HAROLD L. KESTENBAUM is an attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. From May 1982 until September 1986, Harold served as franchise and general counsel to Sbarro, Inc., the national franchisor of over 1,000 family-style Italian restaurants and, was a director from March 1985 to December 2006.
From September 1983 to October 1989, he served as President and Chairman of the Board of FranchiseIt Corporation, the first publicly traded company specializing in providing franchise marketing and consulting services and equity financing to emerging franchise companies, which he co-founded. Harold has authored the first book dedicated to the entrepreneur who wants to franchise his/her business called “So You Want To Franchise Your Business”. It is a step by step guide to what a businessperson needs to know and do to properly roll out a franchise program.
Harold is a Partner with the national law firm, Gordon & Rees, LLP and is engaged exclusively in the practice of franchise distribution and licensing law, representing exclusively franchisors, both start-up and established. He is a member of the Gordon & Rees Franchise, Distribution and Hospitality Practice Group.
Harold is a member of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section, a member of the Antitrust Section’s Forum Committee on Franchising since 1978, a member of the Subcommittee on Franchising of the American Bar Association’s Corporation Banking and Business Law Section, is a founding member and past Chairman of the New York State Bar Association’s Franchise, Distribution and Licensing Law Section, and he currently serves as Chairman for its Education and Seminar Subcommittee (he and has chaired a Statewide seminar programs for New York State attorneys in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005 and chaired seminars on Franchise Law for the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations) and was a member of the International Franchise Association’s Supplier Forum Advisory Board.
He has published many articles related to franchising and frequently lectures and appears before numerous organizations and law schools speaking on various topics in franchising. He has been chosen one of the top 100 franchise attorneys in North America by Franchise Times in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 2010 and 2011, and was named one of the three best franchise attorneys in the New York metro area by New York Magazine for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was named New York Super Lawyer as one of the Top Attorneys in the New York Metro Area for 2007, 2008,2009 and 2010.
In addition, he has written two articles for the ABA Forum Committee, one appearing in the Franchise Law Journal and the other appearing in the Franchise Lawyer. He has appeared on two International Franchise Association Legal Symposium panels, in 2001 and in 2004. He also participates in the IFA Speakers Bureau and has spoken on its behalf, and has been a facilitator at ten IFA Convention Roundtables, and is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE). He has attended over 30 ABA Forum Committee annual programs since 1978 and over 30 IFA Legal Symposia. Harold’s book is available at major book stores and on Amazon.com.