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How soon in the process can I get a franchise agreement reviewed by my solicitor?
Often a franchisee will have engaged in lengthy commercial discussions with the franchisor before receiving the franchise agreement, but as soon as it’s received you should consider seeking legal advice. Practical and commercial legal advice on the franchise agreement should form an integral part of any franchisee’s due diligence process when assessing the franchise concept and should certainly be considered before signing on the dotted line.Most franchise agreements are standard across a franchisor’s network and will usually be provided on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis. However, this does not mean it should be signed without any legal advice.When choosing a lawyer to advise you on the franchise agreement, it is advisable to choose a specialist franchise lawyer who will have experience of the terms common in a franchise agreement and be familiar with the British Franchise Association code of ethics. While the franchisor may have little appetite to make changes to the franchise agreement, a specialist franchise lawyer should be well equipped to produce a comprehensive report that will highlight your rights and obligations and any additional or hidden costs, point out those provisions that are unusual or are contrary to the code of ethics and advise if any terms need clarification, which may be dealt with by way of a side letter.
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