John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald concentrates his practice in the areas of franchise, real estate, and business law. He counsels many businesses, some of whom have been with him as long as he has been practicing law. John is former co-chair of the Franchise & Distribution Practice Group.

John also handles a multitude of business and regulatory matters for emerging, as well as nationally recognized franchisors. He has designed and negotiated all types of business agreements, including business mergers and acquisitions, franchise and other product and service distribution agreements, real estate acquisitions and financings, corporate financings, employment and shareholder contracts, real estate leases, and development agreements.

Representative Experience

  • Structured and negotiated a client’s acquisition of the United States’ rights to a restaurant brand from the owner of the concept, who had developed approximately 100 units in Canada. He designed and registered the client’s franchise program in the U.S., enabling sales of the new franchise to occur in this country.
  • Represented a franchise client in the sale of three retail properties, the purchase of four parcels of undeveloped ground, and the refinancing of two of its retail properties, all in the same year.
  • Assisted a client in the successful workout of a significant trade debt that threatened to prevent the client from continuing its 30+ year business.


  • Co-presenter, Location-Location-Location: The Lease Triangle in Financing, American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, October 2013
  • Co-presenter, Issues and Challenges for New Franchisors, IFA Convention Roundtable, February 2011
  • Co-presenter, How to Pay Less Rent on the Space You Lease, Wednesday Wise Webinars, International Franchise Association, January 2011
  • Moderator, Top 5 Changes to Consider Making to Your Franchise Agreement, 43rd Annual IFA Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 2010
  • Presenter, 10 Commandments of Franchise Sales, West Coast Franchise Expo, November 2008
  • Co-presenter, Understanding the State Franchise Registration Framework and How the Amended FTC Rule Will Impact It, IFA Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 2008 
  • Moderator and Co-presenter, Protected Territories as a Development Tool: How Can You Maximize the Benefits and Minimize the Costs?, International Franchise Association’s 46th Annual Convention, Palm Springs, California, February 2006
  • Moderator, Marketing Your System with an Earnings Claim, IFA Franchise Business Network, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2005
  • Roundtable Facilitator, Site Selection Trends, Best Practices and Standards, International Franchise Association’s 44th Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, Business Solution, March 2004

  • Co-presenter, Negotiation in the Franchise Context, IFA Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 2002


News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • International Franchise Association, Legal/Legislative Committee, member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, former board member
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, Real Estate Law Clinic


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America©2013-2024
  • The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2021-2023
  • "Legal Eagle," Franchise Times, 2004, 2006-2020
    • "Legal Eagles Hall of Fame," Franchise Times
  • "Minnesota Super Lawyer®," Thomson Reuters, 2005-2019
Photo of John  Fitzgerald
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    3100 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
F: 612.632.4064


Jessica Tauer


Court Memberships

  • Minnesota


William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 1979

University of St. Thomas