Jun 02, 2019
Jun 02, 2019
By Ahtossa Fullerton
What is your practice area?
My practice area is general corporate law with a specialty in advising direct operators, service providers, and investors in the cannabis industry.
Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
Becoming a lawyer wasn’t really on my radar until I took a class in college called “Supreme Court Issues.” The curriculum required us to draft a brief and then present oral arguments on one of the cases that was then before the Court. I played a lot of sports growing up and I really enjoyed the competitive aspect, as well as the camaraderie forged, in presenting your client’s case.
Why do you live in Marin?
My wife and I met in Chicago, where we were both working at the time. During one of the coldest winters that I could remember, she was pregnant with our first child. She grew up in Marin and one day after I spent hours shoveling our car out of a parking spot, she asked if I’d like to move to California. Case closed.
What do you love to do when you’re not busy practicing law?
When I’m not working, I’m usually running around coaching either my daughter's (8 years old) or my son’s (6 years old) sports teams. So far, I’ve got baseball, softball, soccer, and flag football under my belt – we like to keep the kids, and ourselves, busy. My son just entered kindergarten, which is great because he’s finally at the same school as his sister, who’s in second grade. My wife and I were counting down the days of having one drop-off and pick-up for both kids and we’re going to cherish it while it lasts.
If you could pursue any other career besides law, what would it be and why?
If I could pursue any career besides law, I would probably own and operate a restaurant (with a good beer selection!) I know the success rate for restaurants is probably lower than the passage rate for the California bar exam, but my grandfather and two of my uncles owned restaurants and I would work at all of them when I was growing up. Perhaps I have fond memories and unrealistic expectations because they were usually summer jobs!
Why did you join MCBA?
I joined the MCBA because I wanted to be more engaged with Marin’s legal community. At the time, I was working in San Francisco and I didn’t feel professionally connected to Marin. As someone who didn’t grow up in the Bay Area (born and raised in New York City), I didn’t really have many connections to Marin, and I thought the MCBA would be great way to broaden my network and increase my community involvement – which it has!
Why did you become a Director?
I decided to join the MCBA’s Board of Directors because I wanted to be a stakeholder and play an active role in shaping Marin’s legal community. Until I’m lucky enough to retire in Kauai (fingers crossed!), my family and I are firmly entrenched in Marin, and it’s important to me to be connected to such a fantastic civic-minded organization. My mother worked for a number of non-profit organizations and her commitment to helping others has definitely inspired me and guides my commitment to the MCBA and Marin.
Describe how your work is related to racial justice.
It’s no secret that the war on drugs has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. What we’re seeing now, after the legalization of cannabis with Proposition 64, is a concerted effort by many of the state’s biggest cities to rectify that impact. Whether through cannabis social equity programs – local ordinances drafted so that people and communities that were hit hardest by the uneven application of cannabis regulations can participate in this new economy – or through automatic expungement of cannabis convictions, the cannabis industry and local governments are taking steps towards social justice.
If you had to pick a single highlight of your career, what would it be?
It’s hard to pick a highlight but if I had to, I would say it was winning my first bench trial many years ago back in Chicago. Although it was originally the competitive aspect of arguing cases that attracted me to the law, I find the collaborative aspect of helping clients with their business needs to be more rewarding, both personally and professionally.