Posts Tagged:Wage and Hour

Home / Tag: Wage and Hour
image title

With the Oregon Legislature wrapping up the 2019 session, it’s a good time to look at some of the upcoming changes in employment laws and the steps employers should take to prepare.

Minimum Wage and Minimum Salary Increase

It’s time again for the annual increase in the Oregon minimum wage.  “Yay!” or “Boo!”, depending on whether you are on the receiving or the paying end!

In 2016, a new law took effect mandating preset annual increases to the minimum wage through 2023, after which increases are tied to inflation.  The law also replaced the single statewide minimum wage with a three-tier minimum wage based on geographic location.

Employees in the Portland metropolitan area urban growth boundary receive the highest minimum wage (currently $12.00/hour); employees in non-urban counties receive the lowest minimum wage (currently $10.50/hour); and employees in the rest of the state receive the “standard” minimum wage (currently $10.75/hour).

On July 1, 2019, the minimum wage and minimum salary increase for all Oregon employees.  The Portland area minimum wage increases to $12.50/hour; the standard rate increases to $11.25/ hour and the non-urban counties rate increases to $11.00/hour.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) website includes a chart summarizing the changes, a list of non-urban counties, and a map showing the geographic coverage of each rate.

The increase in the minimum wage triggers an increase in the minimum salary required to satisfy the “salary test” for the professional, executive, and administrative exemptions.  On July 1, 2019, the minimum salary will increase from $480 per week to $500 per week in the Portland area, but remains at the federal minimum of $455 per week in the rest of the state.

Actions Employers Should Take:

  1. Implement the new minimum wage and minimum salary on Monday, July 1, 2019. If July 1 falls in the middle of your established workweek or pay period, you must still implement the increases on July 1.  Discuss implementation with your payroll service and in-house payroll staff well before July 1.
  2. Post a new minimum wage poster. The poster can be downloaded for free from the BOLI website here.
  3. Revise policies and adjust wage and salary ranges on job descriptions and other documents to reflect the new minimum wage and minimum salary.

Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnancy

HB 2341, passed by the 2019 Oregon Legislature, requires employers with six or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation to female applicants and employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Prior to this law, protection arose from multiple inconsistent laws, causing confusion and uneven protection for women.  The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, makes it clear that all pregnant applicants and employees are entitled to the same protections and rights — at least women working for an employer with six or more employees.

Actions Employers Should Take:

  1. Post a notice. Employers must post a notice (still under development by BOLI), in a conspicuous and accessible location to inform employees of the protections and rights available under the law.
  2. Give notice directly to employees. Employers must provide a copy of the notice to new employees at the time of hire, to current employees by June 29, 2020, and to a pregnant employee no later than ten days after the employee tells the employer she is pregnant.
  3. Revise your policies. Update your employee handbook and other policies.
  4. Train your staff. Train staff involved in recruitment and hiring, as well as those administering employment policies, before January 1, 2020.

Enforcement of Noncompetition Agreements

HB 2992, effective January 1, 2020, imposes yet another condition to ensure the enforceability of a non-compete covenant.  Starting with noncompetition agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2020, employers must provide an employee with a signed, written copy of the noncompetition agreement no later than 30 days after the employee’s last day of work.  If an employer does not provide a copy by the deadline, the noncompete is unenforceable.

Actions Employers Should Take: 

  1. Update procedures for separation of employment. Update your termination checklist and procedures to include providing the departing employee with a copy of the signed noncompetition agreement. Optimally, the employer should provide the copy directly to the employee on their last day of work.  Otherwise, the copy must be delivered to the departing employee no later than 30 days after their last day of work.  If delivered, be sure to use a delivery method that provides proof of delivery.
  2. Train your staff. Staff responsible for separations from employment should be trained to always check a departing employee’s personnel file for a covenant not to compete, which may be a stand-alone agreement or part of an employment or confidentiality agreement.

Short Takes

SB 726 prohibits employers from entering into an agreement that prevents an employee from disclosing or discussing conduct that constitutes unlawful discrimination, including sexual assault.

SB 370 requires employers to give employees notice within three business days of receiving notice from a federal agency that it will be inspecting records relating to employee identity and authorization to work in the U.S.

SB 164 makes it an unlawful practice for an employer not to comply with the requirements of the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan.

Let us know if you have any questions or need assistance.  We’re here to help!


