I’m a lawyer, and I’ve hired lots of lawyers to work for me over the course of the past several years. I’ve hired lawyers to represent me on occasion too (not criminal, of course, except that one time, so quit thinking such negative thoughts). Anyway, I’m probably a better-than-average judge of a lawyer’s abilities.

Also, I could probably do a passable job getting a brewery licensed on my own. In fact, I’ve helped people get their TTB paperwork together in the past with good results. That said, I’ll never do it again. Seeing someone in action who knows the area of law makes my attempts to help look pretty pathetic. I can’t imagine suggesting someone navigate the process on their own now either.

Beer and trademark law attorney Dan Christopherson did our federal licensing work, and I’ve never had a better experience working with a lawyer than I have with him. Here’s another site for him.

Dan clearly knows the law as well as the process. He knows it all so well that the person reviewing the application expressed in writing how impressed she was with his work. Perhaps more importantly, he was always extremely responsive and capable of explaining things in a way that made me know exactly where I stood. At times, though, I wish he’d have tried to confuse me with jargon so I would’ve finally felt like my legal education was mildly useful.

Had I not hired him, maybe I’d have more interesting material for a blog post. Maybe I’d be writing about problems with the online system, the delays, the bureaucracy, the interview, and who knows what else. Instead, I have a very simple description of the process:

  1. Hire Dan
  2. Do what he says
  3. Be licensed as soon as you possibly can given your unique circumstances

Lawyers don’t work miracles. If there’s a problem, there’ll be a problem. If there isn’t, there won’t be. Your best chance for avoiding or minimizing a problem if there is one and maximizing the chances of sailing through if everything is good is with a professional. If you’ve read this far, you can probably figure out which one I’d recommend.

It’s entirely possible that you can do all of your licensing yourself and save a little cash. It’s entirely possible that you could figure out how to take off and land a Boeing 747 if being your own pilot saved you a few dollars on the airline fare too. But you’d never do that. You shouldn’t go without Dan for your brewery licensing either.