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Riley Lagesen, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Global Restaurant Industry Group, serves as lead counsel to many of the nation’s most well-known restaurant brands and culinary talent. Riley’s passion for the restaurant industry comes from his many years as a restaurant employee, and later, a restaurant owner, in Los Angeles. He saw an opportunity for law firms to better serve restaurant industry clients, and has dedicated his career to supporting both clients and the restaurant industry.

Ranked and recognized in the restaurant industry as a leading legal and business advisor, Riley has deep restaurant finance and development experience, enabling him to help clients develop and execute up growth strategies. He is also well-connected in restaurant and food policy circles, leading efforts to create greater public access to real food, among other things.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Riley co-founded the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF) with his long-time client Chef Guy Fieri, which raised approximately $23 million and provided over 40,000 grants to impacted restaurant employees. In recognition of this work, Riley was selected as by the National Law Journal as a 2020 Crisis Leadership Trailblazer. Riley also founded and created Restaurant High, a popular not-for-profit and invitation only business, leadership and advocacy summit that attracts leading restaurant minds from around the country.

Concentrations

  • Restaurant finance, mergers and acquisitions (including both concept and investor-side representation)
  • Restaurant development strategies (non-traditional venues (airports, casinos, hotels, resorts, university, corporate and healthcare campuses), ghost kitchens and virtual concepts)
  • International development
  • Franchising and licensing

Capabilities

Recognition & Leadership

  • Recognized, National Law Journal, “Crisis Leadership Trailblazer,” 2020
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, Corporate/M&A (Oregon), 2020-2021
    • Recognised Practitioner, Corporate/M&A (Oregon), 2016-2019
  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Leisure and Hospitality Law by Best Lawyers, 2019-2022
  • Listed, Nation’s Restaurant News, "The Power List: Reader Picks," 2015-2016, 2018 
  • Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, Board of Trustees, 2021-Present

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., cum laude, Lewis & Clark Law School, 2003
  • B.F.A., School of Cinema/Television, University of Southern California, 1993
Admissions
  • Oregon