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A Bunch of Wine-y Lawyers

How do I get a job like this, at once full-bodied and complex? The North Bay Business Journal, a newspaper located in the heart of California's wine country, has published its first-ever listing of "Who’s Who in Wine Law." The more than two dozen attorneys, it explains, "represent a range of specialization and a deep appreciation of wine making, often extending to their own vineyards and vintages." In other words, some of these folks toil not only the vineyards of law practice, but in actual vineyards.

Take Robert Anderson, for example. He long ago left a job at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York to return to his native state, where he became a partner with the Santa Rosa firm Lanahan & Reilley. Now, his practice deals with licensing and contracts involving grape purchases, vineyard management and the purchase and sale of wineries. When he is done lawyering for the day, he returns home to his own winery, Cole Bailey Vineyards, which he founded in 1998 and named after his son who was born the same year.

Another on the list is Robert Quail, a partner with Clement, Fitzpatrick & Kenworthy in Santa Rosa. He worked nearly a decade as an in-house lawyer for a large Sonoma Valley winery before joining Clement in 2003. He also makes wine in his free time, although not on a commercial scale. His extracurricular interest in wine production has earned him three medals for amateur winemaking at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

For Jan Gabrielson Tansil, a partner with Spaulding, McCullough & Tansil in Santa Rosa, California's wine country reminds her of the place she grew up in rural Minnesota. "The clients I work with very much remind me of the people I grew up with in Minnesota -- down to earth, practical, able to see a bigger picture with a long-term view, interested in sustainability,” she told the Business Journal. Not to mention, she adds, "And I love wine." She is not one who makes wine in her spare time, but she does farm a five-acre apple orchard with her husband and two teenage daughters.

The Business Journal has more than two-dozen such stories. All will leave you convinced that none of these wine lawyers have any sour grapes about their choice of career. We can only lift a glass as a toast to their success!

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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