Tracy Miner would tell you that there aren’t many woman-owned law firms that specialize in criminal work.
That’s probably true. But you know what’s also rare? Lawyers who start their own firms while they’re in the midst of one of the city’s biggest white-collar criminal trials.
Miner can claim both honors. She launched Miner Orkand Siddall LP earlier this month, just as the Insys Therapeutics trial was getting underway. The racketeering case revolves around federal prosecutors’ claims that Insys executives improperly marketed the painkiller Subsys to doctors. Miner represents Mike Gurry, a former vice president at the drug company and one of the defendants in the case.
She knew the trial, which could last more than three months, was on the horizon. But she had celebrated her 60th birthday in December and that personal milestone served as the trigger to finally launch her own business. If not now, when?
She had originally hoped to get things squared away with the new venture before the trial started.
“I thought foolishly, well, you know, there would be that window between Christmas and New Year’s [when] we could get everything started,” Miner says. “A lot of things take longer than you think.”
Miner first got her start in criminal defense some 35 years ago, working with attorney Bob Popeo at Mintz Levin. (A former state attorney general, Frank Bellotti, served as another important mentor during her early days.) Among her first cases: defending state lawmaker Vincent Piro, who had been accused of attempted extortion involving two liquor licenses that a developer sought for the Assembly Square Mall in Somerville.
During her 30-year tenure at Mintz, Miner worked on a number of high profile white-collar cases, including ones involving Tap Pharmaceuticals and Serono, cases that are similar in nature to Insys.
In 2002 she represented John Connolly, who was charged with taking bribes and tipping off James “Whitey” Bulger to a secret federal indictment that enabled him to flee and remain on the run for 16 years.
She left Mintz five years ago to work for Demeo. She considered starting her own firm then, but the idea seemed a bit too daunting at the time.
Now, she’s ready. She says all of her clients followed her. Miner is joined by former Demeo colleagues, partners Seth Orkand and Megan Siddell. The office is at 470 Atlantic Ave., a short walk from the federal courthouse. Its proximity to South Station is also handy, given her daily commutes by train from Scituate.
“The biggest difference is you can control your own destiny,” Miner says. “You just do what you want without having to consult anybody. . . I’m very energized by it.”
New Boston Beer subsidiary to expand its 26.2 Brew
At first, it seemed like little more than a publicity stunt, a gimmick. But now, it could be a major business opportunity for Boston Beer Co.
We’re talking about the Samuel Adams 26.2 Brew. It’s a beer perhaps best known for its unusual ingredient: salt.
The folks at Boston Beer dreamed up the 26.2 Brew seven years ago after receiving a request from the Boston Athletic Association to get involved in the organization’s Boston Marathon activities. The goal was to come up with a beer that runners would want to drink after finishing a hard 26.2 miles.
Runners often crave salt to replace what they’ve lost through sweat. Aside from its salt content, the beer is also a bit lighter than the traditional Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
The beer became a recurring fixture in bars near the Marathon course, reappearing around the time of the Patriots Day race each year. At first, chairman Jim Koch didn’t envision 26.2 becoming a national brand.
Not anymore. Koch, chief executive Dave Burwick, and their team are gearing up for a national rollout in March under a new company subsidiary called Marathon Brewing, a project launched to create beers with some sort of healthy twist.
Shelley Smith, manager of research and brewing innovation, says she remembers drinking the 26.2 Brew after she finished the 2015 Boston Marathon and thinking how good it would be to share it with marathoners in other cities. The recipe has been reformulated, although salt is still a distinguishing ingredient (pink Himalayan sea salt, to be precise).
Burwick talked about the 26.2 Brew rollout on a conference call last week, saying Marathon Brewing was created to target “the health and wellness space.”
“It has sat very well in Boston . . . but this is a new space for us and we’re going to build it carefully and in a smart way,” Burwick said. “We think there’s a whole platform around this type of beers. . . . We feel really excited about it.” — JON CHESTO
Boston Realty’s R.I. office to tap office, commercial sales
Boston Realty Advisors bills itself as the leading independently owned real estate brokerage in Massachusetts.
But now the Boston firm is about to test an out-of-state market for the first time: Rhode Island.
The new office and its six-person staff will be overseen by Chris Bilotti, who most recently was chief financial officer at Mount Vernon Co., the Boston apartment company. (Mount Vernon chief Bruce Percelay is a Boston Realty Advisors client.) Bilotti also has had a side business owning apartment buildings in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts and he’s a partner in a William Raveis residential brokerage, which has four offices in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.
Boston Realty founder Jason Weissman says Bilotti first approached him last year about the possibility of teaming up to expand Weissman’s firm to Rhode Island. Bilotti, Weissman says, wanted to work in an office that was closer to his family in Smithfield, R.I. Weissman, meanwhile, quickly recognized the business potential in Rhode Island.
With the Providence opening, Boston Realty has about 90 people working on its team.
The firm’s Providence office will focus on office and apartment building sales and commercial lease transactions, avoiding single-family and residential condo sales in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts in part to avoid conflicts with Bilotti’s William Raveis franchise. First on the market: a mill building in Central Falls.
Weissman says the Providence market is ripe for growth due to its proximity to Boston. Another plus that he sees: It’s not overcrowded with commercial real estate brokers.
“Providence has really recovered since the downturn,” Weissman says. “It’s a logical growth market [for us]. This is a big opportunity for a larger regional firm like ours to play in. . . . It really is a dynamic city.”