Startup Lawyers List

When you start a company, you want to surround yourself with excellent advisors. Tech startups come with their own quirks and gotchas so it’s useful to work with someone who is not just a good corporate attorney, but has a passion for working with startups and the experience to match. Back in 2010, after a back-and-forth with VC Mark Suster and a few other entrepreneurs, I created this list. It was built from direct recommendations from entrepreneurs across North America.  Most of the lawyers are general corporate attorneys and I’ve tried to list when someone is a specialist for M&A or IP. If you have a comment about a lawyer on this list, or you want to suggest a new name, please email me at giff(dot)constable @gmail. As this list gets older, some of the names might move or retire, but I think you’ll find that these firms are solid ones.

For a great post on working with a startup lawyer, see Mark Suster’s  blog here. When looking, talk to more than one and pick the lawyer that is not just great at his/her job, but is also a good personality fit.

The referrals on this page are only from entrepreneurs.  Here is the suggested criteria any recommendation should pass:

  • has a practice with several Web startups, and understands startup issues
  • keeps billable hours reasonable, respecting cash of clients
  • is both an excellent lawyer and communicator
  • does not lose sight of business needs when thinking through legal issues
  • truly cares about representing your business (without conflicts of interests with VCs or other)


DLA Piper
Douglas Spear, Partner


Egan Nelson
José Ancer
Extra comments: “While being lean and responsive, via legal tech, is a big part of their value proposition, another thing that makes his firm unique is that they don’t represent a single Tech VC.”

Spross & Associates
Brian Spross
Extra comments: “fantastic work, also helped with negotiations; excellent on contracts and M&A”


Goodwin Procter
David Cappillo, Partner

Morse Barnes-Brown Pendleton
Mary Beth Kerrigan, Member

VC Ready
Michael Cohen
Benjamin Hron

Boulder / Denver

Rubicon Law Group
Ryan Howell


Woodvale Partners
Bob Smith, Partner
Extra Comments: “Bob is not only an excellent attorney, he is also a very good businessman and great negotiator.”


Phillips & Reiter
Aaron Woo

Los Angeles

Buchalter Nemer
Donald Lee, Partner

DLA Piper
David Young, Partner

Reicker, Pfau, Pyle & McRoy (Santa Barbara)
Michael Pfau, Partner

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles
Scott Alderton, Partner

Walker Corporate Law Group
Scott Edward Walker, CEO


Lommen Abdo
Bradley Lehrman


blue HF
Frédéric Dionne

Borden Ladner Gervais
Jonathan Dorval, Partner

New York

Cooley LLP
Jim Fulton, Partner in Charge

Egan Nelson
Jeremy Raphael, Partner
Extra Comments: “They’re super transparent, honest, and helpful. Incredibly responsive as well and he and his team really care about our success.”

Gunderson Dettmer
Steven Baglio, Partner, M&A
Brian Hutchings, Partner
Ken McVay, Partner

Hrbek Law
Camille Linson, Of Counsel


Taney Legal
Frank Taney, Principal
Extra comments: “He works very hard to keep billed hours to a minimum, and is always willing to go the extra mile for his clients.”


Cohen & Grigsby
David Kalson, Director


McNaul Ebel
William Carleton, Partner
Extra Comments: “has been a fantastic attorney for us”

The Point Law Group
Louis Carbonneau, Founder, IP Law
Extra Comments: “Louis thinks like a businessman, and thinks of ways to get to ‘yes.’ He communicates well with both sides of the table, and is a good strategic advisor.”

Silicon Valley

Cooley LLP
Matthew Bartus, Partner
Extra Comments: “not only is he strategic and shrewd as a chief counsel, but he has honestly become one of our most important advisors and a true friend of our team… I’m certain Matt only bills 1/5th of the hours he invests in us.”; “I’ve worked with Matt on a number of transactions as an investor and entrepreneur and he’s always been blindingly quick to respond, shrewd in his analysis, and an all around good guy.”

Fenwick & West
Sam Angus, Partner
Matthew Quilter, Partner
Sayre Stevick, Partner

Fortis General Counsel
Robert Dang, Partner
Joyce Lan Kim, Of Counsel
Joey Tran, Partner
Extra comments: “most startup-friendly lawyers I have found”

Gunderson Dettmer
Scott Dettmer, Partner
Extra comments: “great startup advisor who also happen to be lawyer”

Latham & Watkins
Patrik Polhen, Partner

Mitchell Zuklie, Partner
Extra comments: “great advisor”

Jorge del Calvo, Partner
Tom Thomas, Partner

Silicon Legal
Andre Gharakhanian

Wilson Sonsini
Yoichiro Yaku, Partner


Hyndman Law
Rob Hyndman
Extra comments: “great understanding of the tech start-up process and has been legal council on key aspects of our corporate structuring and capital raising initiatives”; “Rob knows my issues inside and out (tech IP, HR, etc) from the point of view of the tech industry; Incredibly easy to work with, much more reasonable rates; Can’t say enough good things.”; “invaluable in the creation and organization of our start-up. His advice excels in that it is both legal-smart and people-smart.”

Labarge Weinstein
James Smith, Partner

Venture Law Associates
Suzanne Williams, Partner

Washington D.C.

Cooley Godward
Mike Lincoln, Partner

Holland & Knight
Eric Wechselblatt, Partner (Northern VA)

Joseph Tiano, Partner