Monday Profile: Brandon Gardner

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Brandon Gardner was born in southern California to a military family which moved six times before he was 15. His father retired from the space division of the Air Force as a full colonel the same year he started college in Orange County, Calif.,  as a theater major. After a bit of soul searching, he switched majors to social work with the intention of obtaining a law degree.

Missing the change in seasons and seeking a lower cost of living, Gardmer moved to Michigan to attend Michigan State University College of Law. After obtaining his license, he established a practice in Lansing focusing on employment/labor litigation and criminal defense. In 2014, he decided to focus on marijuana law, which he continues to specialize in at the Fiorletta Law Group, PLLC.

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Residence:  Haslett.

What would surprise people about your job?  Most people are surprised—or bemused—when they hear that my practice is focused on marijuana law. But I suppose the most surprising aspect of this area of law to most people is the diversity of the clientele. At any given time, I could be representing a teenager with a possession charge while helping a  client worth millions open a dispensary—not to mention the advocacy that many attorneys in this niche are expected to engage in.

What are your most treasured material possessions?
  My wedding and class rings.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?  Make a list of your top three reasons to attend law school. If prestige or money made the list, then do more research before making a decision.

Favorite local hangouts:  Hop Cat, Bagger Dave’s, Golden Harvest, and Dusty’s Wine Cellar.

Favorite websites: Spartanmag.com, ESPN.com,  and foodnetwork.com.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
Receiving my first karate gi for Christmas in second grade.

Why did you become a lawyer?  I wanted to help people and be in court. I believed that a social work degree would provide a great background to be a counselor as well as an advocate.

What do you wish someone would invent?
A charger that does not require a device to be physically connected to it.

What has been your favorite year so far?
Most of 2007 was great. I graduated college, was accepted to several law schools, moved to Michigan, spent part of that summer with a really good friend in Belize and spent a lot of time refurbishing my dad’s 1976 Suzuki GS1500 motorcycle. Of course, this was tempered by my first semester as a 1L.

What is your most typical mood?
I’m almost always working, so usually my mood is thoughtful and contemplative. 

Who is on your guest list for the ideal dinner party?
Abraham Lincoln (infamous for his anecdotes), Samuel Clemens (extremely witty, and his egotism would make for good banter), Barack Obama (how could he not be a dinner party invite?), Jimmy Fallon (evidently awesome at a party), Bobby Flay (have to invite the caterer), my wife and kids (they’ve got to meet these guys, right?).

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Michael Colglazier, president of the Disneyland Resort, so I could run the park for a day.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been? New York City.

What is your proudest moment as a lawyer?
That time when my incarcerated client facing a felony charge as a habitual fourth offender burst into tears and hugged me after I told him that the prosecutor had agreed to dismiss his case and he would be released that afternoon.

What do you do to relax? Cook, listen to audiobooks and do historical research.

What word(s) do you overuse? I’ve been trying to remove words such as “but” and “however” from my vocabulary as I feel they tend to water down my position.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do? Fluently speak another language.

What is something most people don’t know about you?  I was a civil war reenactor from middle school through college, worked for Disneyland as a ride operator and was an engineer for NASA for a short time.

If you can help it, where will you never return?
Toledo, Ohio.

Speaking of Ohio, how do you feel about the voters there saying no to the legalization of marijuana?
It is unfortunate, but not terribly surprising to me that they did not legalize marijuana. The proposal would have monopolized marijuana in the state. Most who advocate for legalization want to open up the market, not restrict it. So I think a legalization measure allowing many more people a bite at the apple would have been successful.

What do you drive? 
A silver Toyota Camry and a silver Toyota Corolla.

What would you drive if money were no object? 2015 Corvette Z06.

Favorite place to spend money: Men’s Wearhouse and William’s Sonoma.

What is the best advice you ever received?  Don’t make a decision unless you absolutely have to.
 

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