Continue Reading
image title

Effective July 1, 2017, Oregon’s minimum wage increases across the State. As you may recall, in 2016, Oregon adopted a three-tiered minimum wage: the Portland Metro rate, the Standard rate and the Nonurban Counties rate. Here’s how the rate is changing for each area:

Area Current Minimum Wage July 1, 2017 Minimum Wage
Portland Metro $9.75 $11.25
Standard $9.75 $10.25
Nonurban Counties $9.50 $10.00

Of course, with an increase in the minimum wage comes a corresponding increase in the overtime rate, which is one-and-a-half times the minimum wage, so $16.88 for the Portland Metro area, $15.38 for the Standard area and $15.00 for the Nonurban Counties.

The Portland Metro area consists of all areas within the Portland metropolitan area urban growth boundary. The Nonurban Counties are Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler Counties. The Standard rate applies to the remainder of the State. This Bureau of Labor and industries’ map illustrates the three-tiered minimum wage:

The rate changes apply to any work performed on or after July 1, 2017. This means the change may come in the middle of a pay period for some employees. An employer cannot delay the increase until the employee’s next pay period.

Employers should take whatever steps are necessary to prepare their payroll system for the minimum wage increase. Employers should also update the minimum wage poster that every employer must post in an area accessible to all employees. For employers using the all-in-one federal and state employment law poster, you can replace your current poster or simply change the minimum wage on that section of your current poster.

The new $11.25 Portland Metro minimum wage is one of the highest minimum wages in the country, but still well below Seattle’s $13.50 minimum wage for large employers. Oregon employers can rest easy after the July 1, 2017 increase. The next scheduled increase doesn’t come until July 1, 2018.

Continue Reading
image title

Major changes to the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees originally scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, are now on hold as the result of a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge in Texas.

As discussed in our November 7, 2016 blog post, the new rules would significantly increase the minimum salary requirements for the executive, professional and administrative employee exemptions (from $455/week to $913/week) and the minimum compensation for the highly compensated employee exemption (from $100,000/year to $134,004/year).

Twenty states joined together to challenge the new rules. On November 22, 2016, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the new rules from taking effect. Since it is only a preliminary injunction, the judge can change his ruling after further proceedings, but that is seen as unlikely. The Obama Administration can appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, if it chooses to do so, but no decision has been announced.

The ruling means employers do not have to make any changes to current salary levels, at least until the courts make a final decision. Most employers already planned for the new rules, so it will be interesting to see how employees react when employers rescind their announced changes. We also don’t know the Trump Administration’s position on the proposed changes, so stay tuned.

Continue Reading


On December 1, 2016, big changes are coming to the minimum salary requirements for exempt employees.  The U.S. Department of Labor is significantly raising the minimum salary that an employee must receive to qualify as exempt from overtime.

Employees who qualify for the professional, executive or administrative exemption will see their minimum salary rise from its current level of $455/week ($23,660/year) to $913/week ($47,476/year).  Employees who qualify for the highly compensated exemption will see their minimum compensation rise from its current level of $100,000/year to $134,004/year.

There is no phase in or grace period for the increased salary requirements.  The changes take effect immediately on December 1, so employers must be certain their salaries comply with the new rules on that date.  The consequences for not complying can be severe.  Not only will the employee be entitled to overtime for all hours worked beyond forty hours in a workweek, but the exemption may be permanently lost.

Keep in mind that in addition to the salary test, an employee must also satisfy the “duties test” to qualify as exempt from overtime.  In general terms, the employee must spend the majority of his or her time performing nonmanual, higher level duties of a professional, executive or administrative nature.  The Department is not changing the requirements of the duties test, but it makes sense for employers to take this opportunity to review the duties of employees who might qualify, to assure they satisfy the duties test.

Determining whether an employee qualifies as exempt can be very challenging.  You cannot rely on job titles or job descriptions, but must analyze the circumstances of each employee’s work.  It is not unusual to have two employees with the same job title and job description, but only one who qualifies as exempt because of differences in what they actually do on the job every day.

The penalties for misclassifying an employee as exempt and failing to pay overtime are harsh.  Of course, the employee will be entitled to back pay for the unpaid overtime.  In addition, under federal law the employee is entitled to penalty wages of double the amount of unpaid overtime and up to 30 days’ additional wages under Oregon law, plus interest in both cases.  State and federal regulators may also impose stiff civil fines for each violation.

Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns and we will work with you to assure you are in compliance.

Continue Reading

Part 2: The High VERY HIGH Cost of Misclassifying an Employee as an Independent Contractor.

Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor can be a very expensive mistake for a business.  Once the issue is on the table, the vultures start circling and you are in for a very unpleasant and costly ride.

The misclassification is typically discovered when something bad happens to the worker.   Often, the worker suffers an on-the-job injury and looks for workers’ compensation coverage and the Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) determines the worker is really your employee.  Or the worker can’t find work and files for unemployment and the Oregon Employment Department (OED) determines the worker is really your employee.  Or the worker feels harassed or feels mistreated by you for some other reason and files a complaint with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the agency determines the worker is really your employee.

Sometimes, but less frequently, the misclassification is discovered during a routine wage and hour audit, workers’ compensation audit or tax audit.  The investigator reviews your records and finds fewer employees on the books than expected or notices significant non-payroll payments to individuals for services performed.  Red flags go up and the investigator digs deeper to be sure you are paying all of the taxes or premiums you should be paying.

Regardless of the reason the misclassification is discovered, be prepared to have your business turned inside out and to open your wallet.

For example, if the worker is injured on the job and doesn’t have insurance to cover medical bills or lost wages, he and the attorney he consults, will look for a way to get coverage and you are the deep pocket they will turn to.  This once happy “independent contractor” will file a workers’ compensation claim and if you misclassified the worker, you are on the hook…and it’s a big hook.

If the WCD accepts the claim and determines that you are a “noncomplying employer,” i.e., the worker is an employee and should have been covered by your workers’ compensation insurance policy, bad and expensive things happen.  Most significantly, you lose the protection from lawsuits that a complying employer receives. The injured worker (or his estate, should the worker die from work injuries) can sue you for his or her injuries, medical bills not covered by the WCD, lost income, emotional distress and even punitive damages.  If as an employee, the worker would receive employee benefits, the worker can sue you for paid vacation, health insurance, paid sick leave and any other benefits you failed to provide.

The WCD will go after you for any medical bills WCD pays for the worker and will impose a substantial civil fine.  And don’t think your company can get rid of this problem by going out of business or filing for bankruptcy; the liability is also yours personally (as may some of the tax-related liabilities discussed below).

Your problems don’t end with the thousands of dollars you’ll pay the employee or the WCD civil fine.  BOLI and the DOL may come knocking at your door to check if you’ve misclassified other workers, and if you have, whether you owe them back wages for minimum wage violation or overtime violations, which can also produce additional damages of double or triple the wages owed.  BOLI and the DOL can also impose hefty civil fines.

You know who comes next: the tax man.  The EOD Tax Section, the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) want the payroll taxes you failed to deduct from the employee’s compensation, such as income taxes, social security taxes, Medicare taxes, unemployment taxes, transit taxes, etc.  You’ll also be hit with significant penalties and interest, and, in some cases, may even be required to pay the employee’s share of certain taxes.

Through all of this, you will pay your own lawyers, accountants and other professionals thousands of dollars.  Of course, the misclassified worker will also get a lawyer.  If you misclassified other workers, the lawyer is likely to gain some of them as new clients, as well.  To pour salt on your wounds, many of the claims a misclassified employee can bring against you provide that you must pay the misclassified worker’s attorneys’ fees if he prevails (but you have to pay your own attorneys’ fees whether you win or lose!).

The bottom line is that most workers should be treated as employees, particularly if the facts make it difficult to say with any certainty that the worker is an independent contractor.  The tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars you’ll pay for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor pales in comparison to the cost of workers’ compensation insurance, payroll taxes and the other costs of simply treating the worker as an employee from the very beginning.

Misclassifying an employee is a costly mistake that you can easily avoid by doing your homework on the front end of the relationship.  If you’re thinking of hiring an independent contractor and there’s any doubt, talk to your lawyer before plunging into the independent contractor minefield.

Continue Reading

Part 1: Independent Contractor or Employee?

You might think determining whether a worker should be treated as an independent contractor or an employee is a fairly simple task. While that may be true for the obvious independent contractor, such as an established business that provides services to the public (think Jane’s Plumbing or Benito’s Electrical Contractors with their own employees, shops and vans), it’s much harder to determine when you’re hiring an individual worker.

