Extending its litigation expertise to a burgeoning U.S. industry, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan announced the formation of its Cannabis Litigation Practice Group today, catering to the needs of cannabis industry players involved in commercial disputes. Robert J. Becher, a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, will serve as Chair of the group, which includes over a dozen partners across six different offices.
“We are the world’s top litigation firm, and we have always been at the forefront of disputes involving emerging and innovative industries,” said Quinn Emanuel founder John B. Quinn. “It is only natural for the firm to establish itself as the preeminent expert in this field.”
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have now legalized cannabis for adult recreational use; another 33 states permit medical use of cannabis in varying degrees and circumstances. Last year, the sector generated an estimated $10.4 billion and created 250,000 jobs; it is expected to attract $16 billion in investment this year in North America.
“We are uniquely positioned to become the leader in high-stakes, bet-the-company litigation for this industry. The creation of this group solidifies our commitment to our cannabis industry clients and positions us to stay on pace with this rapidly growing industry,” Becher said. “Not surprisingly, the tremendous growth and success of the cannabis industry has been accompanied by an uptick in litigation, and we will continue to be the fiercest advocates for our clients in this space,” Becher added.
Quinn Emanuel is already representing clients in multiple high-stakes cannabis cases, including retailers, private equity firms, CEOs, corporate board members and a pharmaceutical company.
Quinn Emanuel mourns the loss of one of its name partners, Bill Urquhart. Bill joined the firm 31 years ago when it was just a few lawyers in downtown Los Angeles. Bill was a visionary and helped lead a transformation of the firm from a small litigation boutique to the largest and most successful litigation firm in the world, with over 800 lawyers in 23 offices on four continents.
In his legal practice, Bill was a sage counselor and trusted advisor for both plaintiffs and defendants, and for numerous Fortune 100 companies in their most important disputes — matters that usually involved tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars. Over the years he advised IBM, Hughes, Johnson Controls, CNA, Nokia and Qualcomm, among many many others.
For the many people at the firm who were fortunate to know Bill, he was more than a visionary partner and excellent lawyer, he was also a friend, who lived and loved life. He was loved and will be missed.
He leaves behind his wife Mary and 6 children, and our thoughts are with them in this time of grief.