Claudia Koeppel Levitas serves chief legal officer, general counsel and assistant secretary to Hooters of America LLC, a franchiser and operator of 430 domestic and international restaurants.
An integral part of the Hooters executive management team, she is responsible for all legal matters including negotiation and preparation of franchise documents, litigation management, labor and employment issues, and regulatory compliance.
Levitas was chief administrative officer and general counsel for Huddle House from 1995 until 2011, when she joined Hooters. Earlier, she was an associate at Ginsburg, Feldman and Bress, chartered in Washington, D.C.
Levitas is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Bar Association-Business Law Section and Forum on Franchising.
She is a 1990 graduate of George Washington University, National Law Center. She is married to Kevin Levitas, who is also an attorney and is the third generation in his family's chemical company, Hill Manufacturing Co., based in Atlanta. He served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010. They have been married for 18 years and have two children, Michael, 15, and Allison, 13, and two dogs.
She says that her day-to-day "hobbies" mostly involve chasing her kids around on the weekends or evenings with their sporting activities (her son plays soccer and her daughter plays soccer and softball). She also volunteers when she is able at Paideia, her children's school.
Levitas loves to ski and goes a couple of times per year. Other than that, she "loves to shoot (just targets, never animals). I work out regularly but not sure I'd call that a hobby … more like a necessity as I age."
Daily Report: Tell us about your department and your role.
Claudia Koeppel Levitas: The legal department handles domestic and international franchising work, oversees litigation matters, prepares initial responses to EEOC and DOL inquiries, reviews contracts and handles licensing for our company restaurants (liquor, business, health, etc).
Domestically, we oversee all legal matters for the nearly 200 company-owned restaurants in 18 states with approximately 10,000 employees. Internationally, we work closely with outside counsel to develop disclosure documents for the international side of our business, which a fast-growing part of the business.
The legal department works closely with our human resources department to follow the best practices and proactively address the challenges affecting our industry.
We currently have two attorneys, one paralegal, and two administrative assistants.