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 50 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 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 where he currently serves as the Council’s Vice Chair, Continuing Legal Education Committee Chair, 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.