Unfortunately, there is no simple test or checklist you can use to decide whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Every situation must be analyzed on its unique facts, and even then it is often a difficult judgment call. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the standards vary between different Oregon laws, as well as between state and federal law. For example, a worker who qualifies as an independent contractor for Oregon tax purposes may not qualify as an independent contractor under Oregon’s Workers’ Compensation Law.

In general terms, the key issue is whether the worker is “customarily engaged in an independently established business.” The agencies and courts weigh many factors, such as those listed here, to decide the answer, but no single factor is necessarily conclusive:

  • Does the worker maintain his own business location separate from the hiring party’s work site?
  • Does the worker bear the risk of loss relating to her own business, such as guaranteeing her work and fixing her mistakes at no additional cost, or performing work for a fixed price and eating the extra cost if the job takes longer or requires more supplies than anticipated?
  • Has the worker made a significant investment is his business for such things as tools of his trade, a business vehicle, office equipment, office space, work space, insurance, permits and licenses or other investments typical of a real business?
  • Does the worker provide her services to more than a single customer?
  • Does the worker advertise his services or otherwise solicit business from the general public or within his industry?
  • Does the worker file business tax returns?
  • Does the worker have the authority to hire and fire employees that provide his business’ services?
  • Does the worker decide when, where and how he will perform the services, with little or no direction from the business that hires him?

You may think you are safe if you and the worker agree to treat the worker as an independent contractor. The setup sounds great for both parties. You don’t have to worry about all the tax headaches and administrative obligations and costs that come with having an employee, such as payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, tracking hours, providing benefits, etc. You get a bill from the worker and you pay it, nice and easy. The worker likes the arrangement, too, because there are no deductions from her compensation, she controls how to report her income and she likes the independence of not being an employee.

As a lawyer, when I question an employer’s decision to treat a worker as an independent contractor, I often hear, “This worker begged me to pay him as an independent contractor. It’s easier for me, too, so why not? As long as we’re both happy, what’s the difference? No one will know anyway.”

Well, the difference is that if the relationship sours and an administrative agency or court is called upon to review the arrangement, what you and the worker call your arrangement carries very little weight, if any at all. The agency or court will look right past what you call the relationship and decide for itself whether the worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Additionally, and most importantly, you and not the worker, bears the bulk of the financial liability for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor, regardless of whether the worker was a willing participant. In Part 2 of this post, “The high VERY HIGH Cost of Misclassifying an Employee as an Independent Contractor,” you will learn about the financial storm that a mistaken classification can rain down on you.

Continue Reading



Franchise law is a heavily regulated area of law.  We help clients expand their businesses through franchising and other distribution methods. We have experience in many industries including, restaurants, health, and beauty, alcohol, and cannabis among others. Our representative services include the following:


We also help potential franchisees interested in buying a franchise. We are able to assist with evaluation of franchise opportunities with respect to:

Alternative Structures

However, not all businesses are suited to franchise. We are also experienced with helping clients structure alternative distribution methods to prevent classification as a franchise.


Our M&A attorneys are highly experienced in counseling clients who are considering acquisitions or exit strategies.  We have many years of experience handling deals of various types and sizes, ranging from sales of small closely-held business, private companies, and publicly-traded corporations.  We have represented business owners, private equity firms and investment banks in a wide range of industries. 

We have a deep business bench, and Emerge attorneys have handled transactions of all shapes and sizes.  Whether your deal is valued at $100,000 or $100,000,000, our experienced attorneys will guide you through the deal process.

We understand the intensity, technical skill and judgment needed to get deals done, and we provide our clients with timely, practical and cost-effective legal advice.  We are highly capable in all aspects of M&A, including the following:


Emerge Law Group is highly experienced in the cannabis industry.  We have helped many clients obtain state licenses and local permits to operate cannabis businesses throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.

Emerge attorneys were instrumental in the drafting and passage of Oregon Measure 91, legalizing marijuana in the State of Oregon, and have represented cannabis businesses well before many law firms were willing to enter the cannabis industry. As a firm that has provided legal services in the cannabis space for many years, we are familiar with the unique and complex issues businesses and individuals face in an emerging and highly regulated industry.

We regularly help clients with:

Cannabis laws and rules are also regularly changing.  Members of our team are dedicated to attending legislative hearings, state agency and local city and county meetings to stay up-to-date on any new changes and how to adjust to any new changes.

