Law Firm Administration • Trademark Portfolio Management
Something Personal: Janice lives on a small farm with her husband and two Irish terriers, where a dozen varieties of garlic are grown.
Bar Memberships: District of Columbia.
Education: BA, Kent State University; JD, S.Texas College of Law. Certificate, Mediating Disputes, Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation.
Member, Founder of Symbus in 2000; Administrative Member, 2000 - present.
Privacy • Data Security • Licensing • Procurement/Outsourcing • Artificial Intelligence • First Amendment • Electronic Surveillance • Computer Crimes
Amit K. Chhabra, JD, advises companies on privacy and security matters designed to protect their data, comply with regulations, develop robust surveillance practices, and respond to breaches, investigations and litigation.
He also works on a wide range of procurement and outsourcing contracts, including those involving the media, advertising, cloud-based services, software licensing, market data, professional services, software-as-a-service (SaaS), consulting services, statements of work (SOWs), service level, speakers, events, master service, non-disclosure, waivers and engagement letters with accounting firms. He is adept at navigating all phases of the vendor management process including onboarding, implementation and rollout.
He has recently advised clients on cross-border data transfers and assisting U.S. companies on compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Amit has over 15 years of experience at traditional law firms, international banks and universities. He was previously a Visiting Professor at St. George’s University, teaching subjects such as first amendment, privacy, ethics, international law and crisis management.
Something Personal: Amit speaks multiple languages with varying levels of proficiency, including Hindi, Punjabi, German, Spanish and French. Outside of practicing law, he enjoys hiking, writing and traveling.
Bar Memberships: New York, Connecticut
Education: A.B., Cornell University, History; J.D., University of Notre Dame.
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2020
Business Formation and Planning • Trademarks • Copyrights • Contracts
Melanie Cunningham, JD, specializes in helping entrepreneurs remain creative and expansive by establishing the foundation of their business and protecting their intellectual property through trademarks, copyrights, and agreements.
Melanie believes that entrepreneurs and micro/small business owners play a critical role in our communities, which propelled her to return to private practice after more than a decade working for global financial institutions. Her practice is dedicated to delivering excellent legal support and protection to this vital, but often underserved, community.
Melanie credits her business training and the skills developed as a senior compliance officer with enabling her to help the small business owner have a legally compliant enterprise, while proactively advising clients during the growth process. She helps diverse entrepreneurs, including consultants in many fields, coaches, artists, attorneys, and health practitioners, to do business in a way that focuses on collaboration. Melanie has drafted and reviewed a variety of contracts, including joint venture agreements, engagement and employee agreements, and business acquisition agreements. She also counsels business owners in determining what is protection worthy, helping them to obtain trademarks and copyrights, and taking protective action against infringers when needed.
Something Personal: Melanie loves to read, is learning to sew, and loves travel, both domestic and foreign. Returning to Tanzania and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is on her bucket list.
Bar Memberships: New York
Education: BS, Finance, University of Maryland; JD, Emory University School of Law
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2020
CANADA ONLY • Trademarks • Copyrights • Corporate Law
Lisa C. James, LLB LLM (Canada Only) is a Canadian corporate and intellectual property lawyer, with expertise in trademarks, copyright, business entity management and corporate structuring. Lisa's focus is on protecting the client's assets through use of corporate and IP tools as well as supporting them in negotiations. Lisa has practiced law for over 25 years.
Lisa is pleased to lend her expertise to U.S. clients looking to expand their brands and market presence into Canada, including the formation of Canadian subsidiary corporations.
Something Personal: Lisa is an avid mountain biking, surfing and climbing enthusiast and sports fan. She has been happily married to a litigator for many years.
Bar Memberships: Law Society of Upper Canada, Canadian Bar Association
Education: LLB Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, ON); LLM (Intellectual Property Law),Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, ON).
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2010 - present.
Something Personal: Marty once rode in a rodeo (but didn't last too long); he told “Al Capone” he had a phone call in the TV show the “Untouchables”; and he received his college diploma from George H. W. Bush.
Bar Memberships: Illinois; Registered Patent Attorney, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Education: B.S., United States Military Academy at West Point, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law.
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2020.
General Counsel Advisory Services Corporate and Commercial, Transactions, Contract and Legal Strategy Marketing Review Internal Corporate Sales Training Programs B Corp Certification National and International Business Relationships Franchising: Programs, Registration, System Wide Development, Changes, Relationships and Transactions.
