Lawyer Profile Detail

Helen Fotinos








University of Windsor


Ontario, 2002


Helen Fotinos is a partner in our Business Law Group in Toronto and the Co-Chair of the firm's National Franchise and Distribution Group. She is also a member of the firm's National Consumer Products and Retail Group. Her practice focuses on all aspects of franchise/distribution law and related corporate/commercial contracts and disputes.

Ms. Fotinos has served as General Counsel to domestic and international franchisors, manufacturers and distributors in the quick-service/casual dining, food and beverage, hospitality and automotive industries. She has extensive experience advising clients on the development of the legal and corporate infrastructure required to successfully manage both the day to day operations as well as the strategic long-term growth of their businesses.

Ms. Fotinos is particularly adept at proactively identifying areas of risk and opportunity and working closely with clients to deliver integrated risk management strategies and practical business solutions that advance the client’s business objectives. Through this approach, she has advised clients on wide variety of issues, including: franchise disclosure obligations, unit and master franchise agreements, system changes, default enforcement, franchisee terminations, renewals and transfers, the registration, licensing and defence of intellectual property rights, the standardization of key operating documents, the implementation and enforcement of financial reporting, training and performance improvement programs, complex finance, marketing, sponsorship, vendor, distribution and employment agreements, regulatory compliance and consumer grievance and litigation management, among other issues.

Prior to moving in-house, Ms. Fotinos was in private practice at a boutique law firm specializing in all aspects of franchise and business law. During this period, she advised clients on a variety of transactions and complex contractual disputes, with an emphasis on franchise, licensing and distribution contracts and related matters involving fiduciary and good faith duties, misrepresentations, economic torts, terminations, enforcement of post-termination obligations, rescission issues, intellectual property infringements, volume rebates, royalty collections and class actions.

Ms. Fotinos has recently written and spoken on the impact of Canada’s proposed Anti-Spam legislation on businesses and the challenges of assessing and managing the costs of franchise disputes. She has also participated in the negotiation of Memorandums of Understanding and voluntary partnerships between regulators and automotive industry stakeholders on a broad array of issues including: the protection of proprietary information, consumer advertising practices, environmental and safety regulations and alternative dispute resolution models.

Ms. Fotinos is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel - Ontario Chapter, and an active member of the Ontario Bar Association's Franchise Section, the Canadian Franchise Association, Global Leaders In Law and the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. Recently, Ms. Fotinos was recognized as one of the leading lawyers in the area of franchising by Franchise Times magazine, who named her as one of the Legal Eagles of 2016. She is listed in the current edition of Chambers Canada as an up-and-coming lawyer in the area of franchising. She is also listed in the 2016 edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, a guide to the leading law firms and practitioners in Canada, as a leading lawyer in the area of franchising law.

Ms. Fotinos received her B.A. (With Distinction) in Political Science from York University in 1998 and graduated with her LL.B from the University of Windsor in 2000. She received team and individual awards for Best Advocate and Best Respondent's Factum in multiple competitive mooting competitions at the University of Windsor. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002.

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McCarthy Tétrault delivers integrated business law, tax, real property, labour and employment, and litigation services nationally and globally through offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal, Québec City and London, UK.