Sean O’Donnell

Sean is the national head of the firm’s Franchising and Retail Group and specialises in franchising law and commercial disputes, including regulatory investigations by the ACCC and ASIC. His client base and practice is national and he regularly assists clients with advice and disputes across the country.

Sean is best known for his specialised expertise within the franchising sector. He was the President of the NSW/ACT Chapter of the FCA and a director of the FCA sitting on the national board between 2012-2017. Sean is the trusted legal advisor to numerous well known retailers, franchisors, master franchisees and IP brand owners and provides advice on contentious and non contentious issues including compliance, competition and consumer law and international expansion. He has also been involved in many significant and complex disputes over the past decade for well known retail and corporate clients (both listed and non listed) , including successfully defending the first Federal Court ‘fast track’ class action.

Sean is a trained mediator and has participated in numerous OFMA and commercial mediations. He has a proven record of resolving disputes, often without the need for litigation. He also provides expert opinion on franchise related matters for litigated disputes.

Sean has been peer recognised on several occasions in Who’s Who Legal – International Franchising, including the 2016 edition, as one of the leading franchise lawyers in the world. Recently he was recognised as a ‘Thought Leader’ in franchising by Who’s Who Legal where clients commended him on his “incredible market understanding“, “commercial and practical advice” and “his superb litigation abilities“. Sean has been named in Best Lawyers™ Australia for Franchise Law.


Sean’s recent experience includes advising:

  • LJ Hooker on numerous legal matters ranging from Code compliance, crisis brand management, regulatory issues, competition promotions and disputes;
  • Barbeques Galore on numerous legal matters ranging from Code compliance, contested IP ownership, property/lease related matters and disputes;
  • National franchise brands, leading national brands in the fast food, mortgage broking, logistics and automotive sectors, in relation to providing strategic advice and assisting with dispute matters involving issues such as IP enforcement, restraints of trade, fraud investigations, property/construction disputes, shareholder rights and debt recovery;
  • A banking executive on their defence in a significant regulatory investigation by ASIC; and
  • A prominent professional, defending the client from a range of actions, including ASIC director banning proceedings, professional and regulatory disciplinary hearings, including successful injunctive proceedings to prevent publication of decision obtained without due process.

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