Raleigh

3605 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 500, Raleigh, NC 27612

(919) 787-8880

Durham

Crowe Building, Suite 420, 406 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC 27701

(919) 787-8880

About

As a member of the firm’s corporate practice for two decades, Ritchie counsels business clients throughout each organization’s life cycle from formation to successful exit. He serves as general counsel to numerous emerging and middle market businesses across all industries with a particular concentration in representing clients in the franchising, retail, hospitality, and education sectors. As the leader of the largest franchise law practice in the Carolinas, Ritchie represents franchisor clients as their strategic advisor through all phases of growing and protecting their brand. He represents scores of franchisees—including some of the largest multi-unit franchisees in the country—in growing and protecting their investments.

Ritchie’s clients appreciate his results-oriented approach to the practice of law where he helps clients navigate the legal requirements to achieve their objectives.He helps direct each client’s legal strategy to accomplish the client’s short and long-term business objectives. Ritchie’s business practice includes routinely advising management teams and boards of directors on sensitive corporate law matters as well as transaction structure and negotiations.

He guides clients through mission-critical transactions including equity and debt transactions as well as mergers and acquisitions. Ritchie has served as the member of deal teams conducting merger, acquisition, and joint venture transactions in almost all 50 states and internationally, with aggregate transaction value exceeding $3 billion.

In addition to his substantial experience in corporate and commercial transactions, Ritchie founded and leads the firm’s franchise practice where he serves as the primary franchise counsel to 40 established and emerging franchise systems and dealer networks. He has decades of experience helping domestic and international franchisors design and grow their franchise systems with innovative, but compliant, franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements, area development agreements, and master franchise agreements. Ritchie’s clients benefit from his wealth of experience representing both sector leading franchisors as well as innovating emerging concepts.

Ritchie is a recognized thought leader in franchising across the Carolinas and nationally. He supports franchising through his active involvement in the International Franchise Association (“IFA”) as a long-time member of the IFA Membership and Legal/Legislative Committees. Ritchie also serves on the IFA Supplier Forum’s Board of Directors and as a member of the IFA’s Emerging Franchisor Task Force. Additionally, he is the first North Carolina attorney to receive the Certified Franchise Executive (“CFE”) designation awarded by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives (“ICFE”). For the last 6 years, Ritchie served on the ICFE’s Board of Governors, which develops the CFE curriculum as the premier training program for franchise executives.   

He is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Business Law Section Council and is the founding chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Committee on Franchising. For the last decade, Ritchie has been the course planner and taught continuing education programs on franchise law for other North Carolina attorneys. The Best Lawyers in America©, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, lists Ritchie as the first North Carolina attorney included for franchise law.

 

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Credentials

Education

  • Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School– J.D. – 1999 –Cum Laude
  • Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management – B.S. in Business Management, Finance Emphasis – 1996

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina – 1999
  • United States Tax Court – 2000

Professional Activities

  • Institute of Certified Franchise Executives
    • Designated Certified Franchise Executive (CFE)
    • Board of Governors
    • Fran-GuardTM Certified Trainer
    • Member of Advanced Franchise Education Task Force
  • Listed in North Carolina Super Lawyers 
    • Rising Star in the area of Franchise/Dealership Law (2009-2011)
    • Super Lawyer in the area of Franchise/Dealership Law (2017)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America©in the area of Franchise Law (2011-present)
    • American Bar Association
    • Business Law
    • Forum on Franchising
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Business Law, Council Member
    • Committee on Franchising, Chairman
    • Business Law Curriculum Committee, Past Member
    • Course Planner, Basics of Franchise Law Continuing Legal Education Course
    • International Law
  • International Franchise Association
    • Supplier Forum Board of Governors
    • Emerging franchisor Task Force
    • Legal and Legislative Committee
    • Membership Committee
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Raleigh-Durham Chapter, Chairman
  • National Business Institute, Faculty
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law
  • Recognized as North Carolina Lawyers’ Weekly Leader in the Law (2017)

Prior Experience and Clerkships

  • Prior to joining Manning Fulton, Ritchie served as a law clerk at the Student Loan Marketing Association (SALLIE-MAE)

