Since Jay joined Emerge in March 2022, he has worked on transactions involving cannabis companies in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Shingle Springs, Goleta, Cathedral City, Palm Springs and San Rafael; including a California drone company with European operations, a New York digital agency’s acquisition of a Brazilian target’s assets, an Oregon/Canada hemp company, a California social media startup, a Los Angeles digital agency focused on queer audiences and a Virginia/California solar energy startup. He works on financings, mergers/acquisitions and day-to-day corporate work.
Jay was a College Scholar at Cornell University’s College of Arts & Sciences, triple-majoring in Government, History, and Philosophy. He stayed at Cornell for a masters in Africana Studies, during which he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. After graduating from Berkeley Law in 2011, his career began in Silicon Valley at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. At WSGR, he worked with small and growing tech companies as they negotiated investments, executive hiring/separation, equity incentives and exits. Jay also worked with the venture funds, angels, family offices, and banks who made and monitored investments in these companies. In 2016, Jay began focusing on cannabis businesses, first in Santa Rosa and San Francisco, and beginning in 2018, in Los Angeles and Southern California. He has worked with companies operating throughout California, including Humboldt, Sonoma, Napa, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernadino counties. These companies include the entire range of licensees: nursery, cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, testing, storefront retail, and non-storefront retail. Jay has worked on both sides of social equity companies in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles.
Jay was elected to the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Law Alumni Association in 2014, serving as a Board Officer since 2018. For several years, he led or co-led its Outreach Committee, responsible for linking underrepresented admits to alumni mentors during the admissions process.
Duncan joined Emerge in August 2021, leading Emerge’s expansion to New Jersey and New York. Over the past year and a half, Duncan has grown Emerge’s east coast business into a vibrant, full-service practice servicing cannabis applicants, investors, landlords, and others in the newly regulated cannabis markets. Duncan helps cannabis businesses of all types apply for and obtain state and local licenses throughout New Jersey and New York. This includes locating and financing their operations, and finding success in a highly regulated and rapidly changing industry.
Duncan’s practice also focuses on commercial real estate and general corporate law, representing entrepreneurs, lenders, borrowers, developers, funds and commercial landlords and tenants in a variety of business and commercial real estate transactions, including mortgage and mezzanine financing and syndications, joint ventures, commercial leasing, and acquisitions and dispositions of real property and debt.
Duncan has a long record of pro bono service, working with immigrants seeking asylum and reuniting mothers and children separated at the border, successfully petitioning the President to commute the sentence of a non-violent drug offender, and expunging the records of those convicted of marijuana crimes. Duncan serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Drugs and the Law Committee and on the committee’s Psychedelic Subcommittee. The Committee recently organized a free seminar series in conjunction with the City Bar Justice Center to educate aspiring New York cannabis entrepreneurs on a variety of pertinent legal startup topics.
Prior to joining Emerge, Duncan worked for seven years at two AM Law 100 firms in New York City, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and Haynes and Boone, LLP, in their commercial real estate groups after spending the first three years of his career in Portland, Oregon in a general corporate practice. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2010 with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law.
Join us in celebrating our newest shareholders! Congratulations Jay & Duncan!