Supplier spotlight: Law firms

Having good legal advice is vital for any business, but is particularly important in the hospitality industry. BHN rounds up some of the leading law firms operating in the boutique and lifestyle hotel sector.

Katten is a full service firm, with 650 lawyers globally in 13 offices in London, the USA and China. Katten represents investors, hotel managers, lenders, developers, franchisees and others in the hospitality industry, including REITS, private equity firms, funds, global lodging chains, boutique establishments, restaurant chains, theme park owners, associations, golf courses, casinos, and resorts.

The practice encompasses all aspects of deals, financings and tax structures for serviced apartment managers, buyers, sellers, investors and lenders.

The company says: “Our lawyers are highly skilled in negotiating management, operational and franchise agreements around the world. We offer robust services for protecting and defending our clients’ intellectual property, including naming rights, trademark clearance, intellectual property due diligence, and brand, trademark and copyright licensing. We also understand the importance of our clients’ images in the serviced apartment industry. Our attorneys are experienced in employment policy, reputation management, and protecting and litigating brand-related matters, including trade names, trademarks, service marks, trade dress, logos, taglines, slogans, designs and domain names. In addition, we represent hospitality companies in their initial public offerings and, in particular, handle cross-border matters across many jurisdictions. We are skilled in advising on international complex corporate shareholdings and management structures.”

When it comes to crisis management Katten attorneys help mitigate risk and provide proactive solutions to any challenges or litigation that its clients may face. Whether the concern is cybersecurity and data protection, fraud, or anti-bribery investigations or laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act and AML, Katten is ready to assist with preparations, internal investigations and responses required. It is also well versed in issues involving regulatory authorities and can help establish compliance policies. Katten routinely reviews insurance policies to make sure they properly cover risks common to the hospitality industry.

When litigation is necessary, the firm provides counsel on defaults and breach of contract matters; contract terminations; management and franchise disputes and terminations; and prosecuting property, liability and business interruption insurance claims. Katten is highly experienced in asset-related matters, including distressed real estate asset disputes, out-of-court and in- court restructurings, foreclosures and other real estate litigation, reorganizations, equity and debt recapitalizations, acquisitions and international schemes of arrangement, and dispositions. It has extensive experience with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and other international arbitration tribunals commonly designated as the forum for dispute resolution with foreign owners.

The practice also provides comprehensive support to address the varied operational needs of its clients. Our compliance team provides a proactive service that addresses the issues and promotes minimum business disruption. Katten regularly liaises with industry regulators on behalf of its clients. Data protection is critical to the serviced apartment industry. It analyses privacy needs and practices in order to draft privacy policies and help clients avoid theft by implementing appropriate data protection principles and practices, including assisting in the process of vetting vendors and reviewing their practices for administrative, technology and physical security procedures. If there is a security breach, the firm addresses legal and regulatory requirements while working with clients’ business leadership, technology professionals and media teams to implement prompt and appropriate responses.

With regards to clients’ consumer programs, Katten offers trade dress counselling and advertising and promotion materials clearance support. Should an issue arise, it can assist with a variety of advertising disputes, including negotiations, litigation and National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus proceedings. Its attorneys also counsel on matters relating to event sponsorships, sweepstakes and contests. In addition, it provides training on social media programs, covering concepts such as developing and administering social media policies and promoting and protecting brands on social media platforms. It helps develop social media policies and handle content liability and litigation issues relating to social networks, wiki, blogs and other online media.

Katten is always ready to take on any project or task however small or large, and has a dedicated global team ready to assist. The team is led jointly by Terry Green (London) and Christie Hassan (Washington DC).
Healys LLP is a leading full service UK law firm, based in London but with international reach. It takes an entrepreneurial approach, not just meeting objectives, but adding value and enhancing opportunities. Founded over 36 years ago, it combines a seasoned perspective and experience with creative legal solutions. Its partners are at the top of their fields and enjoy innovating to support the success of clients.
Healys’ Hotel and Leisure team is drawn from its corporate, commercial, employment, real estate, litigation, and IT and IP groups, and its breadth of expertise provides a one-stop shop for any legal issue in this area.
Team members have experience acting in senior in-house legal roles at three multi-national hotel companies, and act for hotel operators,  serviced apartments, restaurants, pubs, suppliers and service providers. With extensive industry experience and a wide range of contacts, Healys regularly networks people together, provides assistance structuring and concluding deals, and will work with clients to help their businesses become more robust and profitable.
Healys’ legal services include:
• Advising on the acquisition and disposal, reorganisation and merger of hotel and leisure companies and assets
• Advice on structure for transactions, SPV formation, joint ventures and partnerships
• Advising on all elements of hotel and leisure contracts including: management agreements, franchise agreements, technical service agreements, development agreements, construction, refurbishment and renovation agreements, hotel operating leases and asset management agreements
• Advising on all elements of licensing and regulatory matters relating to hotels and resorts as well as restaurants, pubs and nightclubs, including planning permissions, alcoholic beverage and entertainment licensing, data protection, anti-money laundering and casino licensing and regulations
• Assisting with dispute resolution including negotiated settlements, mediation, arbitration and litigation
• Advising on financing and development of hotel and leisure projects from inception to opening
• Advice on UK, EU and US hotel franchising
• Advice on franchising disclosure documents and requirements for US disclosure and regulation
• Advice on brand protection and IP rights
The Hotels & Leisure team is led by David Schollenberger
Dentons claims to be the world’s largest law firm, offering clients more services in more locations than any other legal services provider. It has lawyers in more than 140 locations serving 57 countries.

A regular face at hospitality conferences is Babette Marzheuser-Wood, a partner in the firm’s Franchise Group. She specialises in global franchise, distribution, agency and concession agreements and IP-driven joint ventures. She also advises clients on the strategic use of licensing strategies in emerging markets using both traditional and innovative structures for international expansion in the global marketplace. Her work includes Master Franchise Agreements, Area Development Agreements, Hotel Management Agreements, Disclosure Documents, and Franchise Registration.

Marzheuser-Wood has transactional experience in more than 100 countries. Recent deals include work in all major emerging markets (Russia, India, China, Brazil and South Africa) as well as in the Middle East and Africa. She has particular expertise in the hotel, leisure, retail, education and healthcare sectors. Recognised as one of Europe’s leading experts in hotel and leisure franchising, she is a member of the firm’s hotel sector group and the firms retail group.

Brown Rudnick has more than 240 lawyers in key financial centres, including New York, London, Paris, Boston, and Washington, DC. It describes itself as a law firm designed for speed and performance.

Brown Rudnick recently teamed up with Hotel Solutions Partnership to host a panel discussion on the value of branding in the hotel industry. The panel of industry experts held an insightful discussion – Katrina Craig of Hotel Solutions Partnership provided an overview of the hotel market and the discussion was then moderated by Omega Poole of Brown Rudnick.

The panellists summarised their experience within the hotel industry and addressed the question of brand from their current perspective before delving into a deeper discussion. The panel of industry experts comprised senior figures from Kempinski Hotels, Queensgate, Bespoke Hotels, Bedrock Real Estate Partners and

Click here to see video interviews with the panellists and here to read a review of the session.

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