See our Cannabis Industry page for more information.


There is tremendous excitement about the potential for psychedelic drugs to benefit a wide variety of populations, including terminally ill patients suffering with anxiety and depression. Until recently, psychedelic substances have been accessible only in the illicit market and are illegal under federal and state to manufacture, distribute, or possess. These substances have, since 1970, been treated as having no legitimate medical use, and no commercial application. As such, no one invested in this area or required legal services, outside of the criminal context.

Today, researchers in a multitude of clinical studies are proving the medical safety and efficacy of these medicines, with the objective of changing the treatment of these substances under the Controlled Substances Act. Companies are now actively raising money to develop intellectual property and seize market opportunities associated with psychedelic drugs.

In addition, advocates at the state and local levels are not waiting for the rescheduling of these substances and are active in undertaking efforts to decriminalize these substances and/or make them affirmatively legal under state and/or municipal law. Decriminalization already has occurred in cities including Denver, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Ann Arbor. Oregon is poised to be the first state to make psilocybin therapy affirmatively legal. Emerge Law Group is working with a wide array of clients pushing forward in this emerging area.

See our Psychedelics Practice Group page for more information.



Businesses of all kinds benefit from a customized but systematic approach to structuring legal relationships. Emerge Law Group helps businesses and business owners with a variety of tax planning matters.

Representative client services include:


Estate planning encompasses everything from a will and power of attorney to combined estate and business succession planning. In almost all cases, the purpose of the plan is to help the client protect those they care about most in the event they can no longer be there for them.

Emerge Law Group has experience with a wide range of tools used in estate planning, including wills, trusts, and family business entity planning.


Emerge Law Group can assist with the resolution of difficult tax controversies. Our areas of emphasis and experience include:


Emerge Law Group assists clients with a wide range of real estate transactional matters.  We regularly help clients with:


Emerge Law Group also assists clients with all aspects of local government land use and development processes, ranging from preliminary property analyses and building permit issues to complex land use reviews and hearings. Our attorneys are experienced in obtaining land use entitlements and development permits for a wide range of uses.

We regularly help clients with:

Above all, we understand the value of working with cities and counties to enhance communities while developing the land to its potential. We strive to create solutions to land use issues that serve to better our clients and the communities in which they live and work.


The attorneys in Emerge Law Group’s Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group litigate commercial, intellectual property, and public interest matters in state and federal courts, as well as private mediation and arbitration proceedings.  Our lawyers have represented national and regional financial institutions, major media, entertainment and technology companies, and other Fortune 500 companies in a broad array of high-stakes disputes.  Our team of litigators has handled leading cases that have shaped the law in cutting-edge business, technology, free speech, and public interest impact lawsuits in trial and the courts of appeal.

We have particular expertise in handling civil litigation and regulatory enforcement matters in the cannabis and psychedelic industries.  While many firms claim expertise in the these industries, few have our depth of experience successfully litigating contract, trademark, partnership, shareholder, land use, and real estate disputes in court and arbitration.  Even fewer firms have our level of experience handling writ of mandate proceedings against the government regulators.

Our litigators practice in California, Oregon, and Washington, but have appeared in state and federal courts nationwide.  Our knowledge of our clients’ businesses, goals and concerns, and our experience litigating at the highest levels, give us unique insight into possible outcomes and pitfalls as we continuously confront issues of new impression.

No matter what the industry, we pride ourselves in achieving our clients’ objectives through efficient and creative solutions primarily designed to avoid disputes in the first place—which is always the best litigation strategy.  Many times, our clients obtain excellent outcomes before or at the earliest stages of litigation because our adversaries quickly recognize the challenges they will face in litigating against us.  When litigation is unavoidable, however, we work hard to provide our clients with both cost-efficient and “big firm” quality representation.



Your intellectual property (or “IP”) strategy can harness your most valuable information and intangible assets including your name, your brand, your designs, your content, your services, and your products — what makes your business stand apart in a competitive world.  We can help you evaluate and build your IP portfolio, then secure it, monetize it, and protect it.

IP encompasses multiple areas of law and different types of information or material.

Our Intellectual Property practice focuses on:


Trademarks include names, signs, logos, designs, phrases, slogans, expressions, and sometimes even colors, sounds, or smells that identify or distinguish one business compared to others.  Trademark protection is fundamental in securing your “brand.”


