Michael Garner is one of the
country’s leading trial lawyers
for franchisees and dealers in
their disputes with their
franchisors and suppliers.

Staying one step ahead...

arrow 30+ years solving problems for franchisees and dealers.

arrow Hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements.

arrow Author of the leading law book on franchise law.

About W. Michael Garner

W. Michael Garner has practiced franchise and distribution law for over thirty years and is regarded as one of the nation's premier trial lawyers and legal writers in the field. He believes in excellence, hard work and dedication. You can read Michael’s Wikipedia biography here. Included among Michael’s notable cases are the following:

  • The successful jury trial of a test case on behalf of a dozen franchisees that led to a global settlement in their favor in excess of $230 million.

  • The settlement of a franchise fraud case against a Fortune 500 Company in excess of $3 million.

  • The settlement of a case for wrongful termination of distributor agreements for $1.5 million.

  • A settlement for franchise fraud against a franchisor and its owners for $400,000.

  • A preliminary injunction stopping the termination of a heavy equipment dealer.

Michael has also established many legal precedents expanding the rights of franchisees, including:

  • The right of franchisees to sue franchisors under New York law even though their franchise agreements prohibited them from doing so. This case has been followed by courts around the country in enforcing franchisee rights.

  • The right of franchisee associations to sue on behalf of their members.

  • The right of franchisees to be protected against encroachment by their franchisors over the Internet.

  • The right of franchisees to enforce their franchise agreement despite the franchisor’s efforts to change their rights in the operations manuals.

You can read about some of Michael’s cases in our Case Studies section. »

Author of Franchise and Distribution Law and Practice

Franchise Law Minnesota

Michael is the author of Franchise and Distribution Law and Practice, a three-volume legal treatise described by the American Bar Association's Business Lawyer as the work that "eclipses the literature previously available . . . in the realm of franchising."

He served as the editor-in-chief of the American Bar Association's Franchise Law Journal from 1988 to 1993, and authored the New York forms of jury instructions on franchise law. 

He is also editor of the Franchise Desk Book, a leading reference work for franchise lawyers published by the ABA. His articles for franchisees have appeared in Entrepreneur and Franchise UPDATE, and he has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Business Week. He served for six years on the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Franchising. Click here to see a comprehensive list of Michael’s publications. »

The Ultimate Legal Professional

Clients who have worked with Michael praise his “extreme commitment to achieving the best possible outcome, and unwavering belief in our position.” They have called him “the ultimate legal professional” who presents a “brilliant case.” Chambers USA said he is a "litigator of significant prowess," who is "great on his feet." One client summed it up this way: “You are one awesome lawyer.” 

As a recognized authority on franchise law, Michael has testified before Congressional and state legislative committees in support of franchisee rights. He has been a featured speaker before the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, International Franchise Association, the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, the Practicing Law Institute, the National Franchise Law Institute and various other bar and franchise industry associations. His writings have been cited by several courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Awards and Honors

Michael is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, was named an "Attorney of the Year" by Minnesota Lawyer, and has consistently been named one of Minnesota's "Super Lawyers" by Minnesota Law & Politics. He has won the Chairman’s Award of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers. 

He holds an A.B. from Columbia University and is a 1975 graduate of New York University School of Law. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, Christine and dog, Sera.  In his spare time he travels to places like Laos, Vietnam, Slovenia and France. He also writes literary fiction; a number of his stories have been published in university journals. He is a member of the Boards of The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, the nation’s largest independent literary center; of Open Book in Minneapolis; and of the Fort Tryon Corporation in New York, New York.

What Clients and Others Say

"Michael Garner is one of the most formidable franchisee litigators in the United States, nationally-recognized and respected for his experience in the area. He has also made significant scholarly contributions to the development of franchise law in the US, as a researcher, writer and editor of various franchise law publications."

- Andrew C. Selden, former Chair, ABA Forum on Franchising

"Michael Garner is dedicated to his clients, tough on the other side, and brilliant in his presentation of the case."

- Keith D., Former Franchisee

"Working with Michael was flawless, due to his availability, ready updates and general professionalism. It was absolutely value for money and I wouldn’t go anywhere else as a franchisee. You will not regret being represented by Michael Garner".

- Sandra Weintraub, Florida


Phone: 612 259 4801



230 Million in Settlements

Best Lawyers in America
Listed 1997–2012

Franchise Lawyer New York

Selected as one of the Top 15 Franchise Lawyers in the United States. Chambers USA, 2007 (an international ranking service)

Franchise Law Minnesota

Attorney of the Year
Minnesota Lawyer – 2000 

Franchise Law Minnesota

Top 100 Legal Eagles
Franchise Times, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Franchise Law Minnesota

Super Lawyers TOP 5%
Rated Top 5% of practicing attorneys in Minnesota.

Chairman’s Award
American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, 2004

Fellow of the American Bar Foundation –  a group representing only 5 percent of attorneys admitted to practice throughout the United States -- 1996 – present.


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