Oregon: Co-Founder Of Emerge Law Group Leaves To Start Her Own Practice

10 August 2016

Margolis legal will be a Cannabis specific practice.

We asked Ms Margolis a few questions about her plans for the firm and her thoughts on the ever growing cannabis industry

Congratulations on launching your own practice in Portland Oregon. Previously you were at the Emerge Law firm in Portland. Can you outline your reasons for deciding to head out on your own and start  your own practice ?

I was one of the founders of Emerge Law group, after being on my own since 2007, and the firm was built on providing a certain type of service. (It’s not every day someone leaves a firm they helped start!) I decided to leave to go back to a smaller firm practice where I can really go deep with my clients. I still have a compliance team and a corporate team but we will be on-site at facilities more often, sit and have coffee with clients and the focus will be on a holistic comprehension of what a client is doing, where they are going and how we can be a good support system in getting them there.


Amy Margolis Principal of Margolis Legal

Will Margolis Legal be providing advice and services in Oregon alone or are you looking to develop relationships and clients in other states.

First and foremost Oregon needs to get up and running smoothly so that is where my focus is. I really enjoy the policy work and I think being so involved in the regulatory process is beneficial to my clients. Once Oregon works I can start to think about where synergy might be with other states. The nice thing about working in the cannabis industry is that you meet so many great people from across the country. You never know when you might make a good match with someone doing the same kind of work elsewhere.

Corporate work appears to be the firm’s strategy. Is this as a result of Oregon’s new rules on allowing inward investment into the state’s marijuana business environment ?

Compliance and corporate work are the primary focus because that’s what people need right now. We have a great securities lawyer because people are taking investment dollars and it is so important to do that right. We also focus on corporate work because clients need to have corporate attorney who understand the challenges and are creative in ways to meet those challenges.

Will you be providing advice on Oregon’s recent legislation on state banking issues and the marijuana industry?

 I talk about banking all the time. We are hoping more banks come on line. But, until they do, I will keep leading lobbying trips to DC. We did two last year and it actually felt like we were making change.

With regard to licensing issues within Oregon, we note that you will be providing services to help walk business through OLCC & OHA processes. Will the firm be looking over time to provide automated and tech workflow solutions to the marijuana industry now the majority of the legislation is now bedded down?

That’s a great question. I am always interested in exploring strategic partnerships and this would be one of those opportunities. After Oregon stabilizes we will begin to look at and address workflow, inefficiencies and where bottlenecks are and see where a lawyer might fit into that solution.

Californian residents will be voting on AUMA in November. With an economy almost the size of France’s and the enormous opportunities in the industry was this a factor in deciding to set up Margolis Legal ?  and how do you think the industry landscape will change if Californians vote in the affirmative

It is going to be a long time until we know how California shakes out. I predict five years until they are close to where we are now. I am actually interested in other states- Florida, Arizona, and others- that might come online sooner. I love to think about what the landscape will look like as states fall and clients become multi-state businesses.

Medical marijuana legalization is slowly coming into play in different jurisdictions worldwide . Do you think legal professionals in Oregon have a role to play internationally with the experience of the state’s recreational and medical programs ?

I am speaking in BC in just a month so I absolutely do. The fact that we are seeing a worldwide sea change is amazing and it is even more amazing that the community is small enough that we can communicate with each other, share ideas and build something.  

Finally, as the industry grows we are beginning to see boutique law firms from around the country develop legal cannabis practices and firms like Florida’s Greenspoon Marder open offices in CO, NV & CA. As yet the American Lawyer 100 firms are still standing on the bylines. What are your thoughts on their inevitable move into the market? In your opinion will they wait for progress in Washington DC or do you see them in 2017 starting satellite practices in legalized states?

It is inevitable that big firms are going to hop into this market, just like big investors are. I think if Clinton wins we are going to see many of those firms pull the trigger. And, that is a particular type of service that some people are looking for. What makes my firm different is that we have long standing relationships and deep industry knowledge. While we can do your corporate documents and help you acquire another business, we also understand how a light dep greenhouse works and the sacrifices many people made to get us to this point. It’s just a different perspective. 

Margolis Legal can be found at  http://www.margolislegal.com

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