ARI N. STERN | Associate

astern@wkwrlaw.com

FRANCHISE & BUSINESS LAW
Ari N. Stern is a seasoned attorney and trained mediator who specializes in franchise law, business law, alternative dispute resolution, and trial and appellate practice. As a trusted advisor, he employs an interest-based approach to helping individuals, families, and companies identify opportunities and navigate challenges. Clients turn to him when it comes to negotiating and drafting agreements, performing internal investigations, counseling on litigation risk management, and resolving disputes.

Mr. Stern's ability to understand the intricacies and complexities of a wide spectrum of cases is due, in part, to his diverse professional background. Prior to joining Witmer, Karp, Warner & Ryan LLP, Mr. Stern litigated cases as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Roxbury, MA, and as an attorney at a prominent international law firm. He also previously acted as an Assistant General Counsel to an international company, and served as General Counsel to an MIT-affiliated start-up.

Mr. Stern received his B.S. (with honors) in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, where he was a member of the Meinig Family Cornell National Scholars. Mr. Stern subsequently earned both his J.D. and M.A. in International Affairs from American University. During the course of his legal studies, he worked as a legal intern for the United States Department of Justice-Office of International Affairs, and as a legal extern for the United States Department of Homeland Security-Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Further, in his final year of law school, Mr. Stern served as National President of the National Jewish Law Students Association, for which Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life named him one of seven student exemplars of excellence at its 2008 Summit.

Mr. Stern is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York, as well as before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Originally from Long Island, Mr. Stern currently resides in Brookline, MA with his wife, son, and dog.

Representative Matters

  • Franchise Counseling: Counseling franchisees on a variety of matters, including those related to contract interpretation; counseling a franchisee association on the National Labor Relations Board's new "joint employer" test, and how it may influence: (1) franchise agreements and relationships; and (2) enforcement initiatives by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other government agencies.

  • Franchise Arbitration: Representing operator of three-tiered franchise system in arbitration against former franchisee who claims he was an "employee "of the operator; representing group of franchisees seeking damages for a franchisor's tortious actions, including, but not limited to, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and conversion.

  • Contract and Trade Secrets Litigation: Represented law firm in fee dispute with former client (parties reached out-of-court settlement); negotiated a favorable settlement for a company involved in a misappropriation of trade secrets/breach of contract litigation in a state court (court entered judgment in client's favor, awarded damages).

  • Contract Negotiations and Drafting: Represented start-up in contract negotiations with prime government contractor; advised start-up on licensing deal with prominent university; drafted, on behalf of start-up, non-disclosure agreement and independent contractor agreement.

  • Employment Litigation: Assisted in the defense of a prominent Boston employer against discrimination claims before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (client received "no cause" finding); part of team that represented international law firm and certain partners challenging claims of discrimination and retaliation before a state court (court entered summary judgment in favor of defendants on all claims brought by plaintiff; decision subject to appeal); drafted briefs and affidavits in defense of a company and its new employee in a matter in which the employee's former employer sought to enforce restrictive covenants (court found that that it did not have jurisdiction over the company, and that the employee should not be subject to a preliminary injunction; favorable settlement).

  • Employment Counseling and Investigations: Counseled private school on how to handle allegations of violence against a child, first by developing a forty-eight hour crisis management strategy and then by advising the head of school on follow-up legal and communication issues (ultimately no negative press or mass exodus of students from school); conducted witness interviews and co-authored detailed summary of findings as part of investigation into alleged misconduct by a leading law firm's former associate.

  • Immigration Litigation: Filed federal mandamus action on behalf of couple seeking to have government accept pertinent immigration applications (negotiated resolution with U.S. Attorney's Office).

  • Appellate Litigation: Co-authored amici briefs on behalf of major organizations supporting the right of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem to list "Israel" as the place of birth on his/her U.S. passport (first before the U.S. Supreme Court, then before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and then again before the U.S. Supreme Court).
  • Professional & Community Involvement

  • Member, American Bar Association-Forum on Franchising
  • Member, Boston Bar Association-International Law Steering Committee
  • Member, Combined Jewish Philanthropies-Israel Advocacy Executive Committee
  • Former Co-Chair, Boston Bar Association-Criminal Law Steering Committee's Public Policy Subcommittee
  • Former Member, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Committee responsible for suggesting regulations concerning sexual harassment in the workplace

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Ari N. Stern