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Food and COVID-19: Regulatory Approaches to Secure the Food System During the Coronavirus Pandemic


Speaker(s): Lawrence H. Reichman, Thomas Tobin
Recorded on: Jul. 22, 2020
PLI Program #: 303505

Larry Reichman guides clients within such regulated industries as food and beverage, dietary supplements, tele- communications and energy in major initiatives and new market opportunities by resolving regulatory challenges, project impediments and related litigation. From guidance on label requirements for food and beverage products, including the unique mandates governing online sales and organic products, to advising on a major educational institution’s creation of a statewide broadband network, Larry introduces business practicality into his regulatory compliance counsel to global manufacturers, corporations, public utilities and entrepreneurs.

Food Regulatory Advice

Focused on keeping food and beverage manufacturers and retailers trouble-free on the health, safety, supply chain and regulatory fronts, Larry advises on all aspects of food regulation, including product labeling, food safety, licensing, registration and other issues. His counseling background includes regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of food, beverages, dietary supplements, over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics, as well as state and local regulation and licensing of food businesses.

Larry supports the expanding needs of leading players in the food, beverage, pet food, OTC drug and nutrition sectors, which include advice on regulatory-compliant mobile food apps, private label products, food recalls and cost-efficient approaches to food and product label review.

Telecom and Utilities Regulatory Advice and Litigation

The “regulation of wires and pipes” is another core area of Larry’s practice. He works with numerous public utilities and private companies operating in the telecommunications, electric, gas and water industries.

Areas of his counsel include utility acquisitions, rate regulation and facility siting, and he has decades of experience appearing before the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC). Larry was influential in one of the most successful appeals of a PUC order in Oregon history. He represented Qwest Corporation, now owned by CenturyLink, in the appeal and remand of its last general rate case in Oregon. The overall financial benefit of the reversal exceeded $500 million. Additionally, he represented Google Fiber in its development of a broadband network in Portland and Oregon State University in its proposed establishment of a new statewide broadband network. Larry also counsels property developers on innovative approaches to delivering communications, energy, water and other utility services and amenities to projects, including several large development projects in San Francisco.

In the energy sector, Larry has led clients through the process of permitting and siting of energy projects involving transmission, solar, wind and the sale of energy. Water rights and use, including NPDES permits, are also part of his practice.


Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false advertising claims and consumer protection claims for well-known international corporations. He regularly writes articles on food law and policy issues and is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Food, Cosmetics and Nutraceuticals Committee.

Tommy’s litigation background includes drafting complaints, dispositive motions, and other filings in high-stakes litigation as well as participating in depositions and case strategy. He also has experience assisting with internal investigations.

Maintaining an active pro bono practice, Tommy has represented clients in administrative appeals for public benefits, including food stamps, disability benefits, and veteran benefits. He also devotes time teaching a food law policy class at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy.

Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Tommy served as a law clerk to the Hon. Max O. Cogburn, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He holds degrees from Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and the Harvard Kennedy School. While earning his J.D., he served as president of the Harvard Food Law Society, was an online editor for the Harvard Law & Policy Review, and worked as a teaching fellow in the Harvard Economics Department.