Chris Wormald, Partner, Franchising and Brand Protection
I am a partner and joint head of our franchising group, as well as head of our retail sector group. For more than 30 years I have specialized in all aspects of franchising, advising companies considering franchising and alternative expansion options, including joint ventures and distribution strategies - ranging from major corporations considering re-engineering company-owned operations and international expansion, government organizations, to small start-ups.
I work across commercial sectors – specializing in the retail, restaurant, hotel, hospitality and services sectors, but also with businesses and organizations wishing to 'clone' their activities and so expand in the tech, and financial services, manufacturing, distribution and the public and not for profit sectors, including 'social franchising'.
I have for many years been consistently rated in the Chambers, Legal 500 and Legal Business Guide to Legal Experts directories as a leader and expert in franchising, and together with my partner at the time Martin Mendelsohn was one of the first two non-US lawyers ranked by Who’s Who Legal, the official research partner of the International Bar Association, in its then shortlist of 10 Most Highly Regarded Individuals globally. I am proud to have been named as 'lawyer of the year' in 2017 Best Lawyers UK listings (franchising).
Originally an international tax structuring lawyer at another City law firm, I was General Counsel, and was promoted to VP, in McDonald's EMEA HQ team in Frankfurt for 10 years during a phase of intensive new country expansion and foundation-laying, before I returned to private practice at age 40. As a result I have very good experience of the issues and realities of developing successful franchised, joint venture and company-owned businesses in overseas markets, and I still operate in effect as an outsourced general counsel to several clients.
I have advised major domestic and international brands on expansion into most parts of the world, on the development of their franchise programs and alternative structuring and expansion techniques, and on sensitive relationship and restructuring issues. I am also retained as leading counsel to a number of domestic and overseas master franchisees, and their investors. I have advised on the sale and purchase of franchisors and their networks, including some of the UK's and Europe's most major franchise sector transactions in recent years. I have also been involved in important lobbying, crisis management and PR and marketing issues.
Until its abolition I was a member of the Legal Committee of the BFA. I write and speak frequently, both in the UK and overseas, on legal and business aspects of franchising. I am a member of the IBA Franchising Committee and of the ABA Franchise Section. I co-authored The Guide to Franchising in UK Pubs and Restaurants, am co-general editor of "Alternative corporate re-engineering – Building businesses through third party relationships and expansion into new markets", and co-author of the introductory chapter 'Alternative Strategic Techniques for the Board Agenda'; am general editor and UK chapter author of Thompson Reuters' Practical Law Guide "Franchising" (publication date Summer 2016); and am UK chapter author of the ABA Forum book (publication autumn 2016) "Fundamentals of Franchising in Europe".
I am very proud of my Degree in Hamburgerology (Basic and Advanced Operations courses and "Archie" award winner) from McDonald's Hamburger University in Chicago, and love being shown round restaurants, kitchens and "behind the scenes" in businesses generally.
I have lived and worked in Brussels and Frankfurt and speak French and German.