Consumer Products, Retail & Franchise

Advancing the business goals of our clients through every aspect of the retail ecosystem.

Meet the team

Locke Lord's broad and diverse consumer products, retail and franchise industry experience provides clients with strategic advantages at every stage of a business' life cycle. Whether businesses are seeking initial investment, counsel to comply with the laws governing retailers or a strong advocate to defend their rights, our team of lawyers can draw on our years of experience aiding retailers, landlords, owners, developers, manufacturers, restaurateurs and service providers to help their business prosper.

With experienced, local teams in key retail centers throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, we are able to meet the needs of our sophisticated clients on a global scale.

Our interdisciplinary group utilizes the strengths of compliance, transactional and litigation lawyers to help protect the rights and relationships manufacturers, distributors and retailers have developed. We guide our clients through increasingly complex regulatory processes in the United States and abroad, and skillfully craft powerful courtroom strategies when necessary. Locke Lord leverages its corporate, real estate, class action, labor and employment, intellectual property, tax, e-contracting, e-payment, technology and litigation groups to help retailers grow and sustain their businesses.

Many of our lawyers are frequent speakers and writers on the latest topics affecting the retail industry, including the Affordable Care Act, social media and mobile technology. Additionally, our lawyers are members of key retail industry groups, including the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Locke Lord's attorneys regularly assist clients with a wide variety of accessibility issues concerning mobility as well as vision and hearing impairments. We have defended and amicably resolved ADA claims and litigation brought by the Department of Justice, comparable state agencies and private litigants in jurisdictions nationwide.

Locke Lord's advertising and marketing lawyers are recognized leaders in advertising, promotions (including sweepstakes and contests), claims analysis, substantiation analysis, and general advertising review and counseling. We advise on the cutting edge of challenging advertising issues, such as those presented by an accelerating array of options in the social media realm and the fast-paced changes related to various marketing methods and channels.

We advise clients on all aspects of U.S. antitrust and European competition law that affect them, including pricing issues, distribution and licensing agreements, cross-border sales restrictions and refusals to supply.

Locke Lord's bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency lawyers provide experience and depth in virtually every aspect of corporate bankruptcy matters, including representing the rights of retail-industry creditors in Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 cases as well as out-of-court liquidations, workouts, and debt restructuring. Our team also pursues and defends bankruptcy-related litigation involving retailers, including preference litigation, fraudulent conveyance actions, setoff litigation, leasing and executory contract disputes, claim filings and objections, and disputes regarding asset-purchase agreements and other transactions with debtors. On the debtor side, we represent many kinds of corporate debtors, including retailers, in Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings.

From high-profile national cases for Fortune 500 clients to more limited state-wide class litigation, Locke Lord class actions practice regularly defends and resolves disputes brought against our retail and consumer-products clients by their customers, competitors, suppliers, investors, shareholders and regulators.

Our corporate and transactional lawyers provide clear and direct advice on structuring businesses, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, IPOs, UCC-related issues, private equity investments, disposition of brands and businesses, secured and unsecured finance, licensing arrangements, outsourcing and service agreements, service contracts and extended warranties, e-commerce, strategic business relationships and tax planning. Our lawyers work with manufacturers, distributors and retailers to ensure that their supply agreements, distribution agreements and dealer agreements keep inventory flowing through the supply chain to the retail customer.

Locke Lord's ERISA and employee benefits lawyers have experience with the complex and unique coverage and non-discrimination testing issues faced by employers, and have worked with such employers to help design compliant and effective qualified and non-qualified retirement planning opportunities. Our lawyers also work with retailers to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Locke Lord's franchise lawyers have a unique combination of in-depth experience handling all types of franchising and distribution matters with the backing of a full-service law firm that enables us to efficiently provide all the legal services needed by both seasoned and startup franchisors.

Intellectual property can be among the most important and valuable assets of a company. Locke Lord's trademark and branding lawyers help clients maintain global trademark portfolios and assist in the clearance, prosecution and enforcement of client trademarks in both federal and state courts. Locke Lord also defends retail and other business clients from the onslaught of patent litigation and has deep experience defending against business method, data use, storage and communication technology patent infringement claims. In addition, Locke Lord lawyers regularly handle matters relating to anti-counterfeiting, trade names, service marks, trade secrets and copyrights.

Locke Lord's labor and employment lawyers work on all employee issues, including: wage-and-hour litigation EEOC charges harassment, discrimination, and retaliation litigation NLRB charges OSHA issues and unfair competition, trade-secret, and restrictive-covenant counseling and litigation.

Our attorneys defend manufacturers, distributors and retailers of various consumer products in state and federal courts and in administrative and regulatory proceedings across the country. We advise manufacturers regarding the regulatory framework governing various products, including those involving the Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture. We also advise on conducting consumer product recalls. In addition, we mediate, arbitrate and settle hundreds of cases at great savings to our clients and actively pursue alternative dispute resolutions. The unique combination of our products liability, toxic tort, consumer product and commercial class action experience sets our Firm apart.

Our real estate lawyers represent owners and tenants of all sizes — big box, freestanding, hotel, shopping centers or street retail — in leasing and management of their store locations, construction projects as well as acquisition and sale of real estate nationwide. Our lawyers partner with our clients to identify valuable opportunities during the transaction and guide them through potential issues with a thorough but practical approach. The Firm's real estate and finance practices are complemented with a knowledgeable team of environmental lawyers who address not only traditional environmental issues but also are leaders in the requirements for sustainable and energy-efficient sites.

Our international trade lawyers help retailers design systems to detect and prevent violations. When questions arise, our white collar and government investigations teams have the background and knowledge to help retailers find the facts and resolve the issues with the applicable governmental agencies.

Our technology group regularly assists retailers with all aspects of technology outsourcing, including enterprise cloud and mobile computing solutions. In addition, we assist virtual companies and e-commerce teams of brick and mortar chains in working with credit card companies, securing customer data, complying with privacy laws, utilizing cutting-edge digital marketing technology, maximizing the use of compliant e-signature and e-payment methods, financial and health information of employees and responding to data breaches.

Our team of tax lawyers help businesses of all sizes and in all types of industries manage their tax responsibilities and handle their global tax liabilities. We closely monitor changing tax laws and regulations to ensure that our clients maximize the benefits of tax planning by structuring their transactions, assets and operations to minimize taxes assessed against them while achieving their business objectives.