James M. Mulcahy
By on July 31, 2012
Jim Mulcahy is the founder and managing partner of Mulcahy LLP. He is a trial lawyer, and has taken more than 60 cases to trial in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Jim's most recent victories include a $6.8 million judgment in May 2017 following a month-long jury trial, and a $4.3 million judgment following an August 2016 arbitration. Both cases were litigated outside of California and involved complicated franchise and distribution issues.
Jim is widely recognized for his ability to assist corporations in structuring solid franchise and distribution business solutions and in identifying potential conflicts before they arise. His experience includes litigating, trying, and arbitrating hundreds of matters involving disputes between franchisors/suppliers and franchisees/dealers, franchise disclosure and relationship statutes, antitrust and trade regulation, unfair competition issues, dealer and distribution programs, vertical marketing issues, claims of trademark and copyright infringement, allegations of tortious business conduct, misappropriation of trade secrets, and a myriad of contractual and other business disputes.
Jim regularly represents franchise and distribution clients in courts across the country on a wide variety of issues, including state and federal statutory franchise and distribution issues, price and non-price competition issues, non-competition covenants, unfair competition issues, trademark disputes, theft of trade secrets disputes, system compliance issues, dealer terminations, and enforcement of arbitration and venue provisions.
In addition to franchise and distribution matters, Jim’s practice includes representing companies and individuals in a wide variety of commercial disputes and corporate matters, including, among others, complex issues of vertical and horizontal relationships with suppliers, customers and competitors. He has deep experience in counseling on covenants not to compete, pricing issues, competitor collaborations, trade association activities, exclusive dealing and tying arrangements, group boycotts and refusals to deal, below cost pricing and price discrimination, territorial and customer restrictions, suggested resale prices, minimum advertising programs, volume, functional and bundled price discounts, rebates and promotional allowances, requirements contracts and most favored nation clauses.
- Named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers Magazine (through peer-selection process)
- Nationally recognized authority on franchise and distribution law and antitrust and trade regulation litigation
- Former General Counsel of American Suzuki Motor Corporation
- Certified Specialist in Franchise and Distribution Law for the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
- AV® Preeminent™ Rated (5 out of 5), Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Directory
- Superb Rated (10 out of 10), by Avvo, Inc. legal directory
- Coast Magazine, Top Attorney (2015-2017)
- Selected by Franchise Times as a Legal Eagle (2016-2018, 2021)
- Honored by The Best Lawyers in America (2015-2018) for work in the practice area of Franchise Law
- Selected by Who's Who Legal: Franchise (2017-2018)
- Named among the "Best Law Firms in California" by U.S. News & World Report
- Faculty member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the College of Trial Advocacy
- Vice Chair (2019), the Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
- Member (2015-present), the Franchise and Distribution Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
- President of Los Angeles and Orange County chapters of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms (2009-present). The INBLF is an organization of the most highly credentialed and preeminent single-discipline law firms throughout the United States and some of the world’s most prominent full-service law firms in foreign nations.
- Member (2005–2007), the Franchise Law Consulting Group and the Franchise & Distribution Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Jim was one of seven attorneys charged with writing the exam and establishing the necessary qualifications for attorneys to become certified specialists in franchise and distribution law – a new certified specialty practice in California.
- Co-Chair of the Franchise Law Committee of the California State Bar (2005-2006).
- Memberships: American Bar Association (Forum on Franchising; Section of Antitrust Law (Antitrust Law Committees: Distribution & Franchising, Economics, Intellectual Property, Pricing Conduct); Section of Intellectual Property Law; Section of Litigation); California State Bar Association (Section of Antitrust and Unfair Competition); Los Angeles County Bar Association (Section of Antitrust and Unfair Business Practices); Orange County Bar Association (Section of Business Litigation); Federal Bar Association (Orange County Chapter); National Panel of Arbitrators; the National Futures Association; the National Association of Securities Dealers; Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Orange County Chapter); International Trademark Association.
- Graduate of University of Arizona (Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Juris Doctorate, Phi Beta Kappa). Jim received his law degree in 1978 from the University of Arizona College of Law where he served as Chairman of the Fegtley Moot Court Program.
- Bar and Court Admissions: Illinois (1979), Northern District of Illinois; California (2001), U.S. District Court, Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts; U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits; U.S. Supreme Court.
- Frequent author and speaker on franchise, distribution, and competition issues for, among others, the California State Bar, the International Franchise Association, and the American Bar Association Antitrust Section.
