Kathryn B. Shipe
Franchise of Counsel

1100 Peachtree Street NE Suite 2800, Atlanta, GA USA 30309

Overview

Kitt’s practice focuses on transactional and regulatory matters involving domestic and international intellectual property licensing, distribution and franchising. She assists a wide variety of clients, ranging from large national and international chains to emerging systems in various industry segments, including children’s education and fitness, retail, restaurants and food service, janitorial, hotels, personnel agencies, and other product and service distribution businesses. Kitt has extensive experience in structuring franchise and distribution systems and drafting and negotiating franchise agreements, development agreements, area representative agreements, master rights agreements and related commercial agreements. She regularly counsels clients on everyday compliance with state and federal laws including registration and disclosure matters.

Kitt also counsels clients on M&A transactions involving the purchase and sale of franchise systems and multi-unit development and area representative rights, and has been involved with many transactions, including private equity-backed deals, involving franchise systems. 

Kitt started her career in law as an associate at Kilpatrick Townsend in its Atlanta, Georgia office, where she concentrated her practice on licensing and franchising, securities, M&A and general corporate matters. Prior to rejoining the firm in 2018, Kitt was the founding partner of a boutique franchise and business law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has also served as in-house franchise counsel for several internationally known franchise brands.

Clients have described Kitt as “smart, articulate and very knowledgeable about franchise law and general business matters”, and “a hard-working and very skilled lawyer, experienced in both private practice and in-house franchise leadership.” Kitt has been recognized by Franchise Times as a “Legal Eagle” and she was recognized in 2021 by The Best Lawyers in America® for Franchise Law.

Kitt has devoted a significant amount of time to the firm's pro bono efforts. Kitt is currently on the Board of Directors of Operation Mess Hall, Inc. which aims to serve U.S. veterans and members of the military service by providing the opportunity for independent business ownership through franchising. Kitt is also active in the community. She recently served as a Board Member of the Museum School of Avondale Estates foundation, and as its legal counsel. She was Chairperson of the Museum Schools’ Auction Procurement Committee in 2016, raising a record amount of money for elementary and middle school enrichment programs.

Representative Clients: AARON’S, FANTASTIC SAMS, BACK YARD BURGERS, FLOWERS FOODS, TIN DRUM ASIAN KITCHEN, KLA SCHOOLS, FLEET CLEAN, EXPRESS SERVICES, COMPASS GROUP

More
Experience

*Advised dozens of start-up franchisors regarding the formation and structuring of franchise systems and franchise programs.

*Assisted established franchise systems in day-to-day legal matters, including commercial contracts and international expansion.

*Advised clients in connection with the purchase and sale of franchise systems and franchise units, and the purchase and sale of equity stakes in franchise companies by private equity investors.

*Advised franchisors on state and federal franchise and business opportunities laws, including preparation of registration and exemption documents and responding to state franchise and business opportunities regulatory comments.

*Experience gained by attorney prior to joining Kilpatrick Townsend

Insights
Services
Education

University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D. (1996) with honors

University of North Carolina, B.A., East Asian Studies (1991) magna cum laude

Admissions

Georgia (1997)

Professional & Community Activities

Georgia Bar Association, Franchise and Distribution Section, Programming Committee, Member (2016)

American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising, Member (Current)

The Museum School of Avondale Estates
   The Museum School Foundation, Board Member and Legal Counsel (2013-2014)
   TMS Auction Procurement Committee, Chair (2016)

More

Latest Thinking

View more Insights
Insights Center
close
Loading...
If you would like to receive related insights and information from Kilpatrick Townsend, please provide your contact details by filling out the form and clicking “Agree.” If you would like to access the PDF only, please click “Download Only.”