I have spent nearly my entire legal career helping startups.
It’s just something I enjoy doing. Startups are great clients because they tend to be filled with smart, passionate people who are doing exciting (and often cutting edge) things in an environment that I really enjoy.
I am a corporate/securities attorney that represents startups and emerging growth companies throughout their lifecycle, from incorporation, through financing to an acquisition or IPO. I counsel founders on forming their companies, setting up equity structures, negotiations with seed and VC investors for equity and convertible note financings, and dealing with employment and IP matters. In most cases, I act as outside general counsel to my clients. People that are thinking about starting a company often ask if it’s too early to work with me. The short answer is no — earlier is often better because we can head off some common mistakes.
Some of the recent clients that I have advised include Automattic (WordPress), WordPress Foundation, 500Friends, VIKI, Copilot, Ness Computing, Curebit, Getable, Gumroad, Kitchit, Madefire, Mobotap (Dolphin Browser), Quarterly, Scan, Sojo Studios, Videogenie, Hawthorne Labs, Xuropa, JobFlo, WageWorks, CamelBak, Yakima, Solera Networks and Ribbit.
I have also represented many leading VC firms over the years, including Allegis Capital, Alsop-Louie Partners, Collaborative Fund, Khosla Ventures, Opus Capital, North Bridge Venture Capital, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Peninsula Ventures, Azure Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Foundation Capital, IDG Ventures SF, and FTV Capital.
I also focus on M&A transactions dating back to my time in New York. I have worked on M&A transactions of all sizes and types, from very small (under $5 million) to very large (over $20 billion).
For the type of work I do, there is no reason to “specialize” in a particular industry. The clients that I have represented operate in a broad spectrum of industries, including internet, life sciences/biotechnology, medical devices, consumer products, financial services, clean-tech/renewable energy, and software. However, I am personally very interested in anything to do with software, internet/web, consumer products, social media and mobile, and love representing these types of companies.
I’ve recently been noted as a Great Web Startup Lawyer and a “Social” Lawyer. You can also read some of the things my clients have said about me. I also act as pro bono legal counsel to StartX (formerly SSE Labs program), a startup incubator that is affiliated with Stanford University, and act as legal counsel to many companies in that program.
Where I do it…
I am currently a Partner at Cooley LLP. Before Cooley, I was a Partner at other startup firms, including Gunderson Dettmer. I started my legal career in New York at Sullivan & Cromwell in the M&A department. While I was doing really high-profile deals, it wasn’t for me and in 1999 I packed up and moved to California to work with startups.
On a personal note…
I currently live in Silicon Valley with my wife and two little boys. I grew up in Connecticut and attended NYU Law. Luckily for me, my father was also a gadget freak, so growing up we had lots of great computers like the TRS-80, Commodore 64, Apple ][ and an original IBM PC, where I learned to program BASIC and other tricks. My love of technology dates back to the early 1980s.