Published January 20, 2015
Volume 23, Number 1
Firm Specializes in Franchise & Business Law
Annie Betinol, and Joseph Freschi, with General Legal Counsel
By Zoe Francis
Joseph Freschi is an attorney who also has the unique experience of also being a business owner.
His experience with both law and business gives him the edge with his new firm, General Legal Counsel.
“A lot of lawyers have never started a business,” Freschi said. “They’ve never run a business. I’ve been there again and again and again. My clients know that I understand the business side as well as the legal side. It makes me much more effective in giving good, practical advice and giving clients solutions to help them reach their goals.”
Freschi started his career in Los Angeles after graduating with a bachelor’s degree, master’s in urban planning and law degree, all from the University of California, Los Angeles. He eventually moved north to be a deputy city attorney with the city and county of San Francisco.
“That’s how I ended up here in the Bay Area,” he explained. “I got recruited and fell in love with the Bay Area and never looked back.”
He honed his business skills working 15 years on in-house management teams, first as vice president and assistant general counsel for 24-Hour Fitness, then as executive vice president and general counsel for Planet Fitness.
His experience with those two businesses is where he garnered his expertise in franchise law.
“We can handle franchise filings from soup to nuts, if you’re interested in franchising your business,” Freschi said of his firm. “The franchise practice is a national practice. There are more and more (franchises) getting into the market and creating jobs. A lot of them are being successful.”
While easily half the firm’s business is franchise law, the other half is general counsel services.
“We can basically act as an in-house lawyer for companies as legal issues come up,” he said. “What makes us unique is that a lot of our clients are on monthly subscription fee-based contracts. They don’t have to worry that every time somebody picks up the phone, they’re charged for it. We get to know the business as much as we possibly can.”
Freschi launched his law firm in August 2012 and moved to Hacienda last month. He has one other lawyer on staff, Annie Betinol, and hopes to add a third by year’s end.
“A lot of my clients are typically in the growth stage for their business,” he said. “They need someone to call on a fairly regular basis to get the advice that they need. You have two attorneys you can call any time to get quick answers or quick review of documents.”
The firm offers flexible billing, a feature preferred by businesses that need frequent legal advice as they grow. Project-based and hourly rates are also available.
“Whenever clients do the flat monthly retainer, their effective hourly rates are probably a third of what they’d be if they paid me hourly,” Freschi noted. “It’s like I’m a part of their team. We get to work together, and I get to learn about the business and become a key adviser.”
Freschi was co-founder and board chairman of Intelametrix and owned two Planet Fitness franchises. He currently works with partners on the booming Rockin’ Jump indoor trampoline parks they founded. The successful franchise has 34 parks open or under construction.
“I’ve been in the franchise business for awhile,” he said. “I’ve seen good practices and bad practices. I can give them not only legal advice, but advise them on how to set up their business so that it’s more successful.”
“You can really get involved in the business,” he continued. “That’s exactly the same reason why I like do the general legal counsel services. In that respect, I also get to know the business. You are tremendously more effective in representing a client when you really get to know their business. You can come up with better solutions.”
Learn more about the franchise and business legal firm at general-legal-counsel.com.
Also in this issue...
- Astex Makes Its Mark with Cancer Drugs
- CPA Firm Specializes in Christian Nonprofits
- Business Bits
- Wei Enjoys People Through Career & Photography
- Firm Specializes in Franchise & Business Law
- Connecting with Customers through cloudseeder
- Hacienda Development Update
- New Executive Director at Wheels Rides Into Town
- Directing a Bright New Future for the Symphony
- Sunflower Hill Supports Special Needs Adults
- January's Hacienda Index