Having worn the shoes of a client for most of his career, Michael has faced and made the same critical business and legal decisions that his clients are forced to make as they either begin their journey as a franchisor or take their systems to the next level. This, together with his experience developing and operating his own restaurant and jazz club, have armed him with valuable insight and empathy that is unique among lawyers.
As a lawyer, Michael’s roles have put him on the front line of issues and challenges ranging from aggressive domestic and international growth, management transitions, class actions and other complex litigation, general business matters, and mergers and acquisitions. He has spent years honing his versatile experience in three key roles: law firm partner, chief legal officer for several prominent brands and an executive-level business leader for aggressive growth franchisors. In those roles, Michael was charged with both business and legal responsibilities, including developing and implementing global expansion strategies, negotiating multi-national business deals and documenting transactions around the world ranging from direct operations, joint ventures, licenses, master franchises and area development transactions in over 50 countries in every region of the world.
In 2014, Michael was inducted as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. For the past two years (2012-2013 and 2013-2014 bar terms), Michael served as Co-Chair of the International Commercial Transactions, Franchising and Distribution Committee of the ABA Section of International Law. He has presented programs on franchising issues at ABA International Law Section meetings in Dublin and Paris, at the International Franchise Association’s Legal Symposium, and at the annual franchising conference of the International Bar Association. Michael frequently writes articles on various issues faced by domestic and international franchisors and contributed the franchising section of the 2010 edition of The International Lawyer’s Year in Review. Recently, Michael was the guest editor for the re-launch of the quarterly newsletter of the International Commercial Transactions, Franchising and Distribution Committee of the Section of International Law (ABA). He received his law degree with honors from Tulane Law School in 1979 and is licensed to practice in Illinois and Colorado.