John is a dean of the franchising, licensing and distributing bar – a recognition that caps a 40-year career acting for franchisors regionally, nationally and globally. Today, he continues to provide counsel to franchisors in all aspects of their businesses, including in franchise system or distribution chain design and implementation, system restructuring, international and domestic transactions, and franchise disclosure. He offers strategic support to franchisors buying or selling a franchise systems, or repositioning their concepts or brands. He is an adept negotiator in complex franchise matters and is counsel to numerous industry groups. John is an expert in the grocery industry, acting for businesses at all levels of the grocery distribution chain. He also has deep experience in other industries, including hospitality and automotive. Recognized for his critical role in shaping Canada’s franchise legal framework, John regularly advises governments and industry associations on initiatives and changes that affect franchise businesses. He also has substantial experience advising family-owned companies on governance for successful succession and wealth preservation.
John is proficient in Greek.
LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 1978
More About John Sotos
- Franchisor Services – All Sectors with a focus on automotive, grocery, hotels, and restaurants
- International Franchising, Licensing and Distribution
- Trade Associations
- Corporate / Commercial, Mergers and Acquisitions, Finance, and Succession Planning
- Board Governance
- Sector Leader – Grocery Retailing, Distribution and Manufacturing
- Team Leader – Expansion Out of Canada
- Ranked as Senior Statesperson by Chambers Canada – Franchising (2020 – 2024)
- Ranked in Band 1 by Chambers Canada – Franchising (2017 – 2020)
- Consistently listed in Best Lawyers in Canada – Franchise Law (2006 – 2024)
- Listed as “Lawyer of the Year – 2010” by Best Lawyers in Canada
- Recognized in Best Lawyers Global Business Edition (2016 – 2022)
- Listed as “Most Frequently Recommended” in Canadian Legal LEXPERT Directory – Franchise (1997 – 2023)
- Listed in Guide to US/Canada Cross-Border Lawyers in Canada: Corporate (2015 – 2019)
- Named “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times Magazine (2008 – 2023)
- Inducted into the “Hall of Fame – 2017” by Franchise Times Magazine
- Listed in Who’s Who Legal National Guide: Canada Franchise (2011 – 2022)
- Listed as “Most Highly Regarded – 2017, 2020, & 2022” by Who’s Who Legal: Canada Franchise
- Listed as “Global Elite Thought Leader – (2020 – 2022) by Who’s Who Legal Global Guide: Franchise
- Listed in Who’s Who Legal Global Guide: Hospitality (2020 – 2022)
- Listed in Who’s Who Legal Global Guide – Franchise (2011 – 2022)
- Highest ranking (AV Preeminent) and Toronto’s Top Rated in Martindale-Hubbell
- Canadian Bar Association
- Law Society of Ontario
- Canadian Franchise Association
- International Franchise Association
- American Bar Association
- American Bar Association – Forum on Franchising
- International Bar Association
- International Distribution Institute
- College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents
- Speaker – “Hot topics in international commerce, trade, franchising and product law“, IBA Annual Conference, October 30, 2023.
- Speaker – “Using Franchising as a Vehicle for Economic Growth in Greece“, Delphi Economic Forum Annual Conference, April 29, 2023.
- Speaker – “The Golden Greeks: The Contribution of Diaspora in Making Greece Global“, Delphi Economic Forum Annual Conference, April 27, 2023.
- The Impact Of Private Equity On The Franchising Industry, 19th Annual Oba Franchise Law Conference – Franchising 2020: Franchising During Turbulent Times, November 2020.
- “Back to the Future“, Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine, June 2020, Page 14.
- Successful franchisor restructuring under CCAA and BIA
- Successful implementation of major system-wide changes to franchise agreements
- Special Counsel to a number of national and international franchisors and Director of numerous companies and not-for-profit organizations
- Co-chair of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada Franchising Project which developed the model franchise law in Canada
- Appointed to the Franchise Working Sector Team by the Ontario government to provide ongoing advice on franchise industry regulation
- Ongoing work to assist developing countries in the adoption of franchising as a vehicle for economic expansion
- Speaker – “Legal and Legislative Update”, CFA Franchise Law Day, January 2014
- Speaker – “Franchise Regulation Considerations for Colombia”, International Chamber of Commerce/Bogota Chamber of Commerce, May 2014
- Speaker – “Ethical Issues for Franchise Lawyers”, OBA Franchise Law Dinner, April 2013
- “Recent Trends in Franchise Relationship Laws”, International Bar Association in Dubai, October 2011.
- “The Rationale Behind Franchise Regulation”, International Bar Association Committee on International Franchising, July 2011
- “Mass Franchise Disputes”, CFA Ontario Region Legal Day, March 2011
- “Ethical Issues for Franchise Lawyers”, OBA Franchise Section Dinner Program, February 2011
- “News from Around the World” IFA, May 2010
- “Supplying the Franchise System” Canadian Business Opportunities Magazine, February 2010
- “Your Franchisees will Look before they Leap” Canadian Business Opportunities Magazine, May 2010
I have always strived to build the best firm with the most depth and expertise in franchise law as a vehicle for providing added value to our clients, be they a start-up or a global company and everyone in between. My team and I work hard to understand their business and personal goals so that we can best help them achieve their objectives practically and efficiently. As a thought leader with a global perspective in our space, I use my ability to identify trends so that our clients’ can focus their businesses to maximize opportunities and reduce setbacks. I believe that the solution to every problem must reflect the clients’ strategic objectives and the client must be involved every step of the way. I am always available.