Natalma “Tami” McKnew, JD, is an esteemed attorney with more than 40 years of distinction in franchise law, antitrust, intellectual property and trademark litigation. Her path to the legal field was not immediately apparent, as her first love was English literature – having initially earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts in linguistics and literature from the University of California Los Angeles. By the late 1970s, she was living in Boston with her husband, a doctoral candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and working at Massachusetts General Hospital. She decided to return to academia, but struggled to find a suitable doctoral program in the area. At a friend’s suggestion, Ms. McKnew completed the LSAT and, after scoring significantly higher than expected, she enrolled at Northeastern University School of Law, graduating with a JD in 1978.
In addition to franchise and intellectual property litigation, Ms. McKnew’s practice has included complex health care industry antitrust issues including insurer relationships, merging practices, contractual relationships, professional collaboration and facilities acquisitions. From 1995 until 2000, she was elected annually as the managing partner of the firm Leatherwood Walker Todd & Mann, a predecessor to Fox Rothschild. In 2018, she was a partner and pro bono supervisor at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, with which she remained as it merged with Fox Rothschild LLP. In her present posts, Ms. McKnew focuses on franchise formation, termination and relationship issues, antitrust litigation and trademark, patent and trade secret infringement, in addition to speaking and blogging extensively on franchise issues.
Honored with Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Peer Rating, Ms. McKnew has been extensively recognized as one of the country’s best franchise and antitrust attorneys, having been featured among the Franchise Times 2020 Legal Eagles, Greenville Business Magazine’s Legal Elite and Who’s Who Legal Franchise Lawyers. She has been further celebrated as a South Carolina Super Lawyer annually since 2012 and among the Best Lawyers in America for more than 10 consecutive years. Moreover, Ms. McKnew has been notably presented with a Women Making History Award, a Hearts in the Arts Award and the 2019 American Bar Association Forum on Franchising Diversity Award.
Ms. McKnew is a passionate environmentalist, and a dedicated supporter of community outreach and development programs. In this regard, she has served as chair and a member of the board of the South Carolina chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the past president of the Greenville County United Way (both for almost two decades), and is a founder of the Institute for Child Success, a nonprofit research and policy organization. Attributing her success to her good genes and hard work, Ms. McKnew is proud to have passed on a love for the law to her daughter, who has become a deputy district attorney.
In the coming years, Ms. McKnew looks forward to transitioning to a counsel role with Fox Rothschild LLP. As an advocate for her specialty and for the legal profession as a whole, she is affiliated with numerous professional organizations including the American Bar Association, where she has held leadership roles in the Forum on Franchising. Ms. McKnew is also a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association, of which she was a member of the founding board.