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David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions


by Laurence Colletti

David LatWe recently caught up with David Lat, founder and managing editor for Above The Law, while he was in Denver presenting at an event for the Colorado Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. The event was titled ‘Above the Law, Underneath Their Robes, and Everything In Between: David Lat’s Supreme Ambitions’. It was in one part about David’s ambitious and unorthodox career path and in another part about the series of events and personalities that helped him get to where he is today.

With a restaurant recommendation from Kelsey Johnson, our online marketing coordinator, I invited David for an interview and he agreed. We sat in a noisy booth at the Appaloosa Grill at the corner of 16th and Welton. I asked him a series of questions about his new book, “Supreme Ambitions”, and the correlations it has to his real life. For those who have not read it, David’s book is a fictional account about Audrey Coyne, a young lawyer-to-be who graduated Yale Law School with a desire to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court. The storyline is about friendship, morality, and the cost of ambition.

If you reminisce about your days in law school, studying for the Bar, or your time as a law clerk, I think you will enjoy this interview. We talk about the durability of friendship in legal circles, the importance of positive family role models, and relationships vs. personal achievements. Tune in to hear David talk about life, loss, and his next exciting frontier.

Above The Law’s Marijuana Law Reception


by Laurence Colletti

Marijuana Symbol

Despite being illegal under federal law nationwide, there is rapid growth of marijuana businesses in states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. With varying degrees of marijuana licensing at the state level, isn’t there a conflict between federal and state laws? Where does that leave growers and sellers criminally?

What’s even more confusing is that the marijuana industry is attracting attorneys who help clients navigate criminal codes and regulatory bodies in what is still a crime under federal law. Does that mean these lawyers are breaking the law and the oaths they swore to their respective state bars? If you’ve ever wondered about these issues, you should listen to this podcast:

Moderated by Above The Law editor Staci Zaretsky and hosted at Legal Talk Network headquarters in Denver, Colorado, this Q&A podcasting event features experts like Hilary Bricken from Harris Moure’s Canna Law Group, Tom Downey from Ireland Stapleton, Professor Sam Kamin from University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and Brian Ruden who owns Starbuds, Tree of Wellness, and Altermeds.

Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky became an editor for Above the Law in June 2011. Her writing has appeared in other legal publications, such as Judgepedia, Lawyerist, and Ms. JD. She has been featured on various television and radio programs, including CNBC’s Power Lunch, CBS Radio News, BBC Radio, CLTV Chicago, HuffPost Live, TF1 TV France, Chicago Public Radio, and Civil Discourse Now.

Hilary BrickenHilary Bricken is a litigator who joined Harris Moure in 2010 where she represents startups, entrepreneurs, and companies in all stages of their development. She has been named deal maker of the year by the Puget Sound Business Journal and is a contributor to Al Jazeera America, CNN, Fox News, and the New York Times

Tom DowneyTom Downey is a director and attorney at Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC where he represents primarily liquor and marijuana businesses. Prior to that he led Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses where he  redrafted Denver’s policies and procedures for liquor licensing and wrote the original policies and procedures for Denver’s recreational marijuana licenses.

Professor Sam KaminProfessor Sam Kamin is the Vicente Sederberg Professor of Marijuana Law and Policy at University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law where he teaches ‘Representing the Marijuana Law Client’. His areas of research include criminal procedure, death penalty jurisprudence, federal courts, and constitutional remedies.

Brian RudenBrian Ruden is an attorney who owns three dispensaries in Colorado called Starbuds, Tree of Wellness, and Altermeds. He has spent many years researching growing techniques and testing strains to deliver high quality medical and recreational marijuana products. Prior to entering the marijuana business in 2010, Brian was a litigator turned tax resolution expert.