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Community Highlights: Meet Laura Bianchi of Bianchi & Brandt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Bianchi.

Hi Laura, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I began my journey primarily as a corporate attorney, focused on business law, transactions, mergers, and acquisitions. In 2010 when medical marijuana passed, I began assisting clients in this very new realm of legal practice. I initially assisted in the rulemaking process, providing comments and suggestions on behalf of clients. From there, my career continued to evolve alongside the ever-changing cannabis industry. As a relatively new industry without precedent or a clear path forward, so much of its development is based within the contracts. My job and end goal from the start was really to determine and develop strategies and processes that were in compliance with the program while addressing the unique hurdles and complications of this nascent industry. Over time my knowledge, experience, and of course, expertise grew and developed, as did my practice, which led me to start my own firm with my partner, Justin Brandt. We have an incredible team of attorneys and support staff who possess an expansive depth of knowledge and expertise in the cannabis industry and beyond. Our firm provides not only essential legal advice but strategic guidance and support from a business, operational, and compliance perspective. At the end of the day, Bianchi & Brandt strives to truly provide our clients with a comprehensive suite of services that meets all of their business and legal needs while continuing to advocate for the smart and responsible development of the industry as a whole.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Of course not! If the road was smooth and easy, everyone would do it. I have certainly dealt with adversity, setbacks, and difficulties throughout my life, but I have always taken those situations as an opportunity to make me stronger, hungrier, and even more determined to succeed. I earned my dream job before even graduating from law school, only to have the greater recession of our generation occur six months post-graduation. Like most industries, legal professionals felt the economic impact of the recession. There was no time to panic, and I had to pivot and look to other areas of the law that would exist even in bad times. That experience gave me an appreciation for the unknown and helped me begin to strengthen my ability to remain calm and even begin to think and process strategically, amidst uncertainty and chaos. I also learned that while I had to remain vigilant in exceeding my goals, I had to often be flexible in the path to achieving them. I took these invaluable lessons into the burgeoning business of cannabis and began the process of paving a new path through the ever-evolving landscape of the industry. But this endeavor wasn’t easy: initially, even the State Bar was warning attorneys that we could face disbarment if we advised clients in the cannabis industry. I disagreed with that perspective and thought where there would be a greater need for skilled legal counsel then in an industry that was not only new but had only recently become legal and remained fraught with uncertainty, obstacles, and complications. I was also thrilled by the thought that not only was I building my own career, but I was part of something bigger, really part of history in the making. That realization made every challenge and every sacrifice well worth it. Fast forward to the launch of Bianchi & Brandt. Just a few months later, the world collapsed under COVID. But again, Justin and I shared that ability and commitment to pivot when necessary, and in response, our firm has continued to grow exponentially, allowing us to be wildly successful even amidst a pandemic. I know it may sound cliché, but the fact is growth in any area of our life is uncomfortable. To evolve means there is pressure and sometimes even pain, but only through those processes do we find our strength, the depth of our capabilities, our purpose and our happiness. I have always been committed to building the life I wanted, and I have been blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who have supported me, helped me, cheered me on, and allowed me to be unapologetically me. And that has allowed me, as well as Bianchi & Brandt, to soar.

As you know, we’re big fans of Bianchi & Brandt. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Bianchi & Brandt provides a much greater range of services and assistance than your typical law firm. Utilizing a holistic top-down approach, rooted in real-world experience, we provide strategic advice and guidance from a perspective that is uniquely suited to meet each client’s individualized goals and expectations. We provide hands-on assistance through every stage of development, including startup, operations, expansion and exit. We also treat our clients’ businesses with the same level of passion and commitment as our own. We assist our clients in Arizona as well as throughout the US in a wide range of traditional industries, as well as cannabis and hemp. We are constantly working to find new ways to meet the evolving, shifting, and expanding needs of our clients. We simply never standstill.

Any big plans?
With the passage of the Smart & Safe Act, of course, the next month or so will include a significant focus on the AZDHS rulemaking process for the recreational cannabis program. In addition to assisting clients with the necessary planning, preparation, submittal, and acquisition of licenses, as well as the start of the recreational cannabis industry in Arizona. Bianchi & Brandt is doing incredible things, so get ready for some exciting announcements in 2021, including a new and larger office to fit our expanding team of professionals. Most importantly, you can expect us to continue our commitment to staying ahead of the curve as we constantly work to find new ways to advise, partner and assist our clients in Arizona and throughout the U.S. Because the world is changing in how it interacts with lawyers — Bianchi & Brandt is always striving to be innovative and personable while serving clients on all fronts. As anyone who knows me is aware, I am incredibly passionate about animals and use my legal expertise to help animals in need whenever I can. My goal one day is to start a non-profit that creates homes staffed by dedicated, loving, and committed adults who provide a family atmosphere for not only foster children but foster animals as well. Far too often the neglect, abuse, and isolation they were removed from continues into foster care. So what better way to teach a child unconditional love, empathy, and forgiveness than through the unconditional love only an animal can give. And of course, what better way to provide loving, caring, and stable homes for animals left in the shelter system. It’s something I have wanted to create for years and one day, I will.

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Laura Bianchi

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