We are very pleased to share that one of our editors for Alcohol Law Advisor and head of McDermott’s Alcohol Regulatory & Distribution Group Marc E. Sorini was named a 2019 National Law Review Go-To Thought Leader. The National Law Review’s 2019 “Go-To Thought Leader Awards” spotlight 75 legal authors—less than 1% of the publication’s 15,000 thought leaders—selected from a pool of over 100,000 news articles published in 2019. Sorini was one of three thought leaders recognized in the “Food & Drug” category. According to the awards description, “The NLR Go-To Thought Leadership recipients not only demonstrate a depth of legal knowledge but also outline the steps needed for compliance and/or adaptation. These designated authors are not only reader favorites but are often quoted in other publications and/or syndicated in other media.”
Recognized as one of the leading lawyers in his field, Sorini has represented alcohol beverage suppliers before federal and state courts, the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state alcohol beverage control agencies. He advises clients on compliance with the regulations and policies of the TTB, FTC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Here, he shares his thoughts on the recognition, how he stays on top of industry trends and the advice he has for peers and future thought leaders.
Q: What are your thoughts on being named a NLR ‘Go-To Thought Leader’?
A: My first instinct is to say, “Dude, it rocks!” But sincerely, I’m honored to be included in such a selective list of my peers. Over the past year especially, our practice group has focused on optimizing our content: getting to the heart of why, say, a regulatory update really matters and how readers should take action in response. It’s validating to see that approach has resonated.
Q: What have you found most useful in your tenure in terms of staying on top of industry trends for this practice, which led you to this recognition?
A: It starts with discipline, first and foremost. I carve out the time to read up on industry developments through daily updates like Alcohol Issues INSIGHTS, Beer Business Daily, INSIGHTS Express and Wine & Spirits Daily. I also try to keep tabs on bills and case law, as well as the monthly and bimonthly publications like The New Brewer and Artisan Spirit Magazine. Making the time to stay up to date really pays dividends, in my experience. Court cases, for instance, become old news very quickly if you don’t stay on top of them.
Q: As an established thought leader, what would you advise the peers and future thought leaders? How are you already working with the next class to ensure a continued stream of valuable content in this space?
A: As we know, the way lawyers are compensated can sometimes create a perverse incentive: The instant reward is for putting in billable hours, not for the deeper practice development hours put toward things like reading up on industry developments. I can remember when I was an associate, I would hit my 2,000 hours—but barely. I would make the time for business development activity, because I knew it would be beneficial long term. I was certainly on the low end of the bonus spectrum at that time, but the decisions I made then paid off in the long run.
Many of my clients expect and rely on my thought leadership; they ask for it. Plus, thought leadership can quickly solidify relationships with general counsel, for example. Within three to four months of working with them, if you consistently send them thought leadership that is relevant and helpful to their business, they not only recognize your name, but also associate your name with instant, consistent value.
Q: How has the way you approach writing your thought leadership changed over your tenure?
A: It used to be that a big part of the game was being the first one out of the gate. But these days, any announcements worth talking about get picked up by the trade press. Thus, being first out of the gate is no longer viable for big-news announcements; so you have to adjust what it means to deliver meaningful thought leadership.
Now, instead of putting an announcement out right away, I’ll often come in a week later with some real insight about a big news development. You don’t want oversimplified spins on an announcement just because you want to be the first to publish it (you won’t be). Delivering nuanced explanations and genuinely helpful advice is now the most value thing you can do as a thought leader.
See Marc E. Sorini’s National Law Review bio here.