Representative Transactions

Business Law

  • Serves as US legal counsel to privately held foreign corporations based in Canada and Europe
  • Advises clients on structuring and negotiating domestic and international joint venture transactions
  • Lead counsel to Canadian company in establishing global footprint through complex joint venture transaction
  • Represents both issuers and investors in venture capital transactions and private placement securities offerings
  • Represented client in establishing a private equity fund focused on commercial real estate investment
  • Represented clients in a variety of international business transactions
  • Represents new businesses in selecting the correct business entity and in the formation of corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships and limited liability companies

Franchise Law

  • Serves as legal counsel to over 40 franchise systems and dealer networks with domestic and international locations
  • Represents clients in the development and structuring of franchise systems and in the preparation and renewal of franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements, area development agreements, and master franchise agreements
  • Represents franchisors and franchisees in structuring international franchise arrangements
  • Represents buyers and sellers in acquisition of franchisors, including franchise compliance due diligence
  • Represents franchisors in resolving state enforcement actions for non-compliance with franchise laws
  • Routinely represents prospective franchisees in acquiring the rights to develop a franchise location as well as the sale or purchase of existing franchise locations
  • Works collaboratively with the firm’s litigation attorneys in resolving franchise disputes
  • Assists franchisors in using the Internet to enhance their franchise systems
  • Counsels franchisors on establishing state franchise advertising compliance programs. See video.

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Key member of acquisition team representing buyers and sellers in merger and acquisition transactions with individual transaction values exceeding $300,000,000
  • Advises clients engaging in tax-free spin-offs, divestitures, and reorganizations of business units
  • Represented managed hosting company in a $140 million sale to a private equity company
  • Lead counsel in sale of pharmaceutical service company for $56 million in leveraged buyout transaction
  • Lead counsel in sale of ESOP owned technology company to public acquirer
  • Lead counsel to European company in purchase of private label manufacturing company with production facilities in Honduras and Nicaragua
  • Lead counsel to European company acquiring US-based consumer goods company for $50 million
  • Lead counsel to European company in divestiture of brands to purchasers based in United States and United Kingdom
  • Represented multiple acquirers of franchise systems
  • Represented client in corporate reorganization requiring mergers of over 1,000 corporations incorporated throughout the United States
  • Served as lead counsel to Fleet Feet Sports in its acquisition by Investor’s Management Corporation, which deal was recognized by Franchise Times as one of the top 10 franchise M&A transactions in 2012. Click here to read more.

Product Distribution and Licensing Law

  • Represents clients in intellectual property licensing and technology transfer transactions
  • Represents clients in structuring domestic and international product distribution agreements
  • Recently represented durable products company in negotiating exclusive licensing arrangement with Ralph Lauren
  • Outside counsel to software company in licensing software to Fortune 500 companies including Wal-Mart, Costco, GlaxoSmithKline, AT&T and Walgreens

Community Engagement

Occoneechee Council Boy Scouts of America

  • Board of Directors
  • Endowment Committee, Chairman
  • Friends of Scouting Campaign Vice Chairman

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

  • Volunteer missionary in Brazil (1991-1993)
  • Assistant Scoutmaster and committee chair
  • Various leadership positions in the church including Sunday School president and teacher, Elders Quorum president, and financial clerk

“As our lead outside franchise and corporate counsel, we rely on Ritchie’s pragmatic, strategic counsel in growing and protecting our franchise system.  His timely, relevant counsel helps us continue to grow Window World.  We have complete confidence in him and know that he has our best interest at heart.”

Beth H. Vannoy
Chief Legal Officer & Director | Window World, Inc.

“Ritchie’s effort and sincerity impress me.  Ritchie has become my strategic partner and is genuinely focused on ensuring that my brand is moving in the right direction.”

Sam Ballas
Chief Executive Officer | East Coast Wings Corporation

“For over a decade, we have had the pleasure to work with Ritchie.  By being knowledgeable and cutting edge current in franchise law, Ritchie has helped raise the standards of the Brixx franchise system.  He is always prompt with a response to any question I may have, and gives me concrete answers.  I would highly recommend anyone in the franchise industry consider using the services of Ritchie and Manning Fulton’s franchise team.”

Neil Newcomb
Chief Executive Officer, Brixx Franchise Systems

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