Franchise Times, a national industry publication, named four Baker McKenzie lawyers to the 2018 list of Legal Eagles. The publication annually recognizes “the best and brightest legal minds” in the franchising field.

This year, Michael Santa Maria, Will Woods, Ann Hurwitz and Stephanie Russ were noted for their franchising experience. As Legal Eagles, they “live and breathe franchising.”

2018 Legal Eagles

  • Michael Santa Maria routinely handles international franchise and distribution matters. In cross-border matters, Mike establishes international development strategies, assisting in structuring, negotiating and implementing all types of business matters. He chairs the Firm’s North America International Commercial Practice, which handles transactional counseling, trade compliance, franchising, outsourcing, aviation and data privacy.
  • Will K. Woods represents franchisors throughout the business life cycle: start-up stage; middle-market franchisors; and mature, global franchisors. He represents many of the leading hotel, lodging and hospitality franchise companies. Recently, he handled 50-plus hotel deals and other matters in Europe and Latin America for an international hospitality company.
  • Ann Hurwitz, with more than 30 years of experience, advises US franchisors on the structuring and operation of domestic and international franchise programs. She handles multiple brands, co-branded opportunities, system restructuring and brand acquisition issues.
  • Stephanie Russ’s experience with global franchisors, advising them on the structuring and operation of their domestic and international franchise programs, makes her a valuable ally to her clients. She is also valued for her experience and assistance with start-ups and their development and implementation of operations and development programs and acts as all-around business adviser. 


About the Franchise Practice

We help our clients navigate a constantly changing and challenging global economy. And it requires a new type of thinking and a different mindset. It requires lawyers who collaborate unusually well across borders, markets and industries around the globe. Lawyers who embrace new ideas and emerging technologies to give businesses confidence in these uncertain times.

We are the leading cross-border Franchise firm with an active, integrated practice and 78 offices globally. We are in 47 countries, including 36 of the world’s 40 largest economies. We speak 80+ languages and are admitted to practice in 250+ jurisdictions. Our team has years of experience advising US franchisors on the structuring and operation of their domestic and global franchise programs. We represent franchisors throughout their life cycles: in the start-up and middle market stages and as mature franchise systems. We also have the capabilities to provide holistic planning advice – from tax, trademark, and corporate structuring to local labor and employment, FCPA and other compliance issues. We are here to help you grow as your go-to, one-stop shop of advisors.

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