Legal news publication, Law360, profiled Partner Louis Chronowski who recently joined BFKN as a Partner in the Motor Vehicle Group. He spoke to Law360 about the statutes that govern motor vehicle manufacturers and the various challenges they face as they try to expand their business.

Barack Ferrazzano Hires Experienced Motor Vehicles Partner

By Adrian Cruz

Law360 (August 5, 2022, 3:12 PM EDT) -- Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP announced Thursday that it had hired a veteran attorney with over 20 years of experience representing motor vehicle manufacturers and franchisors as a partner in its home base, Chicago.

Louis Chronowski joined Barack Ferrazzano on Monday after spending a little under a year with
Grogan Hesse & Uditsky PC. He told Law360 on Friday that he chose to join the firm because of its strong motor vehicle group and the expertise of its attorneys in areas relevant to his practice.

"Barack Ferrazzano has one of the preeminent practices in this area and I felt that it was the best platform for my clients," he said. "The benefit of the firm is that I'll have a number of partners who are specialists in various areas that affect motor vehicle manufacturers. Although I'm well-versed in all those areas, they can help me with those clients when they have particular needs."

Chronowski graduated from the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and his practice focuses on advising motor vehicle manufacturers on the different state laws that regulate how they engage with their franchisees, dealers or distributors.

"Every state has a law or a set of statutes that governs the relationship between motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers," he said. "It's unique in U.S. law from the standpoint that the dealers have many rights granted to them by virtue of statutes beyond what is typically in a dealer agreement."

Chronowski has represented carmakers in a wide range of disputes, including manufacturer dealer franchisor-franchisee, real estate, construction, intellectual property, business torts, complex contracts, trade secrets and restrictive covenants.

"It's very challenging because motor vehicle manufacturers are businesses trying to grow like any other corporation in the country, but they have to be cognizant of these state dealer laws," he said." It requires you to be strategic about the advice you give your clients without running afoul of the regulatory schemes in a particular state."

Chronowski said one of the biggest challenges his motor vehicle clients will be facing in the upcoming years is the push to develop electric vehicles and the state laws declaring that by a certain point in time, (for some states 2040), only new vehicles that have electric powered motors can be sold in those states.

"We're at a real inflection point because the manufacturers are confronted with big technology issues, and for the manufacturers I represent, revenue is expected to go down, in part because electric vehicles have less mechanical parts than a typical combustion engine," he said. "With the loss in traditional service revenue, there's going to be a lot of give and take between manufacturers and dealers as they confront this new era."

Chronowski also spent nearly 20 years practicing at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and two and a half years with Dykema Gossett PLLC.

"He is a seasoned commercial litigator and strategic adviser for many motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors across the industry, including manufacturers and distributors of passenger vehicles, heavy- and light-duty trucks and recreational vehicles," group co-chair Owen Smith said in a statement. "His knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to the group."

Barack Ferrazzano hired securities partner Michael Tomczyk in July, and earlier in the year, a number of associates joined the firm in areas such as real estate, securities and litigation. Barack Ferrazzano currently has over 100 attorneys across its three offices in Chicago, Minneapolis and Waco, Texas.

--Editing by Karin Roberts.

To read more on Law360's feature, click here: https://www.law360.com/pulse/articles/1518364/barack-ferrazzano-hires-experienced-motor-vehicles-partner

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