Minneapolis franchisee lawyer Ron Gardner discusses how he became a franchisee lawyer and why he is passionate about representing frachisees.
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To be honest, I fell into being a franchisee lawyer. At the time that I came out of law school 20 years ago the economy was not as bad as it was two or three years ago but it was not good. People don’t remember that but it was not good. The market for lawyers was not particularly good. But I was being picky, I’m a second career lawyer and I didn’t start being a lawyer until I was 31, which is about 8 or 10 years later than most people. And so by that point I had some very strongly held beliefs about what it was I wanted to do and I can’t tell you how thankful that I am that I found Mike Dady and our law firm because it really fit my values. It was very important to me, I grew up very poor, slept in the car, was on food stamps, first child on either side of my family to go to college, not law school, college. It was a very blue-collar background and so it was very, very important to me in finding a place in the law where the people I represented and the issues that I worked on were of importance to small families, to family businesses, to mom and pops. I was not particularly interested in making the world safe for shareholders. Working in a big corporate environment that wasn’t for me.
At the same time, I was very interested in high profile, complex, intellectually challenging law and so to find a place like this niche in franchise law representing only franchisees has really fit all of that for me because on the one hand our clients are individuals, small family businesses, moms and pops frequently. But at the same time, they’re going up against the big, you know the McDonald’s and the Burger Kings and the General Motors and the John Deere’s of the world and those people, of course, bring their legal A-team to the table when you go to battle with them. And so it is high profile, high stakes, complex commercial litigation. And there are very few places now that I have 20 years of experience to sort of look back and reflect where you can kind of get the combo platter of stuff that’s important to individual people’s lives.
I mean our work doesn’t change anybody’s share price tomorrow that’s not what we’re doing. You know, if we’re not able to help our clients typically their next stop is the bankruptcy court or the divorce court or all of the things that happen to people when their lives fall apart. And so it’s really important work because if I’m not able to help these people their lives are going to fall apart. That comes with its own set of challenges and stresses, but it’s extraordinarily rewarding to be able to help people like my parents who were really on the wrong side of the tracks when all odds seemed to be stacked up against them.
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