Office

San Francisco

The innovation economy began in Northern California. We opened our first office in 1995 with six partners and the understanding that technology was about to take a primary position in the global economy. Today, our Northern California presence has grown to over 300 team members, including more than 175 attorneys working seamlessly between our offices in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Progress can be stalled out by complacency, and so we do everything we can to push our clients forward. We ask questions. We learn. We seek to uncover what’s next.

To that end, we’re singularly focused on the rapidly evolving industries that drive the innovation economy and hire talent eager to be a part of that change. We help our company and fund clients position themselves optimally for long-term stakeholder returns and navigate the complexities of financings, strategic transactions, M&A and public offerings.

Our Northern California team serves as outside general counsel to over 1,200 pioneering private and public companies in every high-growth industry, from B2B and B2C software to consumer products, from financial technology and web3 to media and entertainment, and from biotechnology to digital health. Since 2020 our Northern California team closed over 2,000 financings raising over $80 billion in fresh capital, handled thousands of licensing and other strategic transactions, bought and sold scores of companies, supported IPOs and other capital markets transactions, and ensured these clients could attract and retain the best talent in a tight labor market.

The spark of an idea can change the world—and that idea requires investment. We represent more top-tier venture capital and growth equity funds in their fund formation and investment activities than any other law firm in the world. Our fund formation partners, led by the world’s preeminent fund attorney and NorCal partner Steve Franklin, are internationally recognized for their work and routinely negotiate 1/3 of every venture dollar raised worldwide.

Further, as the life sciences industry has established itself as a significant player in the world economy, we have grown our own capacity to support its needs. Our clients in this industry are deeply ingrained in technology, from producing life-saving medical devices and diagnostics to improving healthcare IT. Our focus on life sciences has powered immense growth in the firm and we provide a range of services to our life sciences clients – from financing and capital markets support, to licensing, strategic partnering, and collaboration, often opposite some of the most prominent life science companies in the world

As would be expected from a firm that is so highly focused, our lawyers in Northern California are recognized for their leadership. Brian Patterson, corporate partner and Management Committee member, was named as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by American Lawyer Media in 2019 and 2020. Natalie Pierce, chair of the employment practice, has received numerous accolades, including 2020 Women in Law Award by Lawyer Monthly Magazine. Consistent with prior years, Chambers & Partners recognized eight Northern California partners in its 2022 rankings: Bob Gunderson, Scott Dettmer and Ivan Gaviria in the Startups & Emerging Companies and Venture Capital categories; Steve Franklin and Sean Caplice in the Venture Capital Fund Formation category; Jeff Vetter in the Capital Markets category; Tom Villeneuve in the Technology Transactions category; and Sharon Hendricks in the Executive Compensation category. Firm Managing Partner David Young is recognized by Legal 500 as a Leading Lawyer. Our Northern California practice is also annually acknowledged as Tier 1 in the Corporate Governance Law, Corporate Law, Employee Benefits Law, Private Equity Law, Mergers & Acquisitions Law, and Venture Capital Law categories.

OUR WORK

Our team has preeminent experience in what are the most important strategic needs of high growth companies and venture capital and growth equity funds:

Company Representation: Forming, Scaling & Maturing

  • Entrepreneurs and emerging company representation
  • Pre-venture, venture and growth equity financings for private companies
  • Corporate governance and strategy for private and public companies
  • Licensing, strategic partnering and commercial transactions
  • Life sciences licensing and strategic partnering transactions
  • Debt financing and secured transactions
  • Data privacy and compliance issues
  • Tax issues

Fund Representation: Accessing & Deploying Capital

  • Venture capital and growth equity fund formation, operations and compliance
  • Venture capital fund portfolio investments
  • Growth equity fund investments, both early-stage and late-stage

Exits & Public Markets

  • Mergers and acquisitions, both sell-side and buy-side
  • IPOs and direct listings
  • Capital markets and ongoing public company representation

Attracting & Retaining Talent

  • Executive compensation needs for private and public companies
  • Labor and employment issues for companies and funds

BEYOND THE WORK

From the firm’s launch in Silicon Valley, we saw a future where technology took a primary position in the global economy and made an indelible impact on our world. To help support the innovation economy, we have a long history of working with numerous leading accelerators, regional organizations, universities and nonprofits. For example, we are proud to be founding sponsors of National Venture Capital Association’s (NVCA) Venture Forward, an organization aimed at increasing diversity in the venture capital community. Our team also actively works to increase diversity through involvement in BLCKVC, African American Directors Forum, Bridge Conference and other impactful organizations supporting success for underrepresented founders, investors and board directors.