Harold L. Kestenbaum 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 more than 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 business 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”, a step-by-step guide to what a businessperson needs to know and do to properly roll out a franchise program.
Harold has served as franchise counsel to many regional, national and international franchise companies in many diverse industries. Harold’s expertise in being a business franchise lawyer is enhanced by his practical experience in serving as the chief executive officer of a national franchisor and in serving as director of numerous nationally and internationally known franchisors; experiences that are rare and unique in the area of franchise business law.
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 currently serves as Chairman for its Education and Seminar Subcommittee (he has chaired 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.
Harold Kestenbaum has published many articles related to franchising, franchise law, and frequently lectures and appears before numerous organizations and law schools speaking on various topics in franchising. One of the top 100 franchise lawyer in North America named by Franchise Times in 2004-11 and 2013; one of the three best franchise lawyers in the New York metro area named by New York Magazine for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and one of the Top Lawyers in the New York metro area for 2007-13 named by NY SuperLawyers.
On May 1, 2019, Harold joined the firm of Spadea & Lignana as a partner. A boutique franchise firm based in Philadelphia, the combined firms have created a powerhouse in the franchise legal industry.
Harold received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971 from Queens College, Queens, New York and earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Virginia, in 1975, where he was a member of Law Review. He is listed in “Who’s Who in American Law,” “The Best Lawyers in America” (Franchising), and is on the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
2017 AV Preeminent™ Rating is the highest possible qualification that Martindale-Hubbell® can bestow upon an attorney.