Marijuana Business Magazine January 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | January 2020 94 local legal counsel there, according to Hoban. The firm teams with attorneys who understand and are involved with the cannabis industry on some level but also are aware of the growth opportunities as well as any business- or government-related challenges. “We look for a one-, two- or three-person law office and arrange to do legal work with them on an inte- grative basis,” Hoban said. “The goal is to eventually convert these attor- neys into full-time cannabis attorneys under the HLG brand.” That process involves stages. When the volume or complexity of the work with that attorney reaches a certain level and the attorney then demon- strates a desire to continue the relationship, Hoban suggests forming a joint venture. The attorney works for Hoban Law Group under specific yet flexible financial terms when he or she agrees to a contractual relationship, according to the firm. If the joint venture yields consistent results, Hoban will ask that attorney or law firm to become a fully integrated legal partner, representing company in that region, Hoban said. Expanding Globally Hoban’s global expansion has accelerated over the past two years, in tandem with the growth in the international marijuana and hemp industries. In 2019, the firm partnered with attorneys in countries considered ripe for hemp and marijuana legal services, including China, the Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, South Africa and South Korea. Those partnerships are at different stages of development. The cannabis-related legal work is performed under the Hoban Law Group name. Providing legal services in a new jurisdiction through a partnership is a primary factor determining where the firm establishes an office, Hoban said. “We do not expand for the sake of expansion,” he added. “Our objective is to provide seamless service to our clients in new jurisdictions.” Attorneys who are fluent in lan- guages other than English assist with communications between the firm and foreign clients when it’s neces- sary to overcome language barriers. The local source also helps the firm navigate legal and cultural hurdles in a jurisdiction. For example, some countries have widely different attitudes toward controlled substances and drugs, and those differences must be managed carefully. Moreover, relationships can be key in some nations, and “who you know” can play a major role in cannabis reform efforts. Expanding at Home Hoban’s expansion efforts also include offices stateside. Since setting up shop in Denver 10 years ago with the development of Colo- rado’s medical cannabis industry, the firm has established offices in Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ver- mont, Virginia, Washington state and Washington DC. The expansion has been accom- plished through different relation- ships with attorneys in each state, including the acquisition of an exist- ing practice. All the legal work is done under the HLG name. How does the firm decide which lawyers to do business with? “Repu- tation, integrity, professionalism and ... local connectivity,” Hoban said. The firm pores over a variety of factors when seeking out new lawyers in different markets, including cannabis industry legal experience and how well an attorney’s own expertise would mesh with that of Hoban Law Group. “It doesn’t do a law firm any good to partner with or acquire an office that is staffed with counsel unfamiliar with the cannabis industry,” Hoban said. “Those folks cannot possibly be effective.” Hoban Law Group is headquartered in downtown Denver with locations around the world. Courtesy Photo Business Strategies | Ancillary