Publications and speaking engagements include:
- Ixchel Pharma v. Biogen: Is This the Big One? 24 Franchise Lawyer 9 (2021) (with Sandra G. Gibbs);
- Leegin, Ten Years Later: Did Vertical Agreements Remain Unlawful Per Se Where Adopted To Facilitate A Price-Fixing Horizontal Scheme? Franchise Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Summer 2018) (co-authored with Filemon Carrillo);
- Walking the Line: When Are the Franchisor's In-House Counsel's Communications or Advice to a Franchisee and Ethical Violation? Franchise Law Journal (Spring 2018) (co-authored with Douglas Luther);
- Resale Price Maintenance: What Happened To Leegin Ten Years Later? – Mulcahy LLP Blog (July 20, 2017);
- Ninth Circuit Dismisses Robinson-Patman and Sherman Act Claims, Stating: “We Must Return This Capitalist Rumble to The Forum Where it Belongs: The Market,” American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law Pricing Conduct Committee’s Price Point Newsletter, Fall 2013;
- What You See Isn’t What You Get: How the Colgate Doctrine May Apply to the Disposable Contact Lens Antitrust Litigation, Competition – The Journal of the Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section of the State Bar of California Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 2015) (co-authored with Filemon Carrillo);
- California Courts Are Beginning To Reexamine Their Outdated Decisions Addressing Vertical Price and Other Distributional Restraints Under The Cartwright Act, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law Distribution Franchising Committee’s Newsletter, September 2013;
- AT&T Mobility v. AU Optronics Extends the California Cartwright Act’s Expansive Geographical Scope, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust Law Pricing Conduct Committee’s Price Point Newsletter, Summer 2013;
- Chapter 5 (Handling Department of Corporations Enforcement Actions) and Chapter 11 (California State Antitrust Law Issues) of the CEB’s publication entitled California Franchise Law and Practice (2013);
- Franchisors Wince as Some Courts Re-Label Franchisees as Employees, Executive Counsel Magazine, January 2013;
- Capitalizing on the International Franchising Boom: What’s Hot, What’s Not, And How To Avoid Landmines – program leader, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2012;
- Building Winning Programs for Multi-Unit Franchise Growth – panelist, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2012;
- Are Franchisees Employees? Franchise Update Magazine, September 2012;
- Dispute Resolution: Protecting the Franchisor – Keep Your Brand Out of Costly Lawsuits, Franchise Update Magazine, April 2012 (co-authored with Steven Emmons);
- Best Practices in Franchise Litigation – roundtable facilitator, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2011;
- Financial Performance Representations: Should You Make Them and, If So, What Should You Say Or Not Say – moderator and panelist, Franchise Leadership and Development Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 2011;
- Inadvertent Franchises and the GrayBar Hotel, Orange County Lawyer, June 2010 (co-authored with Gerald Davey);
- Inadvertent Franchises: Risks and Remedies, presented to the San Diego County Bar Association Financial Professional Liaison Section in March, 2009;
- Inadvertent Franchises: Risks and Remedies, presented to the Orange County Bar Association Business and Corporate Law Section in January, 2009;
- Hidden Franchises: Definition and Consequences, Federal and State Laws, presented to the California State Bar Section Education Institute in January, 2007;
- Contributing author of Chapter 5: Tying Law and Policy in Antitrust Law and Economics of Product Distribution by the American Bar Association, Antitrust Law Section (2006);
- An Overview of New Franchise Legislation and Pre-Dispute Arbitration Provisions: Issues of Unconscionability and Enforceability under California Law, presented during the California State Bar Annual Meeting in September, 2006;
- Franchise Agreement Drafting — Basic Tracks, presented during the International Franchise Association’s Annual Legal Symposium in May, 2006;
- Hot Topics in Franchise Litigation: Recent Developments Involving the Rights, Remedies, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures for California Franchisors and Franchisees, presented to the California State Bar Annual Meeting in September, 2005;
- Franchising Fundamentals: A Guide for the Uninitiated from a Regulatory, Transactional and Litigation Perspective, presented to the California State Bar Annual Meeting in September, 2004;
- Hot Topics in Franchise Litigation, presented during the California State Bar Annual Meeting in September, 2004;
- Hot Topics in Franchise Litigation: Rights and Remedies of Franchisees and Franchisors, presented to the California State Bar Annual Meeting in September, 2003;
- Franchising Fundamentals - A Guide for the Uninitiated from a Regulatory, Transactional and Litigation Perspective, Franchise Law Committee, Business Law Section, California State Bar Association Annual Meeting, September 2003;
- Current Developments in Franchise Law, presented to the Business Law Section, Franchise Law Committee, of the California State Bar Association, March 2003;
- Exclusive Distributorships and Dual Distribution: How to Avoid Dealer Litigation, which appeared in the November 2002 issue of the Orange County California Lawyer;
- Partnership within the Law: Developing Legal Issues Among Manufacturers, Agents and Retailers, 29th Annual National Sporting Goods Association Management Conference, 1993.