Holland & Hart taps Greenspoon practice leader for new cannabis group

REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
  • Firm calls Rachel Gillette a cannabis law "pioneer"
  • Gillette says clients will get a bigger platform for the same rates

(Reuters) - Almost a decade after recreational marijuana was legalized in its home state, Denver-based Holland & Hart is launching a cannabis industry group with a team of four lawyers from Miami's Greenspoon Marder, including one of the first U.S. lawyers to dedicate her practice to cannabis law, the firm said Tuesday.

Rachel Gillette joins Holland & Hart as a partner in its Denver office, bringing with her three associates — Stuart Knight, Allen Paxton, and Nabil Rodriguez, the firm said. Gillette chaired the cannabis law group at Greenspoon Marder.

Holland & Hart chair Chris Balch described Gillette as a "pioneer in the field of cannabis law" in a statement.

With marijuana already legal in several states, and as the federal government and a number of additional states contemplate legalization, Gillette said the time was right to join a law firm with a larger platform.

"I thought it was a very good fit with my group," Gillette said. "Holland & Hart is a little bit bigger than Greenspoon Marder. I thought it was sort of the next step."

Gillette noted that she'll able to charge the same rates at Holland & Hart as she did Greenspoon, which is important for her clients. Holland & Hart's geographic footprint — 12 offices spread across the western United States, plus one in Washington, D.C. — overlaps with her client base, she added.

She also cited the strength of Holland & Hart's corporate, tax, and food and beverage practices, the latter of which is "very compatible with cannabis."

"The cannabis industry touches almost every area of practice in law, because they're a business like any other business. The challenge for them is they have a regulatory framework they have to exist within, and it varies from state to state," Gillette said.

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David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at d.thomas@thomsonreuters.com and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.