Alex Konigsberg R.I.P.

Written by  //  August 10, 2010  //  Absent Friends  //  No comments

Alex Konigsberg, international franchising authority and founding partner of Lapointe Rosenstein, dies at 72

One of Canada’s leading legal authorities on international franchising has died.

Alex Konigsberg, a founding partner of the Montreal law firm Lapointe Rosenstein, now Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon LLP, died on Monday at the age of 72.

“He was one of the important pillars of our firm and contributed widely to its growth as much in Quebec as on the international scene,” Bruno Floriani, president of the firm’s strategic committee, said in an internal note to staff announcing the passing.

“It is a huge loss for Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melançon and especially for the lawyers and employees who worked closely alongside him on a daily basis during so many years,” said Floriani. “We will miss him greatly.”

Read a special tribute to Konigsberg posted by the firm on its website today here.

Konigsberg retired as partner eight years ago, but continued working as counsel at the firm and advised companies on international expansion as an independent consultant. He was chairman of the board of directors of Immunotec Inc., which also heralded his contribution to the company and mourned his passing in a statement today.

During his legal career, Konigsberg negotiated franchising agreements in more than 35 countries for both Canadian and U. S. companies. He wrote extensively on international commerce and franchising — including International Franchising, a leading book on the subject published in a third edition in 2008 — and lectured frequently abroad in at least 45 countries by his own count.

In addition to continuous speaking engagements around the globe, Konigsberg also sometimes advised governments and governmental organizations in developed and developing countries on entrepreneurship.

He was the only non-American asked to appear as an expert witness before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Small Business in its hearings on franchise legislation in 1990. In 1996, he was the only non-American to appear before the Federal Trade Commission in its workshop on the international application of the federal franchise rule.

Konigsberg originally hailed from Barbados, where he was part of a tiny Jewish community that had roots stretching back to the 1700s. (Read some historical details here.)

He came to Montreal to attend McGill University, where he studied both economics and law, earning a B.A. from Concordia University in between.

While at McGill he was managing editor of the McGill Law Journal and president of the Law Undergraduate Society. He lectured there in corporate law and on international commercial transactions at the Université de Montréal law faculty.

Late in his career, he preferred to deflect any attention on franchising activities to younger members of the firm.

He sometimes tempered his passion for the business that took him to so many places around the world with a dose of humour or self-deprecation.

“I judge my success on the least amount of work that I do,” he quipped at one gathering as recently as this past June.

The funeral service for Konigsberg will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11, at 11 a.m. See further details here.

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