The Brief No. 13: High Times for Cannabis Lawyers

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November 7, 2018

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Opportunities Abound in Cannabis Law

On Thursday, two Colorado homeowners lost a federal jury case against their neighbor who ran a home-based marijuana business. The cannabis industry was closely watching this case as more homeowners and businesses face lawsuits charging violations of federal anti-racketeering laws for growing marijuana—even in states where it is recreationally legal.

Our take? It’s high time to get in on the emerging, billion-dollar cannabis industry. From employment litigation to environmental compliance, the cannabis industry touches on every area of law. Read on to learn more about ground floor opportunities in cannabis law—and insights from those who are already practicing.


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Boundless Potential: Immigration was a hot topic in yesterday’s midterms, and one legal services startup is out to change how immigrants apply for green cards. Boundless, a service that helps applicants fill out their applications online for $750, is less than typical lawyer fees of $2,000 to $5,000. Over 7,000 people a month begin their applications on the site, and the company has a 100% success rate once applicants reach the interview stage of the process.

Have We Leaned In yet? McKinsey just released its 2018 study on Women in the Workplace with, and the verdict is: not much has changed since they began the study four years ago. Though women ask for promotions at similar rates as men, they are far less likely to get them, and though they are “staying at their jobs, toughing it out and raising their hands for pay hikes and promotions—all that Lean In stuff—they’re just treading water,” writes Vivia Chen of Law Careerist. Though many who work in legal upper management say diversity is important, the numbers don’t lie.

No Poach, No Foul: “No poach” agreements, the practice where companies agree not to recruit each other’s employees, are facing scrutiny from the Justice Department and state enforcement agencies for suppressing wages and limiting employee advancement. Though most recent litigation has been limited to the fast-food industry, employment lawyers warn that deals between competitors in other industries could be at risk. Other franchises, and even tech companies, could be next.

L.A. Law: According to a new report from CBRE, Los Angeles is ranked second in the nation for growth of its lawyer population, thanks to the increasing legal needs of the tech, media, and entertainment industries, and its having a positive impact on the commercial real estate market. Kevin Bender, EVP at CBRE, notes that region’s legal segment has evolved from traditional corporate lawyers into experts who are bringing more to the table than just legal knowledge—they’re bringing deep technical and media expertise to their clients as well.


The Innovation Narrative: Casetext hosts Jordan Grotzinger, a shareholder and Co-Chair of the Los Angeles Litigation Practice at Greenberg Traurig, on The Modern Lawyer. Jordan has spent an increasing amount of time driving innovation and modernization at the firm and describes in detail what an “innovation narrative” means at a large firm. “If clients perceive us as immersed in the business, and aligned with the business, and not just selling units of hours,” he says, “I firmly believe we’ll get more, and more meaningful work.”

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