Michael L. Sturm

Michael has nearly three decades of experience litigating on behalf of franchisors in federal and state courts across the country and in arbitration proceedings. His experience includes virtually every type of substantive claim that arises in the course of the franchise relationship, including alleged violations of statutory disclosure and relationship obligations, claims of physical and internet encroachment of exclusive territories, claims of fraud and nondisclosure, claims with respect to supplier payments, alleged violations of antitrust laws, contractual disputes, and claims under the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Michael also has extensive experience with the jurisdictional and procedural issues that arise frequently in franchise litigation, including litigation with franchisee associations and multi-party litigation.

In addition to his work on behalf of franchisors, Michael has broad experience in complex, high-stakes commercial litigation matters. Among other matters, he has represented a satellite radio provider and terrestrial broadcasters in expert-driven rate setting proceedings. Michael has represented both relators and defendants in federal False Claims Act litigation. He has also served as lead counsel in cases involving intellectual property rights, including enforcement of patents, trademarks, and copyrights. With his background in antitrust, Michael also regularly represents trade associations whose members include major consumer products manufacturers.

Michael spoke at the IFA Legal Symposium, and previously has spoken at the annual ABA Forum on Franchising, and other industry events. He has covered topics ranging from the fundamentals of franchise litigation to specialized topics such as the application and scope of rules limiting the admissibility of settlement discussions and agreements in subsequent litigation. This work has appeared in the Franchise Law Journal, Perspective in Antitrust and other publications.

Representative Experience

  • Won motion to dismiss in putative antitrust class action based on anti-poaching provision in franchise agreement
  • Won summary judgment for major franchisor in case alleging fraud and antitrust violations
  • Defeated temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction sought by franchisees to enjoin application of supplier restrictions in franchise agreements
  • Successfully briefed and argued appeals in federal circuit courts
  • Obtained numerous preliminary injunctions against post-termination use of franchisors’ trademarks and systems
  • Tried an employment case to a defense jury verdict on behalf of a small, family-owned franchisor
  • Obtained complete exclusion of the defendants’ expert witnesses in retail lease dispute
  • Successfully applied abstention doctrines to obtain dismissal of duplicative franchisee-initiated litigation in federal court



  • Moderator, "Hot Topics in Antitrust Law," 2024 IFA Legal Symposium, May 7, 2024
  • Co-presenter, "W-8: Because I Said So: Experiential-Based Expert Opinions in Franchise Cases," 45th Annual ABA Forum on Franchising, November 4, 2022
  • Co-presenter, "Ethics of Joint Representation of the Franchisor, Franchisee, and Their Officers, Employees or Affiliates," 2022 International Franchise Association (IFA) Legal Symposium, May 17, 2022


Client Alerts and Blog Posts

Professional Affiliations

  • 2022 International Franchise Association (IFA) Legal Symposium Task Force
  • American Bar Association – Forum on Franchising, Publications Committee; Section of Litigation, Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, and Section of Intellectual Property Law


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2024
  • Franchise Times, "Legal Eagle," 2020-2024
Photo of Michael L. Sturm
  • Washington, D.C.

    600 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
    The Watergate - Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20037


Jacqueline D. LeGrant

Court Memberships

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


Harvard Law School, J.D., cum laude

The College of William & Mary, B.A.

  • Phi Beta Kappa