Mark Kirsch

Mark Kirsch focuses his practice on domestic and international franchising and distribution matters. He counsels clients on various corporate, commercial, licensing, franchise, and business development matters. His work involves primarily transactional and regulatory matters, mergers and acquisitions, international franchising and distribution, as well as counseling on dispute resolution, and mediation of franchise-related disputes. 

Mark enjoys working with a variety of clients, which range from large national and international chains to emerging systems, across a wide range of industries, including restaurants and food service, hotels and the hospitality industry, health care, equipment manufacturing and distribution, educational and training businesses, technology and telecommunications, car rental and automotive services, staffing personnel agencies, convenience stores, real estate, cosmetics and hair care, and various retail product and service businesses. This has given him extensive experience including developing and structuring franchise and distribution systems; drafting and negotiating franchise, licensing, and distribution agreements, asset purchase agreements and related commercial contracts and counseling clients on compliance with state and federal regulatory issues.

Mark has been involved in numerous corporate, commercial, and merger transactions, including many private equity backed deals, related to the acquisition, sale and/or combination of franchise systems.

Mark has served in the past as an informal advisor to Atlanta-based investment firm 10 Point Capital, where he leveraged his deep knowledge of the franchise industry to identify investment opportunities for the firm’s portfolio companies.

Mark is active in the franchise industry, including past service as chair of the International Franchise Association’s Supplier Forum, and was a member of the IFA’s Board of Directors.

Mark is also a guest lecturer at franchise classes for undergraduate and MBA students. 


Below, please find a curated list of Mark's presentations:

  • Panelist, "Pathways to Franchising: The Road to Entrepreneurship - Franchisee Preparedness," Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation (PGC EDC), April 2, 2024
  • Opening Remarks, "Emerging Franchisor Bootcamp," 2023 IFA Annual Convention, February 27, 2023
  • Co-presenter, "W-13: The 2022 NASAA Statement of Policy and Other Regulatory Developments," ABA 45th Annual Forum on Franchising, November 2-4, 2022
  • Presenter, "Trademark Licenses and Accidental Franchises: Navigating Differences Between Trademark Licenses and Franchises, Avoiding Naked Licenses," Strafford CLE, August 17, 2021
  • Presenter, "The Role of Franchise Lawyers in Mergers & Acquisitions," ABA 43rd Annual Forum on Franchising, October 30, 2020
  • Co-presenter, "Who You Gonna Call: The Role of Franchise Lawyers in Mergers & Acquisitions," American Bar Association, 43rd Annual Forum on Franchising, October 27, 2020
  • Presenter, "Structuring Relationships: Avoiding Traps and the Accidental Franchise," AIPLA Annual Meeting, October 25, 2018
  • Guest Lecturer, "Entrepreneurship and Franchising," University of Rochester Simon School of Business, May 1, 2014; April 28, 2017
  • Presenter, "Data Privacy Protection & Cyber Security Concerns for Franchise Systems," Maryland State Bar Association, Franchise & Distribution Law Committee, April 1, 2015
  • Presenter, "Franchising in the Health Care Industry," Colorado Health Law Symposium, March 13, 2015
  • Moderator, "Cyber Security & Data Privacy Protection: Practical Steps to Manage this Potentially Brand Threatening Risk," IFA 55th Annual Convention, February 17, 2015
  • Presenter, "Reviewing ‘Heavily Regulated’ Franchise Businesses: Special Registration and Disclosure Issues for Franchises in Heavily Regulated Industries Including Medical, and Health Care Businesses," NASAA Franchise and Business Opportunity Training Program, November 15, 2014
  • Co-presenter, "Franchising in the Health Care Industry," ABA 37th Annual Forum on Franchising, October 15, 2014
  • Moderator, "Financing, Due Diligence, Deal Structuring and Exits," Capital Roundtable’s Private Equity Investing in Franchise Companies, November 1, 2013
  • Presenter, "Social Media Strategies, Beyond the Basics: How to Market, Monitor and Defend Your Brand,” International Franchise Association’s 52nd Annual Convention, February 2012; IFA’s 53rd Annual Convention, February 1, 2013
  • Presenter, "Franchising in Regulated Industries, 27th Annual Joint Conference," IFA and International Bar Association, May 1, 2011
  • Co-presenter, "Business Laws and Regulations That Affect Franchise Systems," American Bar Association’s 33rd Annual Forum on Franchising, October 2010
  • Presenter, "A Seller’s Guide to Preparing to Sell the Franchise System," International Franchise Association 42nd Annual Legal Symposium, May 1, 2009
  • Presenter, "Structures and Operational Strategies for Successful Expansion Within the US," International Franchise Expos, January 1, 2007
  • Presenter, "Co-Branding and Multi-Brand Alliances," International Franchise Expos, January 1, 2007
  • Presenter, "Rescission of Franchise Agreements Under Maryland Law," Maryland State Bar Association Franchise and Distribution Committee Meeting, April 1, 2006
  • Presenter, "Special Issues Involving Multiple Concept Franchising," International Franchise Association 38th Annual Legal Symposium, May 1, 2005
  • Presenter, "Franchise and Licensing Issues for Lenders & Workout Professionals," Turnaround Management Association, June 1, 2004
  • Presenter, "The Accidental Franchise," ABA 24th Annual Forum on Franchising, October 10, 2001
  • Presenter, "Practical Solutions to Franchise Conflicts," IFA Legal Roundtable Series, September 1, 1999
  • "Mergers and Acquisitions Involving Franchise Networks," International Franchise Association 32nd Annual Legal Symposium, May 1, 1999
  • Presenter, "Co-Branding and Multi-Branding," International Franchise Expo, April 1, 1999


Below, please find a curated list of Mark's publications:

  • Contributing Editor and Author, "Global Overview," Franchise 2024 Lexology Getting the Deal Through, August 2023
  • Contributing Editor and Author, "Global Overview," Franchise 2023 Lexology Getting the Deal Through, August 2022
  • Contributing Editor and Author, "Global Overview," Franchise 2022 Lexology Getting the Deal Through, July 2021
  • Co-author, "Franchising in the United States," Lexology,  November 24, 2017
  • Chapter Co-author, "International Franchising," Fundamentals of Franchising, October 16, 2015
  • Chapter Co-author, "Due Diligence of Franchise Systems," Mergers and Acquisitions of Franchise Companies, July 2014
  • Author, "Health Care Changes Present Challenges and Opportunities for Franchising," Franchising World, February 7, 2014
  • Chapter Co-author, "Mergers and Acquisitions of Franchise Systems," ABA Forum on Franchising’s law school casebook Franchising: Cases, Materials & Problems, January 1, 2013
  • Author, "Building a Co-Branding Alliance," Canadian Business Franchise, November 2006, January 2007, March 2010
  • Author, "Healthcare Services: An Accidental Franchise?" Maryland Bar Journal, November 1999

News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • International Franchise Association, Board of Directors, 2013-2015; Supplier Forum, Chair, 2014-2015
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section and the Forum on Franchising
  • Maryland State Bar Association, Chair of the Committee on Franchise & Distribution Law of the Section on Business Law, 1999-2001
  • District of Columbia Bar Association


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America©, 2014-2024
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Nationwide Franchise, 2014-2023
  • The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2013-2023
  • Franchise Times, "Legal Eagle," 2013-2024
    • Franchise Times, "Legal Eagles Hall of Fame," 2023
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, 2006-2020
  • Lexology Client Choice Award, District of Columbia - Franchising, 2016-2017