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Reach out to one of our recruiters.

Karen Fischer

Director of Legal Recruiting

Susan Early

Lateral Recruiting Manager

Emma Hearn

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Ariane Moore

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Christy Pashia

Strategic Recruiting Specialist

Career Journey

A conversation with Adena Santiago.

Why did you choose alcoholic beverage regulatory as your area of focus? 

When I graduated law school, I had no idea there was such a thing as a liquor lawyer. I had focused on intellectual property law, such as trademark and copyright, and saw jobs in that field as I got to the end of law school. I was fortunate to get hired by a small, boutique firm that had one attorney practicing trademark law, and the rest of the firm was focused on the alcoholic beverage regulatory work that I’ve been in ever since. I think it’s interesting that alcoholic beverages are the only commodity that has two amendments in the Constitution. The second of the amendments, the 21st amendment, repeals prohibition and authorizes the states to regulate the sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages as they see fit. That’s 50 ways to look at the same problem. Unlike most attorneys in this space, I represent companies on all three key tiers of the industry on a national state level as well as federal. I advise clients and handle all manner of regulatory compliance including licensing, labeling and trade practice assessment. 

Why have you chosen to make your career at Husch Blackwell?

I came to Husch Blackwell after being with the above-mentioned boutique firm for 12 years. I was mentored and developed a great foundation there, but everyone did the same thing, so I felt there wasn’t as much room to continue to grow there. Husch Blackwell doesn’t have an alcohol beverage regulatory practice other than mine, but the firm does have a number of attorneys who do work in this industry. They practice in mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, commercial real estate, litigation and other areas. My regulatory practice was sort of the missing piece. 

What is one thing that makes Husch Blackwell special?

Rather than practice areas, we’re structured around the kinds of businesses and industries we support. Prospective clients see that we understand companies like theirs. During my career, for example, I took an in-house position with one of my clients – one of the world’s largest wine companies. While part of the organization, I was able to see firsthand how the questions I answered evolved into the next stage of marketing, product development, and other areas. I now have better insight into internal processes and how my advice supports those groups. Because we have such a breadth of knowledge in the alcohol beverage industry, and I have my ear to the ground and pay attention to changes, we are knowledgeable partners who can help clients visualize their dreams in a compliant manner. In addition, because I have a nationally focused practice, I am able to give my clients a bird’s eye view on how the industry works and differs across the country. As a result, we set our clients up for success in the best way possible. 

Describe the support you have received at Husch Blackwell that has helped you in your practice.

I remember coming to Husch Blackwell from a small firm and really appreciating what great resources and processes the firm has. In small firms, decisions are often made on the one-off and not uniformly practiced. Here we have more uniform practices – the consistency is helpful. I also appreciate that I can make the day-to-day decisions about my practice with the resources of a large organization. We have a great Client Development team. I’m lucky to work with these professionals because they help me grow my practice by thinking about things that aren’t first nature to me. We also participate in organizations, attend and exhibit at conferences, and are given funds for business development – all provided by the firm.

What opportunities have you had to become involved in firm leadership?

The firm has had an Alcohol & Beverage group for quite some time. As the sole regulatory attorney involved in this industry day in and day out, it was important that I have a voice and co-lead that initiative. We strive to improve our market presence, seek to better unify our attorneys working in this industry, and stay on top of changes and current issues in the industry so we can help keep our clients informed.

What is your advice for a new hire?

If you want to grow your practice, you need to take initiative and make things happen for yourself. While there is a lot of support, you can’t expect others to just knock on your door. You have to go for what you want. Once you do reach out, people will help you.

Key Contact

Job Openings  

Have questions about working at Husch Blackwell?

Reach out to one of our recruiters.

Karen Fischer

Director of Legal Recruiting

Susan Early

Lateral Recruiting Manager

Emma Hearn

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Ariane Moore

Lateral Recruiting Specialist

Christy Pashia

Strategic Recruiting Specialist

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