Stephen E. Story


Steve is the Chairman of the firm’s Franchise practice area. His practice includes a unique emphasis on franchising, intellectual property, technology, sales, distribution, marketing issues, and antitrust law. He represents several local, regional, and national franchisors and also multiple-unit operator franchisees and single-unit franchisees.

Representative Matters

  • Represent franchisors as general counsel in drafting franchise disclosure documents, franchise and related agreements, franchise registration issues, and on trademark matters
  • Represented two franchisees in cases seeking refund of all initial franchise fees based upon franchisor’s failure to locate a suitable site in accordance with franchise agreement terms
  • Represent hotel franchisees in negotiations and litigation with franchisors over liquidated damages provisions; recently negotiated substantial discounts on three liquidated damages claims for local hotel licensees
  • Represent franchisees (area developers and single unit) in evaluating franchise offerings and related work (setting up a legal entity, negotiation of leases) for start-up franchisees

Recognition & Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2004-2021
  • Best Lawyers in America – Norfolk Litigation – Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year”, 2016
  • Legal Eagle; Franchise Times, 2014, 2019-2020 
  • Virginia Super Lawyers; (Franchising/Dealership) Law & Politics, 2006-2017
  • Virginia’s Legal Elite; Intellectual Property Law, Virginia Business Magazine, 2000-2014, 2016-2019
  • Top Lawyers; CoVaBIZ, 2017-2019
  • AV® Rated; Martindale-Hubbell


  • American Bar Association; Forum on Franchising and Antitrust Law Section
  • International Franchise Association (Legal/Legislative Committee)
  • Virginia State Bar; Past Chairman, Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulation Section, Board of Governors, 1995-2003
  • First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, Virginia; Trustee, 2003-2009; 2014-
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association


  • University of Texas; B.A., 1978
  • University of Texas School of Law; J.D., with honors, 1981

Press & Publications