- LL.B., University of Western Ontario, 2005
- B.A.,(Hons) University of Western Ontario, 2002
- Admitted to the Ontario Bar (Law Society of Upper Canada), 2006
Chad is a partner, business lawyer and Registered Trademark Agent at Dale & Lessmann LLP. With a wide latitude of legal experience in many areas of law, Chad’s main specialties lie in franchise law, licensing & distribution, intellectual property law and brand marketing & advertising law across a broad spectrum of service sectors including retail, restaurant chains, financial services, health & wellness, beauty services, real estate and technology. Frequently, he leads mergers and acquisitions deal teams or is engaged as franchise counsel to other law firms and private equity firms on specialized franchise legal matters for large-scale corporate work.
Multifaceted in his legal experience and a fierce advocate of his client’s brands, Chad maintains a refined approach to ensuring full legal context for the life cycle of all his client’s matters. Working closely with franchisors, he drafts franchise agreements and franchise disclosure documents, as well as structures and negotiates domestic and international franchise and license transactions and acquisitions. He provides astute advice on joint ventures, branding, licensing and distribution for domestic and global companies. Chad develops best practices for single-unit, multi-unit and master franchise programs and franchise relationships, advising on how to conduct productive business relations with franchise stakeholder groups. Emerging and start-up businesses can also leverage his deep knowledge in the set-up and development for new franchises in their early stages.
Chad has extensive experience securing protection for his clients’ brands and intellectual property, including prosecuting trademark applications, negotiating licensing deals and managing disputes related to infringement. He also drafts supply and co-packing agreements between food manufacturers, distributors and end users including airlines and retail and restaurant chains. Chad also advises on matters relating to advertising and marketing law, sponsorships, endorsements, entertainment talent agreements, contests and promotions, technology licensing and services, privacy law and consumer protection law.
As a testament to Chad’s drive, diversity of knowledge and commitment, clients entrust him for his practical advice on legal matters to help them make informed business decisions. He collaborates with management and their outside business and marketing partners to interpret law and deliver it with grounded perspectives in a clear and accessible manner. Within Chad’s client base, he is considered an extension of their management team for his unique ability to bring his legal perspective to bear on their business and success.
He is a frequent writer and speaker for industry publications and events, including contributing a regular franchise blog to the Financial Post, one of Canada’s leading national newspapers. Chad has also been interviewed by The Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV, CH News, CBC, Canadian Press and various other television and radio news programs, and is a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto.
Please click here to view Chad’s regular column for the Financial Post on franchise, trademark, advertising and branding legal issues.
Professional Affiliations and Distinctions
- 2018 Lexpert Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 winner
- Lexpert Leading Practitioner (Franchise Law)
- Chambers Canada (Franchise Law)
- The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada
- Who’s Who Legal: Canada (Franchise Law)
- The Best Lawyers in Canada (Franchise Law)
- Franchise Times Legal Eagle
- Member, Canadian Franchise Association
- Member, International Franchise Association
- Member, Ontario Bar Association
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Restaurants Canada
- Past Member, Ontario Bar Association, Executive of Franchise Law Section (Public Affairs Liaison)
- Ontario Caps Private Cannabis Stores Interview on BNN December 14, 2018, https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/ontario-caps-initial-rollout-of-privat...
- Quoted in BNN Article December 14, 2018 https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/pot-firms-licking-their-wounds-after-ontario...
- New Ontario regulations dash expansion hopes for some cannabis retailers, Globe & Mail November 15, 2018 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/cannabis/article-new-ontario-rules-dash-...
- 2018 Lexpert Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 winner https://www.lexpert.ca/rising-stars/winner-detail/chad-finkelstein-dale-and-lessmann-lip-522
- Regular column for the Financial Post on franchise, trademark and branding legal issues: http://business.financialpost.com/author/chadfinkelstein
- Cannabis in Restaurants, CTV Ottawa September 12, 2018 https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1486645
- The future of Smart Serve with legalization around the corner, Breakfast TV August 21, 2018 https://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/the-future-of-smart-serve-with-legalizat...
- "The Franchise Battle of the Next Decade: Brand Control or Legal Exposure? Balancing the Franchisor’s Need to Control the Brand with Vicarious Liability Concerns”, presented to the Ontario Bar Association Franchise Law Section, June 2018 https://www.dalelessmann.com/sites/default/files/Franchise%20Battle%20of...
- “The Legalization of Cannabis and How It May Affect Your Business”, presented to the Canadian Franchise Association, June 2018 https://www.dalelessmann.com/sites/default/files/Legalization%20of%20Can...
- “Cannabis and the Foodservice Industry”, a panellist at the National Restaurant Association Show, May 2018
- “Cannabis in Foodservice”, presented to Restaurants Canada, May 2018 https://www.dalelessmann.com/sites/default/files/Cannabis%20in%20Foodser...
- “Be On the Lookout! How to Spot and Address the Accidental Franchise”, presented to the Ontario Bar Association Institute, February 2018
- "The Impact of Cannabis Legalization on Canada and the Restaurant Industry", delivered to the Board of Directors of Restaurants Canada, June 2017
- “Thinking of franchising your restaurant? Not knowing the law could cost you”, Restaurants Canada, June 2017 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2017/06/22/thinking-franchising-restaurant-not-knowing-law-cost/
- “Marijuana and Foodservice – What You Need to Know”, Restaurants Canada, April 2017 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2017/04/12/marijuana-foodservice-need-know/
- “Ask the Experts: Contributing to the Ad Fund”, Canadian Business Franchise, April 2017 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/features/ask-the-expert/ask-the-experts-contributing-to-the-ad-fund/
- “Will my franchised restaurant make money?”, Restaurants Canada, February 2017 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2017/02/03/franchised-restaurant-make-money/
- "Design and Executing Effective Franchise System Advertising Programs", presented to the Canadian Franchise Association Law Day, 2016
- “Ask the Experts: Terms for the resale of a franchise”, Canadian Business Franchise, November 2016 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/ask-the-expert-terms-for-the-resale-of-a-franchise/
- “Human Rights & the Restaurant Industry in Canada”, Restaurants Canada, July 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/07/05/human-rights-restaurant-industry-canada/
- “Key legal issues for the foodservice industry”, RestoBiz, July 2016 https://www.restobiz.ca/key-legal-issues-foodservice-industry/
- “What do you mean your restaurant doesn’t have a shareholders’ agreement?”, Restaurants Canada, June 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/06/15/restaurant-shareholders-agreement/
- “How Canada’s New Trademark Laws Affect Restauranteurs”, Restaurants Canada, May 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/05/30/trademark-laws-restaurateurs/
- “Developing the franchise model for your restaurant”, Restaurants Canada, May 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/05/13/franchise-model-restaurant/
- “Items to consider before franchising your restaurant”, Restaurants Canada, May 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/05/05/franchising-restaurant/
- "Tweet, Like, Share, Repeat - Effective Management of a Franchise Brand's Social Media Program", presented to the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium, May 2016
- "Introduction to Canadian Franchise Law"
- “Reading the Fine Print: Introduction to Food Aggregators”, Restaurants Canada, April 2016 https://blog.restaurantscanada.org/index.php/2016/04/05/read-fine-print-2/
- “Ask the Experts: Changes to trademarks laws”, Canadian Business Franchise, March 2016 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/ask-the-experts-changes-to-trademark-laws/
- "Regulatory Nation - A Look at New and Potential Regulatory & Legislative Development Impacting Franchising (Menu Labelling)"
- "Healthy Menu Choices Act", presented to the Canadian Franchise Association Law Day 2016
- “Ask the Experts: Developing franchise legislation in British Columbia”, Canadian Business Franchise, August 2014 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/ask-the-experts-developing-franchise-legislation-in-british-columbia/
- "Legal & Business Aspects to Consider When Purchasing a Franchise", presented to the Canadian Franchise Association Franchise Show
- "Don't Gamble With the Law: How to Run a Legal Contest and Promotional Giveaway", presented as a Canadian Franchise Association webinar, 2015
- "Data Security Issues for Franchise Systems", presented to the Canadian Franchise Association Law Day 2015
- Co-Chair, Canadian Franchise Association Law Day, 2014
- “Ask the Experts: Franchisee freedom”, Canadian Business Franchise, June 2014 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/ask-the-experts-how-much-freedom-do-franchisees-typically-have-to-run-local-contests-for-their-customers/
- Co-Chair Ontario Bar Association Institute, Franchise Law, February 2013: http://www.cbapd.org/details_en.aspx?id=ON_D_FRA
- “Ask the Experts: Finding a franchise lawyer”, Canadian Business Franchise, September 2012 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/ask-the-experts-what-factors-determine-which-lawyer-or-firm-i-should-work-with/
- “When Your Franchise Agreement Ends”, Canadian Business Franchise, December 2011 https://www.franchiseinfo.ca/legal-corner/when-your-franchise-agreement-ends-know-your-rights/
- “Non-Competition Covenants in A Canadian Context”, International Journal of Franchising Law, Volume 9, Issue 3, 2011 (co-author): http://www.dalelessmann.com/sites/default/files/Non-Competition%20Covenants%20in%20a%20Canadian%20Context%20International%20Journal%20of%20Franchising%20Law%20Volume%209%20Issue%203%202011.pdf
- “Franchising and Social Media”, presented to the Ontario Bar Association Annual Franchise Law Conference, 2011