Barry Kurtz

Southwestern Law School, - Juris Doctor (1973) University of California, Los Angeles - B.A. Political Science (1970) Pepperdine University School of Law - Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (2001)
  • Biography
  • Publications & Speaking
  • Noteworthy Legal Activities
  • Memberships
  • Awards
  • Barry Kurtz is the Chair of our Franchise and Distribution Practice Group, currently one of the largest law departments dedicated to that practice area in California. A Certified Specialist in Franchise and Distribution Law designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and Certified Franchise Executive under the auspices of the International Franchise Association, Mr. Kurtz also has a wealth of experience in related business matters – including corporate, mergers and acquisitions, business transactional law, and commercial real estate leasing. He is a Shareholder at our Firm.

    Mr. Kurtz represents franchisors, manufacturers, franchisees and distributors. His familiarity with franchising – as an attorney, a franchisor executive and franchisee developer – spans decades, and provides both domestic and international clients with a unique perspective on the issues and demands that franchised and independent business owners face in the expansion, sale, purchase, financing and operation of their companies. Mr. Kurtz's practical, hands-on experience includes:

    • Outside General Counsel, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of National/International Expansion for a national retail franchisor with 100+ units and $60M in annual sales
    • Development and co-administration of 22 franchised quick service restaurants
    • Founder, Officer and Director – Franchise Advisory Council and Independent Franchisee Association
    • Preparation of domestic and international franchise registration and disclosure documents (FDD)
    • Structuring franchisors, franchisees, management teams and affiliated companies
    • Work-out arrangements for distressed franchisees in lieu of termination
    • Development and enforcement of franchise system-wide standards
    • Franchisor and franchisee disputes and termination matters
    • Acquisitions and dispositions of franchisors, franchisees and independent businesses
    • Commercial real estate leasing and acquisitions
    • Development/implementation of regional, national and international franchise expansion programs
    • Structuring, negotiating and drafting documentation for mergers and acquisitions, business purchases and sales, joint ventures, and other business arrangements

    Mr. Kurtz is a prolific author of published articles on franchise and distribution law and has provided expert witness testimony in franchise litigation and arbitration proceedings for both franchisors and franchisees. He is certified as a mediator by Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Mr. Kurtz has been a member of the American Bar Association Section on Business Law and Forum on Franchising since 1982 and was a member of the International Franchise Association's Legal/Legislative Committee from 1991 to 1998. In addition, he served as an appointed member of the Franchise Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California from 1983 - 1985, 1998 - 2000 and 2011 - 2013, and was appointed to the State Bar of California Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission for a four year term in 2014.

    Mr. Kurtz has been named a Legal Visionary in the Los Angeles Times’ supplement “Business to Business: Trends, Updates, Visionaries" each year since 2021. Mr. Kurtz was also acknowledged by his peers in the 2023 and 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® by Best Lawyers Magazine to be among the top five percent of attorneys nationwide for his work in franchise law. He also earned the distinction of being recognized as one of the 2023 Top 100 Lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

    The San Fernando Valley Business Journal named Mr. Kurtz one of the Top 25 Lawyers in the Valley, and repeatedly selected him to their Valley's Most Trusted Advisors lists. The journal also honored Mr. Kurtz with the Attorney of the Year-Client Services Award in 2018 and the Attorney of the Year-Trailblazer Award in 2019. From 2020-2023 Mr. Kurtz was highlighted in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal's "Valley 200" list of the most influential business and community leaders in the San Fernando Valley.

    Mr. Kurtz has Martindale-Hubbell's highest rating (AV Preeminent 5.0) for legal ability and ethics, and has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine as well as the Journal of Law and Politics, each year since 2010.

    Mr. Kurtz is admitted to practice in the state courts in California, before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

    A strong proponent of education, Mr. Kurtz is a former member of the Board of Trustees of Woodbury University in Burbank, California and the University’s President’s Executive Council. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Westmark School in Encino, California – an organization devoted to the education of children with dyslexia and related language-based learning disabilities, from 1994 - 1998. Mr. Kurtz was also a member of the Board of Directors of Dubnoff Center in North Hollywood, California – a school for children and adolescents with combinations of severe emotional disturbances, developmental delays and learning disabilities, serving from 2005 - 2011. Mr. Kurtz is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Southwestern Law School Alumni Association and of the Board of Directors of the charity-focused Valley Community Legal Foundation of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association.

                  Valley Bar Association Past President
    • Member, State Bar of California Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission
    • Presenter, American Bar Association Forum on Franchising
    • Presenter, National Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives
    • Lecturer, UCLA Extension School
    • Presenter, Santa Barbara County Bar Association
    • Presenter, San Fernando Valley Bar Association
    • Presenter, Craft Brewers Annual Conference
    • American Bar Association - Business Law Section
    • Los Angeles County Bar Association
    • Beverly Hills Bar Association
    • San Fernando Valley Bar Association

    Non-Profit Boards:

    • Woodbury University, Board of Trustees, 2013-2018
    • Southwestern Law School, Alumni Association Board of Directors, 2010-2018
    • Westmark School, Chairman, Board of Directors, 1994-1998
    • Westmark School, Board of Directors, 1991-2008
    • Dubnoff Center, Board of Directors, 2005-2011
    • Legal Visionary, The Los Angeles Times, Business to Business Publishing (2021 – present)
    • Best Lawyers in America – Franchise Law, Best Lawyers Magazine (2023-24)
    • Southern California Super Lawyer – Franchise/Dealership, Super Lawyers Magazine (2010 – present)
    • The Valley 200, The San Fernando Valley Business Journal (2020 – present)
    • Top 100 Lawyers, The Los Angeles Business Journal (2023)
    • Most Trusted Advisors, The San Fernando Valley Business Journal (2015, 2018, 2019, 2023, 2024)
    • 2023 Leaders of Influence, The San Fernando Valley Business Journal
    • 2019 Attorney of the Year: Trailblazer, The San Fernando Valley Business Journal
    • Top Attorneys in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties, The Pacific Coast Business Times
    • Order of Distinguished Attorneys, Beverly Hills Bar Association
    • Top Rated Attorneys in Franchise Law, ALM Media
    • AV 5.0 Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating awarded for legal ability and ethics
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