Nicola McDowall, LLB Hons (UK), has 35 years of experience advising corporate clients in diverse industries with international operations. She has practiced in Big Law firms in the UK and the US, been general counsel of both a public and a private company and has operated her own business. Advising clients from all perspectives, she brings a pragmatic and commercial point of view, and the ability to help you to assess risk and reward. Nicola can provide you with outside general counsel support or other services tailored to meet your needs. She is skilled at leveraging commercial opportunities while protecting corporate assets and core values. As a creative negotiator, Nicola aims to craft win-win relationships with national and international business partners and adversaries. She is a strategic thinker experienced at listening and understanding new business ideas, following the money, and the economics. Her experience includes support for sales team and managing compliance requirements throughout diverse distribution channels, especially franchising.
Something Personal: When not practicing law, Nicola enjoys spending time keeping healthy.You could find her hiking, cycling or rollerblading, and whenever possible, traveling near and far.
Bar Memberships: Law Society of England and Wales, California, District of Columbia
Education: LLB Hons, Birmingham University UK, Solicitors Qualifying Examinations, Guildford College of Law, UK, Solicitors Qualifying Examinations. CA and DC Bars and Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2011 – 2013; October 2020-present.
Structuring Franchise Programs • Drafting Franchise Agreements and Franchise Disclosure Documents • Registration of FDD and advice on compliance with State and Federal franchise laws • Annual FDD Renewals • On-Going Advice on Franchise Sales and Relationship Issues • International Franchising
is a Certified Specialist, Franchise & Distribution Law, by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.
Tim spent 17-years in-house with 6,000 unit franchisor CENTURY 21® Real Estate (1988-1994), JACK IN THE BOX® Restaurants (1995-2000) where he supervised international franchise marketing and operations, and more recently, as Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary (2002-05) to the $340 million revenue Coco's® and Carrows® restaurant franchise chains.
Since 2005, Tim has had a private law practice representing national and international restaurant, retail, fitness, and product distribution franchise clients, with an emphasis on franchise registration, disclosure and relationship issues.
Something Personal: Tim lives with his wife and (sometimes) three grown children in North San Diego County. He enjoys covering high school football and rugby for the local community paper.
Bar Memberships: California
Education: JD, University of California, Hastings College of Law; B.A. with honors, University of California, San Diego.
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2013 - present.
Regulatory compliance for Farms, Labs and Cannabis Retailers • Cannabis Investment: Placement, Negotiation, and Structure • Licensing and Operating Agreements • Buyer-Side Hemp Transactions • USDA, DEA, FDA Public Affairs
Ben is a former law professor and government lawyer with nearly 20 years of practice experience, who focuses on legal cannabis dealmaking, strategic risk mitigation, and best practices. His philosophy rests on collaborative and creative solutions that draw on his public service in government, commitment as a teacher to helping law students enhance leadership skills, and a business litigation background with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and New York.
He represents established cannabis businesses and underdog start-ups alike, farms and labs, and investment firms. He is known for providing strategic counsel on tricky areas of law and regulatory compliance, and negotiating cutting-edge agreements, investment structures, and social equity initiatives, for transactions domestically and abroad.
After large firm practice, he was the faculty director of a public interest law clinic on Long Island involving significant state and federal insurance advocacy for small businesses and working families on the verge of losing everything after Hurricane Sandy. The clinic’s pragmatic and socially minded approach led FEMA officials to recruit him to join the Federal Insurance Directorate with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
He served for four years in DC before moving into the cannabis space, with a focus on the emerging East Coast medical and recreational markets. He has testified before Congress, earlier was named a top 40 under 40 by the NY Law Journal, and has been featured by the NY Times, AP, and NPR.
Something Personal: Ben is a practicing student of shamanic meditation and enjoys teaching, traveling, and dogs.
Bar Memberships: New York, Massachusetts, California
Education: BFA, Emerson College; JD, Loyola Law School; LLM, New York University School of Law
Of Counsel, Symbus Law Group, 2020
Trademarks • Copyrights • Domain Names • Trade Secrets • Litigation
Something Personal: Evan was born in Detroit, and his outside interests include sports of all kinds, cooking, and alternative music.
Bar Memberships: District of Columbia, California.
Education: B.G.S., University of Michigan, History and Political Science; M.A., University of Michigan, History; J.D., George Washington University Law School.
Member, Symbus Law Group, 2012 - present.