This Lawyer Helps Businesses and Breweries Thrive

Meet San Diego Attorney Amanda Allen

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Amanda Allen.

Amanda Allen is a San Diego business and real estate attorney who provides legal solutions that are creative, efficient, and effective. She was on the path to becoming a partner at her old law firm when she realized she wanted to create a professional life where she created her own destiny and controlled her future.

Now nothing makes her more excited than helping small business owners, non-profit organizations, architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs reach their big dreams through her firm of Aguirre Allen Law.

Amanda also serves as a business and real estate lawyer for San Diego craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries, specializing in land use, industry-related issues, industrial manufacturing, and ABC/TTB compliance. Here’s a look at Amanda, why she loves supporting the craft brewery community, and why she’s passionate about her work.

Why did you decide to go to law school and become a lawyer?

I decided to go to law school because I have always been a problem solver and the idea of making a living helping people and solving problems was appealing to me. I was that kid in 5th grade who announced to the class that I was going to be a lawyer.  I don’t think I even knew a single lawyer, but we learned about careers and it sounded like a great idea at 10-years-old.  My favorite part of practicing law is the connection to the clients. I also wanted to stay at UCLA forever! I went there for my undergraduate degree and when I got into UCLA Law I jumped at the opportunity to stay on campus for three more years!

Why did you choose your practice area? What about it excites you?

I chose real estate and business law because it is tangible. I am extremely visual and working on projects where I can see the finished result of my work, whether it is a residential home or a big development project, I love the ability to really see and understand how everything will fit together.

I get excited about doing all the groundwork, getting my clients going, and then seeing the project through for years to come. I am passionate about building relationships in business and real estate because these are usually not one-time clients. These are clients I can grow with and help them achieve their goals over time.

What made you go from working in a law firm to starting your own practice?

I was on a great path to partnership in my old law firm, but I left because I realized the independence I wanted both personally and professionally was not something the law firm structure could offer me. I still work a lot of hours, but I have much more control over my time.

I have a 1-year-old daughter and many people asked me if I left my firm to spend more time with her. I did not. It’s harsh but true. I love practicing law and she still goes to daycare full time. Having a daughter actually gave me greater purpose and the confidence to open my own practice. I want my daughter to learn that she can be anything and do anything. How could I teach her that, if I did not take that step myself? I built my practice from scratch because it was the absolute right thing for me.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning your own practice? 

The biggest advantage is independence.

I have independence in the kind of law I practice, the clients I work with and the time I devote to my practice. When I first started, I would have said that a disadvantage was having to get all my own clients. Now, I think this is the best part. Engaging with clients and representing my work and my firm is definitely a sales advantage. I control my own brand.

The biggest downside for me is all of the administrative work. I try to outsource as much as I can, but wearing the bookkeeper and the IT hat all at once can be frustrating. As I continue to grow, I will continue to outsource the parts of running a business that take away from my time I get to devote to building my client relationships.

Why do you enjoy working with craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries?

I love the culture and passion my craft brewery clients have for what they do.

There is an incredibly collaborative nature to the beer, wine and distillery communities that you do not find in other industries, even real estate. That collaborative culture creates an uplifting community that is thriving. That is no coincidence that collaboration has resulted in a tremendous. I enjoy supporting the industry in any way I can because of the people who are a part of the community. The great beer is just a reflection of the people making it

What are the unique legal issues these businesses face? Why do they need an attorney like you?

Breweries face unique land use and real estate issues because they have equipment that requires certain property uses, such as using combustible gasses and piercing the ceiling of their property. In addition, some commercial properties do not allow for tasting rooms, most breweries choose a space where they can brew beer and have a tasting room. As they expand, they can open additional tasting rooms without needing the manufacturing space. I am the type of lawyers that will provide practical advice and not just regurgitate the law and I think that is the value added for my clients. I love that I am able to combine my real estate and contract law expertise with my background in ABC law to help breweries, not only start, but grow and expand over time. 

What advice do you have for young attorneys?

One of my passions is encouraging women attorneys to take control of their careers and build a book of business. There is never going to be a right time to do it. You have to decide to put in the work and build a support system to succeed. 

Here is the dirty little secret nobody talks about and female partners at large law firms have done this, so this applies to anyone trying to build a book: I hired a business development coach. I acknowledged that building a client base is something I did not learn in law school and only vaguely picked up on from partners in my firm.  If you have your own law practice or you want to become a partner in a firm, you need your own clients and if you can do it on your own, congratulations! If you cannot, get help!