News: Press Release

Franchise & Distribution Attorneys Thomas Pitegoff and Stephen Forte Are Reunited at Offit Kurman

New York, NY | September 3, 2019 Offit Kurman is pleased to announce that Thomas Pitegoff and Stephen Forte have joined the firm’s offices in New York. The three attorneys bring significant experience in the areas of franchise and distribution law and litigation, as well as related business legal matters.

For Mr. Pitegoff and Mr. Forte, the affiliation with Offit Kurman represents a reunion and a new opportunity to build a prominent franchise and distribution law practice. The attorneys previously worked together at LeClairRyan, where Mr. Pitegoff led the franchise team. Mr. Forte left LeClairRyan in 2016. Mr. Pitegoff exited in August of this year.

The firm simultaneously drew the attention of Mr. Pitegoff, who became familiar with Offit Kurman through his colleague Stuart B. Newman—one of several attorneys who joined Offit Kurman’s New York offices in January of this year. Both Mr. Pitegoff and Mr. Newman serve on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Business Law Section.

“Between Stuart and Mike, there was good reason to seriously look at Offit Kurman,” Mr. Pitegoff said. “Mike and I like the fact that Offit Kurman is clearly growing fast. I also like the strong international business practice in the firm’s New York office. This kind of dynamic platform offers the ideal means to grow our practice together.”

With the addition of Mr. Forte, a commercial litigator who serves as Counsel at Offit Kurman, the attorneys aim to develop a formidable practice in New York. The team’s capabilities will cover myriad services related to franchising, distribution, licensing, antitrust issues, and more.

More information about each of Offit Kurman’s newest attorneys in New York can be found below:

Thomas Pitegoff is an internationally recognized leader in the franchise and distribution field. He drafts franchise agreements and disclosure documents, obtains state franchise registrations, and provides ongoing franchise compliance counseling services. He also represents foreign franchisors in their U.S. business and U.S. franchisors expanding abroad. Mr. Pitegoff additionally handles business transactions outside of the field of franchising and distribution. His transactional work includes license and distribution agreements, service agreements, information technology agreements and intellectual property counseling. He also acts as general U.S. counsel for foreign companies and he provides outside general counsel services for U.S. companies.

Mr. Pitegoff is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association’s Business Law Section, and former Chair of the Section’s Legislative Committee and Franchise Law Committee. He is a former member of the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising and a former editor of the Franchise Law Journal.

A prominent writer on franchise and distribution legal matters, Mr. Pitegoff has authored or co-authored articles and contributions for the American Bar Association and in Modern Restaurant Management, Core Compass, QSR, Food & Drink Magazine, Crain’s New York Business, and other industry publications. His notable works include the New York law chapter in the book Exemptions and Exclusions under Federal and State Franchise Registration and Disclosure Laws (American Bar Association 2017) and the chapter on “Franchise Relationship Laws” in the book Fundamentals of Franchising, 3rd Edition (American Bar Association 2008).

Mr. Pitegoff has received numerous honors, such as recognition in Metro New York Super Lawyers by Law & Politics magazine, Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent Top-Rated Lawyers, and Who’s Who Legal (London). He has been named a “Legal Eagle” by Franchise Times magazine (2009–2011, 2014–2019), listed among The Best Lawyers in America for Franchise Law since 2013, and was recently named Best Lawyers' 2020 Franchise Law "Lawyer of the Year" for New York, NY.

Stephen Forte focuses his practice in the areas of business, financial services, and real estate litigation in the federal, state, and appellate courts in New York and Connecticut, as well as other jurisdictions, including the New Jersey federal courts. His business litigation practice includes representing clients in actions involving business torts, corporate disputes, employment matters, breach of contract claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, trade secrets, and trademark infringement.

In the area of financial services and real estate litigation, Mr. Forte’s practice involves the representation of national and regional banking clients and credit unions in workouts, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and title disputes. He also handles matters related to federal and state consumer protection statutes and regulations, including the Truth in Lending Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and Federal Regulation Z.

Additionally, Mr. Forte advises clients on emerging regulations and laws in the area of data privacy and cybersecurity. He also represents small to mid-sized companies and startup companies in corporate and franchise matters.

For more information about Offit Kurman’s legal services and the new attorneys joining the firm in New York, visit

Readers are also encouraged to learn about and register for Mr. Pitegoff’s upcoming NYSBA Continuing Legal Education (CLE) presentation, “Drafting Licensing, Franchise and Distribution Agreements,” on September 16. For more information, click here.


Offit Kurman, a full-service AmLaw 200 law firm with offices throughout the East Coast and in Southern California, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. Founded in 1987, the firm’s 280+ attorneys counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice. Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration.