Shabnam Malek and Amanda Conley founded Brand & Branch LLP in 2015 to provide high-quality, nimble, and cost-effective intellectual property services.
Brand & Branch offers its services with flexible billing arrangements including flat fees and monthly subscription plans to meet the needs of early- and mid-stage companies.
This is the story of how we got here.
2010 We met in 2010 when Amanda began working at O'Melveny & Myers LLP in San Francisco, where Shabnam was an associate. Both of us worked in the Intellectual Property and Technology group, handling both intellectual property litigation and trademark transactions work.
2012 In January 2012, Shabnam moved to Cobalt LLP in Berkeley where she honed her skills in trademark prosecution, privacy, and gaming law. Amanda took over Shabnam's position at O'Melveny and handled several IP litigation matters for large technology companies.
2013 Amanda joined Shabnam at Cobalt in 2013. In Spring 2014, we began developing strong relationships in the cannabis business community. Soon, we were attending and speaking at cannabis industry events throughout the country. We speak regularly on labeling and advertising issues, trademark protection and enforcement, and copyright matters in the cannabis industry. In July, we were asked to launch the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow, a national organization founded to promote women entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry. The Bay Area chapter was the second Women Grow chapter to launch.
2014 In late 2014, Shabnam and Amanda teamed up with several colleagues to found the National Cannabis Bar Association, the first national lawyers group focused on the practice of cannabis business law. NCBA officially launched on June 30, 2015.
2015 In May 2015, we founded Brand & Branch LLP.
Read more about us, our involvement with Women Grow, and NCBA:
Listen to us discuss all things cannabis IP:
LEGAL SERVICES FOR REGULATED INDUSTRIES
Brand & Branch was formed by two big law expats. We understand and appreciate the quality legal services and client commitment that characterize large law firms. So we decided to create a smaller, better version. We founded Brand & Branch to provide high-quality, nimble, and cost-effective legal services to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and in all stages. We believe a boutique law firm can provide the kind of personalized and professional experience that truly benefits our clients.
The attorneys at Brand & Branch have experience with both litigation and transactions. This mix of experience distinguishes us and gives us a unique perspective on counseling, deal making, and disputes. We provide legal counseling from a holistic, 360-degree perspective because we've seen all sides of a deal gone right and gone wrong. We understand that business can't ignore legal, and legal shouldn't alienate business. Our assets rest with our understanding of this relationship.
The partners at Brand & Branch have extensive experience counseling clients on intellectual property issues with an emphasis in the cannabis, hemp, dietary supplements, gaming, food and beverage, technology, retail, and publishing industries.
Brand & Branch helps clients in the following areas:
TRADEMARK & COPYRIGHT
CLEARANCE, PROTECTION AND REGISTRATION
MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT
DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PORTFOLIOS
DOMAIN NAME RECOVERY AND SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLE ACQUISITION
IP LICENSING AGREEMENTS, TRANSFERS AND ASSIGNMENTS
SUPPLY CHAIN AGREEMENTS
MARKETING AND ADVERTISING AGREEMENTS
ADVERTISING & MARKETING REVIEW
RISK MITIGATION AND STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
PROMOTIONS, CONTESTS AND SWEEPSTAKES
ENDORSEMENT AND INFLUENCER AGREEMENTS
HEMP AND CBD COMPLIANCE
CALIFORNIA CANNABIS COMPLIANCE
PACKAGING & LABELING COMPLIANCE
FTC AND ADVERTISING COMPLIANCE
TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
TRADE SECRET MISAPPROPRIATION
BREACH OF CONTRACT
FALSE ADVERTISING AND UNFAIR COMPETITION
Shabnam Malek is a partner at Brand & Branch LLP and founding President of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Shabnam's background is in trademark law, and she cut her teeth on all things intellectual property as an associate at O'Melveny & Myers (OMM) in San Francisco. While at OMM, Shabnam developed a broad practice in ITC enforcement, district court litigation, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board disputes, and trademark prosecution strategy. She represented large, global companies as well as smaller technology startups and local food manufacturers. She also developed a robust pro bono practice representing imprisoned women before the California Board of Parole Hearings as well as representing houseless San Francisco residents through the Coalition on Homelessness. Since her days in "big law," Shabnam has expanded her practice to include promotions and sweepstakes law, advertising law, and the representation of lawful cannabis and hemp companies throughout the United States.
During the launch of Brand & Branch, Shabnam and her law partner, Amanda R. Conley, founded the National Cannabis Bar Association, which recently expanded its reach to become the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA). Today, INCBA boasts a membership base of nearly 500 individual attorney members and a strong international presence. Shabnam and Amanda's vision for the organization was realized in the organization's flagship annual two-day legal educational event, the Cannabis Law Institute, at which they've spoken two years in a row. Shabnam and Amanda also co-founded the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow in 2014.
Shabnam's practice now focuses on advice and counsel to companies seeking to expand their presence or intellectual property portfolio across industries as well as across state and international borders. Clients benefit from Shabnam's expertise in the areas of regulatory compliance and intellectual property licensing, in addition to her well-developed understanding of the intersection of law, strategy, and business.
Shabnam regularly speaks and writes on the topics of trademarks, brand expansion, regulated industries such as cannabis and hemp, and the role of women in creating change. Her professional affiliations include holding a seat on the Board of Directors of the International Cannabis Bar Association, membership with the International Trademark Association and California Lawyers' Association, where she serves on committees, and memberships with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, the Queen’s Bench, and the Bar Association of San Francisco. Shabnam was named a Northern California Rising Star three years in a row by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Shabnam can be reached at shabnam at brandandbranch.com or by phone at 510-984-4285.
AMANDA R. CONLEY
Amanda R. Conley is a founding partner at Brand & Branch LLP and co-founder of the National Cannabis Bar Association. She helps creative entrepreneurs across a variety of industries protect, leverage, and enforce their intellectual property. She specializes in helping clients navigate highly-regulated industries such as cannabis, hemp, dietary supplements, and new and emerging technologies. She also advises on advertising, marketing, website, and labeling compliance.
Amanda graduated from NYU School of Law in 2011 and began her career at O’Melveny & Myers (OMM) in San Francisco with a focus on intellectual property counseling and litigation. Recognizing the need to provide nimble, tailored, practical legal services to clients operating in new and emerging industries, Amanda and her law partner Shabnam Malek founded Brand & Branch in 2015. Initially focused on providing intellectual property legal services to cannabis industry clients, Brand & Branch has expanded its reach to serve clients across multiple industries by providing legal and business strategy advice meeting their diversity of needs.
During the launch of Brand & Branch, Amanda and Shabnam also co-founded the National Cannabis Bar Association, which recently expanded its reach to become the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA). Today, INCBA boasts a membership base of nearly 500 individual attorney members and a strong international presence. Amanda and Shabnam's vision for the organization was realized in the organization's flagship annual two-day legal educational event, the Cannabis Law Institute, at which they've spoken two years in a row. Amanda and Shabnam also co-founded the Bay Area chapter of Women Grow in 2014.
Amanda is an active member of the national business networking organization Provisors, where she leads the organization’s first Northern California group exclusively for professionals serving the cannabis industry. Her other professional affiliations include the International Trademark Association, where she serves on a committee, the California Cannabis Industry Association, the California Lawyers Association, and the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom. She regularly speaks about growth and intellectual property issues pertaining to the cannabis industry and on intellectual property matters generally. She also regularly speaks at legal and cannabis industry conferences throughout the U.S. and internationally on the topics of intellectual property, advertising, and the importance of diversity across all industries. Amanda has been named a Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine for the past two years.
Before attending law school, Amanda worked as a statistician for the Institute of Behavioral Sciences in Boulder, Colorado where she completed an MA program in Sociology.
Amanda can be reached at amanda at brandandbranch.com or by phone at 510-984-4285.
SENIOR MANAGING ASSOCIATE
Laura Schniedwind is Senior Managing Attorney at Brand & Branch LLP, advising cannabis businesses on intellectual property licensing, commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, multi-state expansion, and product labeling. Laura has extensive experience working with companies of all sizes experiencing major growth in regulated industries. She has held a variety of legal positions serving the cannabis industry, including outside general counsel, sole practitioner, and of counsel. Prior to working for the cannabis industry, she was in-house counsel to a privately-held global company engaged in the development, manufacture, and sale of semiconductor analysis equipment.
Laura is a Bay Area native and a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Prior to law school, Laura was a translator for detained immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. Laura is fluent in Spanish.
Laura can be reached at laura at brandandbranch.com or by phone at (510) 984-4285.
What Our Clients Say
Dependable, professional, and knowledgeable are the characteristics that best describe the level of service I receive from Brand & Branch.
Knowing that the foundation of my company is being protected by the Brand & Branch legal team allows me the opportunity to focus on my clients without having to think twice about legal issues.
Aviv Raphael, Founder, ONA.life
As a newbie to the cannabis industry, I met Amanda and Shabnam at a Women Grow event and was immediately enamored by how their all-inclusive educations paired with their graceful and humorous personalities. In one breath, they can clarify the intimate details of establishing a trademark while also talking about supporting women's rights in the workplace, followed shortly after by a perfectly placed pun.
And now as a director at an established cannabis brand, I am so happy to have them in our extended family/team. Amanda and Shabnam effortlessly and patiently guide our team through the madness that is the legal system. There are so many moving parts with small businesses. Working with Amanda and Shabnam has allowed us to refocus our energy on what matters most, building and growing.
Shabnam and Amanda are some of the most qualified and passionate attorneys I know who provide intellectual property and related guidance to cannabis businesses. Their knowledge of the IP landscape for cannabis companies today is unparalleled. As a California business and compliance attorney working in the cannabis space, I find myself routinely referring my clients to Shabnam and Amanda to address their IP-related needs, always with fantastic results.
Not only are Shabnam and Amanda skilled and experienced professionals — they are also an absolute pleasure to work with. My clients come away from their conversations with Shabnam and Amanda newly invigorated, with a full understanding of their rights, risks, and strategic options for leveraging their IP in the emerging cannabis industry.
Kimberly R. Simms, Esq., The Law Office of Kimberly R. Simms