Shelley Spandorf is a nationally recognized business franchise and distribution attorney with more than 35 years of experience representing franchisors, manufacturers, licensors, suppliers, franchisees, and distributors in their domestic and international expansion and strategic development. Shelley concentrates her practice on a broad spectrum of transactional and regulatory issues for clients in all industry sectors, from startups to mature public companies. Shelley assists clients with their contracts and legal compliance including preparing franchise disclosure documents, domestic and international franchise and distribution agreements, and registration filings. She counsels clients on franchise sales compliance duties, and advises franchise and non-franchise distribution systems on a broad array of operating issues ranging from contract enforcement to trademark protection, relationship disputes, antitrust and pricing matters, terminations and transfers, mergers and acquisitions, and implementation of system-wide changes.
Shelley has advised numerous companies on the issue of whether a particular commercial arrangement is a franchise. With significant experience on this issue, she not only has served as an expert witness in litigation, but has helped dozens of companies evaluate restructuring alternatives to avoid regulation as a franchise. Shelley supplies strategic litigation support in cases involving franchise agreements or where franchise status is an issue and represents clients in mediations and before government agencies in addition to serving as a mediator of franchise disputes.
Shelley assists companies in the acquisition of franchise and non-franchise distribution systems and corporate financing by providing franchise due diligence reviews and lead counsel services. On behalf of franchisees and area developers, Shelley also assists with the acquisition and sale of franchise rights and handles a broad range of transactional projects.
Shelley is chair of the firm’s franchise law practice, which received a Tier 1 ranking by US News. She is nationally ranked by Chambers USA as one of the leading U.S. franchise attorneys and recognized as a certified specialist in franchise and distribution law by the California State Bar. In 2013, Who’s Who Legal identified Shelley as one of the ten most highly regarded individuals in franchise law in the world, and the only woman earning this distinction in the U.S.
Admitted to Practice
J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
New York University School of Law
B.S., Cornell University, 1973, with distinction
Memberships & Affiliations
- Commissioner, State Bar of California, Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission, 2009-2012
- Co-chair, Los Angeles Business Franchise Network, 2009-2013
- Southern California Women’s Franchise Network, 2006-2008
- Board of Editors, Franchising Business & Law Alert
- Franchise Law Certification Committee, California Board of Legal Specialization, 2005-2007
- Chair, Franchise Law Committee, Business Law Section, California State Bar, 1987-1988; 2001-2002
- Chair, Forum on Franchising, 1995-1997; Member, Governing Committee, 1992-1999 – American Bar Association
- Executive Committee, California State Bar, 1990-1993
- Board of Trustees, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter
- Named "Lawyer of the Year" in Franchise Law (Los Angeles), Best Lawyers, 2022
- Named one of 13 U.S. "Thought Leaders: Global Elite" in Franchise Law by Who's Who Legal, 2020
- Named one of 10 U.S. "Thought Leaders: Global Elite" in Franchise Law by Who's Who Legal, 2017, 2019
- Named one of the 10 "Most Highly Regarded Individuals" in Franchise Law internationally by Who's Who Legal, 2013
- Certified Specialist in Franchise and Distribution Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, 2009
- Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" by Chambers USA in Franchising law (Nationwide), 2007-2022; Received "Band 1" ranking for Franchising law (Nationwide), 2021-2022
- Selected to the International Who's Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2003-present
- Selected to “Southern California Super Lawyers,” Thomson Reuters, 2004-2007, 2010-2022
- Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Franchise Law by Best Lawyers, 2008-present
- Selected by Best Lawyers as Los Angeles' "Lawyer of the Year" in Franchise Law, 2017
- Selected as a "Franchise Times Legal Eagle" by Franchise Times Magazine, 2011-present