Rupert Barkoff has been practicing franchise, distribution and corporate law since 1973. His franchise practice emphasizes solutions to registration and structuring issues and developing individual and collective solutions to franchisor-franchisee relationship problems.
During the course of his career, Mr. Barkoff has represented numerous start-up, national and regional franchisors in establishment and operation of their franchise systems. He has negotiated encroachment policies, counseled clients on the establishment and operation of purchasing cooperatives, and acted as mediator and arbitrator in the resolution of franchisor-franchisee disputes. He is also the Founder of the Franchise Law Institute, a newly formed group whose purpose is to study franchise law throughout the world.
Mr. Barkoff was recognized as one of the country’s leading franchise attorneys by The Best Lawyers in America® in 2018 and the 17 years immediately preceding, as well as the 2011 and 2016 Franchising Attorney of the Year in Atlanta. In 2010, he received the prestigious Lew Rudnick Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising. He received top ranking nationally in the 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Franchising, and he was listed as Tier 1 in the 2011 and 2012 editions. Mr. Barkoff was ranked as a leading practitioner for franchising globally by Chambers Global 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He was named a Georgia "Super Lawyer" in the area of Franchise/Dealership in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and again in 2017 and the five years immediately preceding by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. Barkoff was named a “Most Highly Regarded Individual for Franchise” by The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers for 2006, ranking #9 globally. This peer-nominated distinction is based upon a comprehensive and independent survey of both general counsel and private practice attorneys worldwide. He was also named to The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers for Franchise in 2013 and 2014. Mr. Barkoff has been named a "Legal Eagle" for 14 consecutive years by Franchise Times and in 2013, he was inducted into its Legal Eagles Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the 2016 Client Choice Award USA & Canada in the Franchising category for Georgia from Lexology and the International Law Office (ILO). In 2017, Mr. Barkoff was recognized by the Franchise Council of Australia with its Outstanding Contribution to Franchising Award. He was recently referred to in the Chambers Global as the "godfather of franchise law." Mr. Barkoff is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*
Mr. Barkoff has published over 300 articles, columns, and books on franchise law, and is the creator and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Fundamentals in Franchising, which is used to teach novices about the intricacies of franchise law. He has testified before Congress on franchise law issues and is a columnist for the New York Law Journal. Mr. Barkoff is an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law and has spoken at major franchise law seminars for over 30 years, as well as at numerous colleges and law schools. He served as Chair of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising for three years and was a member of its governing committee for nine years.
*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.
Successfully represented one of the nation's largest fast food franchisors and its franchisees in an investigation of claims associated with a fraudulent marketing test conducted by the client's vendor, a major beverage company. The case received national media attention and the client secured a multimillion dollar settlement prior to initializing litigation as a result of our efforts.
Represented an entertainment technology company regarding claims that it had unlawfully sold franchises in California in violation of state franchise sales statute by entering into certain technology license agreements. The claims were complicated by the fact that such claims were brought in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding filed by the putative franchisee, and involved patent claims against our client as well. The case was eventually settled to our client's satisfaction through the negotiation of new licensing arrangements between the parties.
Represents multiple clients with the formation and implementation of their franchise program, including franchise registration and disclosure issues, strategies in entering the United States market, and corporate and trademark advice. Such clients include Aaron Rents, Inc.; America's Realty, Inc.; Ecowash Mobile USA, Inc.; O'Charley's Inc.; Primrose Schools Franchising Company; PoolWerx Corporations Pty Ltd; and Waffle House.
Represented group of franchisees who acquired franchise system from their franchisor in settlement of litigation and converted the system into a license arrangement.
Served as lead counsel for an athletic training facility franchisor and approximately 14 of its current and former officers and directors in a suit brought by several former franchisees for fraud and breach of the franchise agreements. The plaintiffs alleged millions in damages. The client’s insurance carrier initially resisted providing coverage, arguing that the equivalent of five separate deductibles must be paid before any obligation to fund defense costs arose. The insurance carrier also claimed that other provisions in the policy precluded coverage. We convinced the insurance carrier to apply a single deductible, saving our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars, and to advance attorneys’ fees to defend the suit. We successfully reached a settlement agreement favorable to our client pursuant to a mediation following extensive discovery and the filing of dispositive motions.
University of Michigan, J.D. (1973) magna cum laude
University of Michigan, B.S. (1970) high distinction
American Bar Association, Business Law, Antitrust Law and Intellectual Property Law Sections, Member, Past Chair of Forum on Franchising, and Past Member of Governing Committee
International Bar Association, Member
North American Securities Administrators Franchise and Business Opportunities Task Force, Advisory Committee, Former Member
Southeast Franchise Forum, Director, Secretary and General Counsel
State Bar of Georgia, Franchise Section, Chair
ToolBank USA, Board of Directors, Member
Second Wind Dreams, Director
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