BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.
BY KIM MOORE
Managing partner, Tonkon Torp
Oregon Business: What is your firm focused on?
MM: We are looking at a lot of investment going on in the high-tech area and litigation that is likely to come out of those investments. We have a developing government relations practice — more and more clients are interested in understanding the political climate of where they want to do business. Our business immigration practice is growing substantially as globalization hits.
OB: What litigation do you expect to come out of the high-tech sector?
MM: They are mostly in the building phase right now and are bringing investment in. What we have traditionally seen in the past is that for rapidly growing industries that have a lot of investment, invariably some of these businesses will fail. Invariably, people who put money or bet on them will be disappointed, and to some degree that will result in litigation.
OB: What are the trends in immigration law?
MM: As a result of globalization, a lot of clients have come to realize that the talent pool they want to draw from is a global talent pool. If they want to get the best in their particular field, they may need to go to another country to find those people. Some of the tech companies here say we are not generating enough engineering graduates to satisfy the needs of U.S. businesses. Clients doing business all over the globe want people from all over the globe who are working for them to circle through their U.S. companies and learn about the whole organization.
OB: Is business litigation becoming more complex?
MM: We are seeing a number of business litigation matters that are becoming more complex than they used to be. One reason is the transactions are becoming more complex. Financial instruments are more complex. Some of the joint venture arrangements and shared business arrangements have gotten more complex.
OB: Are there new areas of law that are growing?
MM: The renewable energy and high-tech sectors will keep growing. One of these days the marijuana business will get quite big. There are a couple of firms that are holding themselves out as experts in medical-marijuana law. We will continue to see entrepreneurial startups. We will see new developments in healthcare and demands put on lawyers to deal with healthcare issues. Inevitably, government regulation will grow.