Carter & Tani

402 East Roosevelt Road, Suite 206
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
Phone: 630-668-2135
Fax: 630-668-9009
Web site:

Our Experience. We are experienced and energetic attorneys who have spent most of our professional careers representing franchise clients. 70% of our revenue is from providing services to franchise clients.

Our Services. We have expertise in preparing offering circulars, contracts, handling nationwide franchise registration and all aspects of franchise law compliance. We also advise and counsel our clients on structuring franchises, franchise law compliance, cobranding, franchise renewals and transfers, defaults and terminations, acquisitions of franchise systems, resolving franchise disputes, leasing and general business issues. We strive to provide these services in a timely, cost-effective manner and with a personal touch.

Our Philosophy. We see the business perspective as well as the legal issues in our clients" transactions and plans. We offer counsel with a "can do" attitude, rather than being simply "naysayers." Our goal is to assist you in fulfilling your business objectives within legal boundaries.

Our Clients. We have represented franchisors and subfranchisors of various types of restaurants, convenience stores, home inspection services, car wash services, retail pet stores, decorating services, janitorial services, remodeling and repair services, children"s entertainment and education services, sanitation services, vinyl repair services, retail home furnishing stores, hair salons, real estate, and business services. We are committed to establishing long-term relationships with our clients.

Doris Adkins Carter has practiced franchise law since 1985. She graduated with honors from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 1980. After initially practicing with a law firm in Chicago, she joined the in-house legal staff of a national franchisor where she and Christine met. They established Carter & Tani in 1991.

Christine K. Tani has been a franchise lawyer since she attended Boston University Law School and completed her degree at Chicago Kent (IIT) School of Law in 1977 with high honors. She worked as counsel for a national franchisor for 16 years before establishing Carter & Tani.

In addition to their law practice, Doris and Christine are involved in the ABA Forum on Franchising and local bar associations, and community, philanthropic, religious and not-for-profit organizations.


181 Waukegan Road Suite 205
Northfield, Illinois 60093
Phone (847)501-5300   Fax (847)501-5325

Attorneys in our firm have represented clients ranging from start-up franchisors and franchisees to some of the largest and most innovative companies in the franchise community. K&G blends real-world, practical business acumen with a thorough understanding of what makes franchising a unique legal environment. Experience, knowledge, talent and a small firm setting allow us to provide efficient results to clients while minimizing legal fee "sticker shock."


K&G provides counseling to franchisees to help them evaluate franchise opportunities and understand their legal rights and responsibilities. K&G also provides franchisees with a full range of contract and other business transactional services, including business start-ups and organizational structuring.


Through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and aggressively litigating in court, our attorneys have resolved nearly every type of franchisor, licensor and distributor dispute for small, medium and large franchisors, including those involving registration and disclosure, franchise compliance, termination, franchisee associations, vicarious liability, encroachment, advertising funds, antitrust, tortious interference, unfair competition, trade secrets and trademark protection. Oftentimes, our firm is retained by franchisors to supervise national franchise litigation and by other attorneys as local Illinois franchise counsel.


K&G understands that avoiding costly litigation begins with a well-managed franchise compliance program. To this end, K&G provides a complete range of compliance auditing services, training and support to identify and resolve problems at the earliest stages.


K&G prepares all types of franchise documents, including UFOC's, franchise agreements and leases. The firm is often asked to revise documents prepared by others to reduce litigation exposure, comply with new rules and regulations, or to simply make the documents fit better with the franchisor's way of doing business.

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has been a national and international leader in franchise and distribution law since modern franchising began, and has been named the number one firm in the world in the area of franchise law by the respected international survey edition of The International Whos Who of Franchise Lawyers. Fifteen of the groups lawyers were also singled out for recognition, more than double the number from any other firm.

We currently represent several hundred franchisors and other enterprises that distribute products and services. Our practice is national and international in scope and we have represented clients in more than 100 countries. Over the past 40 years, members of the Franchise and Distribution group have assisted in the structuring and development of more than 1000 franchising programs. Though the majority of these franchising programs involved franchise relationships in such familiar consumer industries as foodservice, lodging, automotive aftermarket and business and consumer services, we have assisted many companies develop domestic and international franchising programs in nontraditional business categories or with nontraditional structures.

Our Franchise and Distribution lawyers, working with state franchise law administrators, were the principal authors of the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular ("UFOC") Guidelines, developed during the 1970s (and periodically updated, with our assistance) to bring greater uniformity to the registration and disclosure of franchise offerings. Piper Rudnick is general counsel to the International Franchise Association and the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation.

Compliance, Relationship and Transactional Matters

We provide a number of franchise or distribution-related services:

  • structuring and documenting franchise and distribution relationships;
  • advising companies with respect to structuring distribution relationships that avoid regulation under state and federal franchise disclosure and business opportunity laws;
  • preparing disclosure documents, state registrations of franchise offers and counseling on compliance with all elements of disclosure regulation and franchisee recruitment;
  • counseling on franchise and dealership terminations and transfers and compliance with federal and state franchise and dealer relationship regulation;
  • advising clients with respect to the impact of developments in technology and communication on their franchise and distribution relationships;
  • structuring advertising funds;
  • developing supply programs for franchisees, including establishing buying cooperatives owned by franchisees;
  • counseling with respect to complex antitrust issues that may affect the structure of a franchise or distribution network and a company's services and sources of revenue;
  • assisting franchisors to develop internal dispute resolution programs;
  • assisting companies to devise and develop new distribution channels and techniques;
  • developing strategies and programs to minimize and resolve network expansion conflicts;
  • counseling franchising companies on potential merger and acquisition opportunities.

Dispute Resolution

Lawyers in the Franchise and Distribution group assist franchisors and other clients in dispute resolution -- whether with franchisees, suppliers to the network, competitors or state and federal government agencies. Ideally, we help clients avoid disputes, by recommending business solutions to defuse problems that might otherwise explode into costly and protracted litigation; but litigation sometimes cannot be avoided. We represent our clients in all forums throughout the United States and have represented franchise and other distribution companies in hundreds of federal and state court and arbitration proceedings -- from New York to Japan - with respect to such diverse issues as breach of contract, fraud, RICO, trademark and copyright infringement, termination, vicarious liability, network expansion conflict, use of alternative distribution channels, implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims, transfer issues, discrimination claims, enforcement of system standards, antitrust, franchise registration and disclosure compliance, restrictive covenants, electronic commerce, consumer fraud, product liability and securities fraud.

International Franchising and Distribution

We've been part of the global market for more than 30 years. In helping U.S. companies expand world-wide, we have built a wideranging international franchise and distribution practice. It includes not only U.S. clients seeking to expand abroad, but also foreign clients seeking to expand into the United States, as well as into other cross-border markets and, in some cases, within their own countries. We have extensive experience in structuring, negotiating and documenting international master franchise and area development relationships, joint ventures and other distribution relationships in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Africa and Latin America. We have handled transactions in every major country in the world.

Rounding Out Our Support

While compliance with applicable franchise and business opportunity laws is often foremost among a franchisor's concerns, a myriad of other laws will affect the development and implementation of franchise and distribution networks. Firm lawyers bring substantial experience in counseling clients in important areas of the law beyond franchising, distribution, antitrust and intellectual property that affect both domestic and international companies: e.g., bankruptcy, commercial, contract, corporate, employment, environmental, finance, labor, insurance, intellectual property, information technology, electronic commerce, mergers and acquisitions, partnership, real estate, securities, tax and others. In each of these areas, we can draw as necessary on the experience of other practice groups within the firm.

For more information about the firm and our practice, visit our Web site at