Sheppard Mullin Bets on Cannabis With New 70-Lawyer Practice Group
Practice leader Whitney Hodges said the firm, with 40 cannabis clients already, is taking a “boots-on-the-ground” approach.
Los Angeles-based Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton is going in big on cannabis law, forming a team that aims to bring specialties ranging from regulation to real estate and tax under one roof for clients that may need them all.
The firm said it is assigning 70 attorneys from across 12 of the firm’s offices to create one of the largest cannabis practices in the country. The practice is being run by San Diego real estate partner Whitney Hodges.
“We really have a boots-on-the-ground approach to this,” Hodges said. “We have corporate, labor, real estate and other areas ready.”
Hodges acknowledged that Sheppard Mullin isn’t the first big firm (and won’t be the last) to announce its formal arrival on the cannabis scene. But she said the size of the group—dozens of lawyers, in a dozen offices, with 40 active cannabis clients already—differentiates the practice from others.
There shouldn’t be a shortage of work. Although there is a lot of money flowing through the cannabis industry, regulatory, banking, real estate and IP issues cause consistent problems for any business involved in the growth, distribution, marketing and even legal advisory elements of the trade. Even maintaining a bank account can be difficult for entities involved in the industry.
Federal regulations differ from state regulations, which differ from municipal laws. Even in states like California, where recreational legalization passed with broad support, local laws vary from city to city and wreak havoc on companies attempting to do business in them.
Published: June 05, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News