Manatt opens cannabis consulting practice

16 July 2019 Consulting.us

Professional services firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has launched a new practice which combines legal and consulting professionals from multiple industries to offer holistic counsel on cannabis and CBD issues.

Traditionally identified as a law firm, Manatt now bills itself as a multidisciplinary, integrated professional services firm. Countering the consultancy push into the legal sphere, law firms are themselves branching out into non-legal advisory, developing business consulting capabilities that complement their traditional legal offerings.

Manatt in 2013 launched a digital practice to offer one-stop legal and business consulting for clients in digital media, entertainment, and advertising. Now, the Los Angeles-based firm has created a cannabis and CBD practice, which will span banking, government and regulatory, digital and technology, land use, litigation, and a number of other practice areas.

Real estate partner Anita Sabine will lead the 45-person practice, which includes legal and consulting professionals.

Manatt opens cannabis consulting practice

“This team epitomizes the market-leading strength of Manatt’s hybridized model,” Donna L. Wilson, Manatt’s CEO and managing partner, said. “Each member of the team has been leading the way in their respective industries. By officially structuring a practice where lawyers and consultants from every sector can come together, we can continue to enhance our collaboration with clients to realize solutions to intricate and novel challenges.”

The firm has been advising and representing clients on cannabis matters for nearly decade, working on issues ranging from regulatory challenges to real estate deals.

Some big firms are wary of working with state-legal businesses due to cannabis’ current federal illegality. However, major US law firms like Duane Morris, Baker Botts, and Davis Wright Tremaine have either launched dedicated practices, expanded their work, or acknowledged advising clients in the cannabis space.

Manatt’s formal practice will continue assisting clients with cannabis industry–related challenges, including drafting regulations and voter initiatives, representing banks in their relationships with cannabis businesses, and advising online cannabis platforms.

“We are thrilled to continue helping organizations from virtually every sector find creative, innovative ways to help clients proactively and strategically influence how cannabis regulations and markets develop,” Sabine said. “As we have seen, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this industry, and our stellar roster of cross-disciplinary lawyers and consultants is perfectly placed to help clients navigate the evolving legal, regulatory, and business issues that are unique to the cannabis industry.”

Founded in 1965, Manatt has 900 employees – including more than 450 attorneys – across 10 US offices.


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