By Quentin Collins, McKinney 3L
Local law students joined four area attorneys on January 25 to discuss the alcoholic beverage and hospitality industry and the law practice that surrounds it. We were excited to have a number of perspectives represented including private practitioners, full-time owners/operators and those who do a little bit of both.
Davey Neal of Clark Quinn Moses Scott & Grahn LLP explained how Indiana regulates alcoholic beverage permitting and how the acts of patrons can put a bar owner’s license in jeopardy. Neal further explained the attorney’s role in assisting a bar owner by helping the owner navigate the administrative process, maintain compliance with all laws and regulations and effectively addressing any problematic scenarios that can arise. Lewis Wagner LLP attorney Brandon Ehrie expanded on Neal’s comments and explained how he handles dram shop and premises liability cases for bar owners. Both attorneys agreed that cautionary hiring practices and preventing overserving help prevent issues from arising.
Trevor Belden, a Faegre Baker Daniels LLP attorney practicing primarily in finance, additionally offered his insight as an attorney and owner/operator of Ball and Biscuit, a local craft cocktail hotspot. Belden echoed the other panelists' comments on the importance of hiring reliable staff with the integrity and confidence to effectively handle the unique issues that can arise in a bar setting and further emphasized how bar owners can create an atmosphere that does not lend itself to overconsumption. Black Acre Brewing Company owner/operator Justin Miller agreed on the importance of maintaining an atmosphere that allows guests to responsibly enjoy their selection of beers (you may find a familiar Black Acre brew or two in Justice Livingston’s famous Pierson v. Post dissent!). Miller also offered his perspective as a manufacturer and distributor noting the distinct responsibilities that come with each role.
Finally, in terms of general practice pointers, all of the panelists agreed on this: the value of saying “yes” and accepting opportunities for development. The panel further emphasized that many opportunities may not show their value initially but, by saying yes, you can put yourself on a path to greater feats. Additionally, the attorneys noted the importance of not assuming that your supervising attorney will review your work product and, rather, suggest students act as the supervising attorney is the client to prevent complacency. A final piece of advice from the practitioners was to encourage students to identify issues other than the ones assigned and to propose solutions—even if it ends up being insignificant, it still shows a commitment to practice and a desire to learn.
Be sure to keep an eye out in the coming weeks as we prepare for additional Breakfast with the Bar opportunities! You can register for the next event, Breakfast with the Bar: Legalities of Hosting Major Events in Indy on March 1, here!
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