Nicola specialises in commercial law helping businesses to scale up and expand whilst minimising legal risk in the supply chain. Her practice has a particular focus on international expansion through franchising, as well as licensing, agency and distribution. Much of her work involves fashion and luxury brands as well as the casual dining sector where she also provides general commercial advice often on a retainer basis. She looks for solutions to issues and understands the need to weigh up risk versus reward when advising.
Nicola joined Stevens & Bolton as a commercial partner in 2011 to head up the firm’s franchise practice having trained and spent time at City law firms.
Nicola is an acknowledged legal expert in the franchise sector, providing the full range of advice to franchisors and franchisees including the setup of franchise networks and franchise agreements, the review and adaptation of international franchise agreements for compliance with English law and the British Franchise Association’s Code of Ethics and advising multi unit franchisees on their franchise investments. She regularly advises clients in the retail and hospitality sectors on their choice of expansion method including template agreements to help standardise relationships, customer services issues and advertising and marketing compliance. Nicola has a particular interest in ESG and sustainable business practices as well as social enterprise models and is head of up the firm’s retail, luxury and hospitality sector.
Recent highlights include:
- Advising Papa Johns GB on its franchise operations, including updating its franchise template documentation
- Advising Clarks Shoes on its franchise documentation and assisting in its renewal process
- Advising on the re-modelling of an international affiliate agreement and the introduction of an international advisory board for a high profile international Christian charity which offers free debt counselling to help reduce poverty
- Operating a general retainer for the perfume house Penhaligon’s advising on a wide range of issues including: customer support, advertising and marketing advice for promotional campaigns and data protection advice
- Advising T.M Lewin on its international agreements including South Africa, Nigeria, the UAE, Czech Republic, Pakistan and China
- Providing regulatory advice to a well-known luxury brand on Global Guidelines for the payments of incentives to distributors as well as consumer finance facilities
- Advising a household name women’s fashionwear retailer on its international distribution agreement and terms and conditions of business
- Advising the Vape Store on its expansion in the UK through licencing as well as franchising and on its international supply agreements for Europe
- Advising Leightons opticians on its property portfolio, franchised operations and acquisitions as well as data protection advice
- Advising the British Franchise Association on its data protection programme and preparing a data sharing agreement for use with its members
- Advising a well-known retailer of high-end cutlery and other culinary wear on its online terms and conditions of sale for use with both consumers and business retailers and its online brand enforcement strategy
- Advising a US provider of online trading training on its franchise agreement and consumer credit agreements as well as data protection compliance including preparing a data representative agreement
Nicola is regularly called upon to speak at specialist industry events and writes for specialist trade journals such as Franchise World and Elite Franchise. In recognition of her expertise, she has been asked to judge the franchisor and franchisee of the year awards at the prestigious annual BFA/HSBC British Franchise Awards, as well as at the Elite Franchise awards.
She is the firm's designated representative for the British Franchise Association and serves on the BFA’s Quality Standards Committee and Legal Committee. She is also Chair of the International Division of the American Bar Association’s Franchise Forum. In addition, Nicola is a council member for the International Bar Association’s European Regional Forum, Chair of the European Regional Forum’s ESG working group and a member of the International Franchising Committee. For the last three years she has been an active member of the planning committee for the annual IBA Fashion and Luxury conference, chairing panel sessions at each of these.
She is an acknowledged industry expert in franchising consistently ranked in the top band for franchising UK-wide by Chambers legal directory. She is also listed as a leading individual for franchising in The Legal 500, which describes her as “very personable and easy to communicate with”, and her knowledge of franchising as “very evidently outstanding”.
Nicola is consistently listed in the annual edition of ‘The Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom’ for her work in Franchising Law as well as a ‘Global Elite Thought Leader’ in Who’s Who Legal - Franchise 2023 and 2022.