Contact Us

Oregon Office:

Douglas D, Smith

PO Box 1034 

Sherwood, Oregon 97140-1034

Phone: (503) 840-0000

 

Utah Offices:

Bradley D. Smith

FranchiseSmith Utah, LLC

5508 West Kensington Circle

Highland, Utah 84003

Phone: (801) 615-1564

 

Douglas D. Smith

Franchise Smith, LLC

201 Red Pine Drive #4

Alpine, Utah 84004-5618

Phone: (503) 840-0000

 

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Newspaper Profile

Excerpts from an article in The Business Journal (Portland, OR; April 29, 1991)
 
Doug Smith
Franchise law expert builds national name from Portland office

 
By Anita Marks

Picture by John Klicker

 
Those who market themselves as professionals, says well known franchise attorney Doug Smith, are supposed to have their act together.
 
Smith, above all, has his act together. Widely known for his expertise in the legal niche of franchise law, Smith is one of the less than 1 percent of all attorneys in the country who work in the field full-time. Still, he prides himself on his ability as a legal "general practitioner." He has handled more than 100 jury trials just in landlord - tenant disputes. His franchise clients have run the gamut from janitorial services to pizza makers to a Canadian concern that built two-man submarines.
Rooted in Portland
 
Though his wardrobe sports an abundance of expensive suits and elegant accessories such as hand-painted neckties, he's as likely to show up for a consultation wearing jeans and cowboy boots. Well-rooted in the Portland area, his practice consists mostly of out-of-towners. When he took his Legal Scholastic Aptitude Test and "aced it royally," he decided to enter the legal field because he thought it would provide him flexible hours.
Rooted in Portland
 
Though his wardrobe sports an abundance of expensive suits and elegant accessories such as hand-painted neckties, he's as likely to show up for a consultation wearing jeans and cowboy boots. Well-rooted in the Portland area, his practice consists mostly of out-of-towners. When he took his Legal Scholastic Aptitude Test and "aced it royally," he decided to enter the legal field because he thought it would provide him flexible hours.
 
Client Jeff Turner says, "You don't look at him as an attorney. He's a person, not a stuffed shirt. He doesn't make you feel inferior."
 
Ann Taylor, a Portland franchise and small-business consultant who worked with Smith, agrees. "He's so totally atypical of the lawyer stereotype," Taylor says. "He takes franchise documents and puts them into plain old vanilla English. He has such a non-ivory tower approach to everything."
 
Formerly with Lindsay, Hart, Neil & Weigler, Smith now splits his time between an Of Counsel position with a former rival firm in the franchise law business-Fountain & Rhoades-and an office at his Bull Mountain Road home in Tigard.
 
"I've kind of got the ultimate lifestyle," says Smith.
 
And he's as surprised as anyone. It certainly didn't look that way in the heat of last summer.
 
Though Smith will not discuss the breakup last summer of his former firm, it was the talk of the town when it happened. The 48-partner Lindsay Hart did a fast dissolve last year after an internal rift of the the direction the firm was taking. The bulk of the partners left to form a new firm, After Wynne Hewitt Dodson & Skerrit, but several stayed together under the old moniker. Smith's opted out entirely.
 
Though he received numerous offers to join other firms in Portland, the split had left him gun-shy. "I was just too close to the divorce to want to get married again," he says.
 
But longtime friend Jay Fountain offered him another option.
Another Option
 
Fountain, who Smith describes as his only real competition in franchise law in the metro area, offered Smith an Of Counsel position with his firm, Fountain & Rhoades. In an Of Counsel role, Smith could practice with the firm to whatever degree seemed to work for both, and not be tied in as a shareholder or partner. The rest of the time, he was free to practice privately. The freedom he'd long sought through his choice of profession was served up to him on a platter.
 
"When the firm fell apart, the first call I got was from Jay," says Smith.
 
The two had known each other for a period of years. Though both were practicing in Portland at the time, they actually met in Washington, D.C., at an International Franchise Association conference.
 
In the small world of franchise law, Smith is a familiar and respected character. Because of the specialized nature of his practice, his clients are literally spread all over the map. At the moment, he's consulting with clients in Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Vancouver, B.C. "I just don't have a lot to do with the Portland legal scene, " he says.
 
Carl Hendrickson of EnerG Corp. is one of Smith's clients. His Phoenix company manufactures a polyurethane building block designed to cut a building's energy consumption. In 1984, Hendrickson thought he wanted to franchise his concept. He got his feet wet by attending a seminar on franchising presented by Smith. The seminar convinced Hendrickson he should franchise. While impressed with Smith, Hendrickson thought it prudent to go shopping. After six months of looking, Hendrickson decided on Smith. But after meeting with Smith, the attorney convinced Hendrickson his concept was not ready to franchise.
 
"He talked himself right out of my franchise business, because he didn't think it was to my advantage, " Hendrickson said. "I was amazed, so I adopted him as my corporate attorney right away."
Specialist with a general view
 
Despite his focus on franchising, Smith has also worked in real estate law, landlord-tenant litigation, anti-trust, buy-sell agreements, securities, employment and contract law. "I really aspire to be a general practitioner, " he says.
 
In 1981, a client of Lindsay Hart's decided it was time to look at franchising its concept of retail video stores. James Bean, who was handling National Video Inc., asked Smith if he's like to learn a little about franchising, too.
 
By 1986, Smith was working almost exclusively with franchising.
 
He's got the best reputation in the Northwest as a franchise attorney, " says his client Turner. Turner franchises under the name Closets To Go, capitalizing on the recent vogue for custom designed closets.
 
Turner says Smith's skills as a general practitioner are valuable to his franchising practice. "He's a little like a chameleon," Turner says. "He will be what you want him to be."
 
Unless of course you ask Smith why he doesn't dye his shock of thick but decidedly gray hair. Only 39, he says many people have encouraged him to do just that. But Smith doesn't see any reason for concern. "I figure if I've got it, it's going to stay," he says.
 
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