Robert A. Smith, Partner


Robert A. Smith helps companies grow their businesses through franchising. He is a member of Washington D.C.'s Business Law Group, specializing in representing U.S. franchisors expanding internationally and serving as franchise counsel in complex financial transactions, including whole business securitization transactions. Bob is rated among the nation’s leading franchise lawyers by Chambers USA, which cites clients who commented that he “has a tremendous amount of experience and has a great business mind. The value he brings to our company is extraordinary.” Clients appreciate that “he makes himself available—it almost feels like he’s our in-house counsel and he’s in the office down the hall.”

Prior to Quarles & Brady, Bob was Corporate Counsel at Marriott International, representing the Roy Roger's and Bob's Big Boy Divisions from 1984-1987.

Representative Experience

  • Represents franchisors on a continuous stream of international franchise projects, including new master franchise, development and area representative agreements, joint ventures, franchise terminations, ownership changes, and regulatory compliance in more than 80 countries.
  • Franchise counsel in a wide variety of financial transactions, including a $1.25 billion whole business securitization transaction and numerous public and private offerings.
  • Franchisor representation includes creating and revising franchise programs, regulatory Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) compliance, workouts, dispute resolution, master franchise and development agent programs, refranchising, and co-branding.
  • Franchise counsel in the acquisition and disposition of numerous franchise systems.
  • Counsels clients in establishing licensing programs that avoid franchise registration/disclosure and relationship law restrictions.
  • Develops separate programs for franchisors that allow them to successfully develop in captive market locations such as airports, college campuses, military bases, casinos, stadiums, and convention centers.
  • Regularly trains franchisor executives and corporate staff on franchise sales, relationship and regulatory compliance issues.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • The Catholic University of America – Columbus School of Law (J.D.)
    • First in Class
  • The Catholic University of America (B.A., summa cum laude)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

Professional and Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association (Forum on Franchising)
  • International Franchise Association (Advisory Board, Supplier Forum (1999-2005); Planning Task Force, Annual Legal Symposium (2004-2005, 2011-2012, 2015-2016, 2019-2020)
  • Catholic University Law Review (Member)

Professional Recognition

  • Listed in Chambers USA® (2011-2020: Franchising)
  • Named by Franchise Times as a "Legal Eagle" (2013-2020)
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America directory for Franchise Law (2013-2021)
  • Listed by Chambers USA as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Franchising (2011-2018)
  • Included in the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers in Franchise (2005-2020)
  • AV Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell's highest ranking by peers for general ethical standards and legal ability