Copyright covers original works of creative authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  This includes literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, designs, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.  Depending upon the type of work, “moral rights” (such as the right of attribution) may be implicated as well.


Trade secret laws can vary somewhat between states, but generally trade secrets cover information, including drawings, cost data, customer lists, formulas, recipes, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, methods, techniques or processes that derive economic value from not being generally known and are the subject of efforts that are “reasonable under the circumstances” to maintain secrecy.


Depending upon where you live or operate, there is a special patchwork of laws and regulations that protect and regulate personal information.  If you are handling or giving out personal or potentially sensitive information, you may be implicating privacy laws.


Publicity rights address the commercial use of an individual’s face, name, image, or likeness.  These rights vary state-to-state.  Marilyn Monroe, for example, lived in multiple states which created complex questions about her publicity rights.

Our Intellectual Property services include:


In states where new cannabis banking opportunities exist, Emerge Law Group has the proven expertise in creating canna-banking programs to efficiently capitalize on those opportunities. Our Banking Practice Group specializes in working with banks and credit unions to develop regulatory compliant programs and operational best practices. We also train banking staff to become experts in canna-banking so they can effective understand and manage the risk affiliated with canna-banking.

We regularly help clients with:


At Emerge Law Group, we recognize that employees are the heart and soul of any successful business.  Our Employment Law Practice Group works with employers to help them effectively manage their workforce, navigate the complex web of federal, state and local employment laws and, if necessary, defend against claims before administrative agencies and in court.

We regularly help clients with:


Our corporate finance and securities lawyers are experienced attorneys who have practiced at large law firms, worked as in-house counsel for public companies and investment banks, and owned and operated start-up companies. We work with clients to help achieve their financing goals while safely navigating the highly technical securities law landscape. 

In addition to representing issuers, we also routinely represent institutional and individual investors, including in connection with fund formation and investments.

Our expertise includes:

We have a deep understanding of the financing options available to businesses, including simple unsecured loans, asset-backed financing, convertible debt, common and preferred equity, crowdfunding and various other structures.  We work closely with our clients to understand their business and financing needs, ensure they are prepared to approach investors and choose the right partners, structure and negotiate terms, navigate the due diligence process and successfully close the deal.



Emerge attorneys have represented businesses in the alcohol and beverage industry, including wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, golf courses, and gas stations.  We can help you vet new locations, acquire existing locations, and apply for the appropriate liquor license.  We also provide training to comply with applicable rules and regulations, prepare operating procedures, submit renewals, and keep clients protected in the event of any potential violations or administrative hearings.


Emerge Law Group is highly experienced in the cannabis industry.  We have helped many clients obtain state licenses and local permits to operate cannabis businesses throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.  We regularly help clients with:

Cannabis laws and rules are also regularly changing.  Members of our team are dedicated to attending legislative hearings, state agency and local city and county meetings to stay up-to-date on any new changes and how to adjust to any new changes.

See our Cannabis Industry page for more information.


Emerge Law Group is a leader in the psychedelics industry.  There is tremendous excitement about the potential for psychedelic drugs to benefit a wide variety of populations, including veterans struggling with PTSD and terminally ill patients suffering with anxiety and depression.  Until recently, psychedelic substances have been accessible only in the underground; they are illegal under state and federal law to manufacture, distribute, or possess.  These substances have, since 1970, been treated as having no legitimate medical use, and no commercial application.  As such, businesses have not invested in this area or required legal services, outside of the criminal context.

Today, psychedelics are proceeding toward legalization on multiple paths.  Researchers in a multitude of clinical studies are proving the medical safety and efficacy of these medicines, with the objective of changing the treatment of these substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act, opening legal access to them.  Private and public companies are now actively raising money to develop intellectual property and capitalize on the market opportunities associated with psychedelic drugs.  Opportunities to be early actors in this new arena are tremendous.

See our Psychedelics Practice Group page for more information.


Our business transactions team is made up of highly experienced transactional attorneys who have practiced at large law and accounting firms, worked as in-house counsel for public companies and investment banks, and owned and operated start-up companies. We understand complex legal matters and provide high quality legal services in a cost-effective manner.  Our clients value our experience, knowledge and judgment.


Our team routinely advises clients regarding:


Emerge attorneys also advise on-going concerns with: