Armstrong Teasdale associate Martin Estevao practices a lot in regulatory compliance, and a significant portion of that work focuses on the food and beverage industry, but it’s not a sector he expected he would end up practicing heavily in. In fact, regulatory compliance wasn’t a practice area he was much aware of until he had the chance to work on compliance efforts for a beverage corporation’s processing and distribution for a milk product the company began selling. Armstrong Teasdale helped the company jump through regulatory hoops, from the routine such as licensing and registration, to the more difficult such as pricing, in order to bring the product to market in every state.
“It really just grew from there into different clients, different companies, different products,” Estevao said. He added the work includes regulatory compliance on issues adjacent to the products themselves, such as packaging, points of sale and exporting. Before he jumped into the regulatory work, he said, he thought the paths to take were transactional practice or litigation. “It was this really amazing discovery that there was this cool space to work in where I could help clients build their businesses, sell their products, save money and get out of trouble.”
He estimates about 15 percent of his practice is devoted to litigation, mostly on the defense side, and the rest to various types of regulatory compliance work. Even when work that lands on his desk contains a new industry, type of issue or regulation he’s not familiar with, Estevao said understanding the client’s business and understanding what makes governments tick are keys to mastering the work.