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United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > Venture capital and emerging companies > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Venture capital and emerging companies
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame

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Leading lawyers

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Next Generation Partners

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Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Cooley LLP has a pre-eminent reputation in the venture capital and emerging company sphere for its broad industry expertise, its dominant presence in Silicon Valley, and its coast-to-coast geographic coverage. Start-up companies are cornerstone clients for the firm, especially from within the tech, life sciences, and cybersecurity sectors. The team represented Uber in a multibillion-dollar investment from a consortium of lenders led by SoftBank, and in another matter, the firm advised Rappi, an on-demand delivery company based in Latin America, on a $200m financing round. The group also advised online real estate marketplace Opendoor on the closing of its $325m Series E financing. Reston partner Mike Lincoln leads the business department, while Pat Mitchell in Boston and Matt Bartus in Palo Alto co-lead the emerging companies practice. Fred Muto in San Diego has established expertise in the life sciences sector. Jim Fulton in New York specializes in healthcare, biotechnology and tech matters. Palo Alto’s Mark Tanoury, who advised Snowflake Computing on its $263m Series E financing, is a prominent name in Silicon Valley. Eric Jensen, who has expertise in corporate securities, is also a key name in the Palo Alto office. In 2018 David Bartholomew left the firm to join cyber exposure company Tenable.

Fenwick & West LLP is widely recognised for its expertise in early-stage financings and growth company work. The team, which is predominantly based in Silicon Valley, is 'in a league of its own', according to a client. San Francisco and New York are other core hubs for the group. Technology and life sciences matters dominate the firm's workload, and it is also well known for handling cryptocurrency, digital health, and gaming mandates. Highlights included San Francisco-based partner Samuel Angus acting for software development company GitHub in its $7.5bn acquisition by Microsoft, while renowned practitioner Cynthia Hess advised technology fitness company Peloton on its $550m Series F financing, which was led by growth equity firm TCV. In another matter, Michael Esquivel advised mobile marketing platform AppLovin on its $400m investment from KKR. Gordon Davidson is another formidable practitioner, and other key partners include Mark Leahy, who shares leadership of the practice with Hess; Mark Stevens, who has established expertise in gaming sector mandates; and New York-based Kristine Di Bacco. Unless stated otherwise, named lawyers are based in Silicon Valley. Ted Wang has left the firm.

DLA Piper LLP (US)'s bicoastal practice has established a reputation in the venture capital space. Corporate venture matters forms the backbone of the team's workload, however the group also has an excellent reputation for advising on life sciences and tech matters. Highlights included advising SoftBank Vision Fund on its $300m Series D financing of Wag!, a Los Angeles-based startup providing mobile dog care services. Jeffrey Lehrer, based in Northern Virginia, and Silicon Valley’s Louis Lehot ('a master networker') share leadership of the practice group, which also includes Curtis Mo and Mark Radcliffe, both in Silicon Valley; Andrew Gilbert and Emilio Ragosa, who are based in New Jersey; and San Diego partner Randy Socol. Also recommended in San Diego is Richard Bull, who is instructed by emerging companies, venture capital firms and other strategic investors.

With offices in Boston, Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, Goodwin has a wide-ranging, bicoastal practice, which has an excellent reputation for its strength in the life sciences sector; tech is a supplementary area of expertise. The team represented online pharmacy PillPack in its high-profile acquisition by Amazon, and assisted Kensho Technologies with its $550m sale to S&P Global. It also advised Slack Technologies on its $427m Series H financing. Mitchell Bloom and Kingsley Taft, both based in Boston, share leadership of the life sciences team, while John Egan, Anthony McCusker in Silicon Valley, and Kenneth Gordon lead the technology practice. Boston-based Bill Schnoor, who advises robotics company Superpedestrian, is another key contact. Jonathan Axelrad has retired.

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Gunderson Dettmer LLP has vast experience representing start-ups and early-stage companies, and the sizable team, especially well regarded in Silicon Valley and New York, is also well known in Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego. In a major highlight, the team acted as international and M&A counsel to Flipkart in the acquisition of a 77% stake in the company (with an aggregate value of $16bn) by Walmart. The firm also advised Zymergen on its $400m Series C financing, which was led by SoftBank. Boston-based Richard Hesp, Greg Volkmar in New York, and Silicon Valley's Dan O’Connor share leadership of the practice. Firm founders Robert Gunderson and Scott Dettmer have excellent reputations in Silicon Valley, with other prominent names including Steven Franklin, Ward Breeze and Kenneth McVay in New York, and Jay Hachigian in Boston. In January 2019 David Gammell joined the Boston office from WilmerHale.

International law firm Latham & Watkins LLP's 'practical and responsive' team has a strong focus on the start-up, emerging company and venture capital sectors, and is well known for advising clients on the whole life-cycle of an emerging company. Recent work for the group includes advising Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a rare-disease therapeutics company, on its $63.5m Series B financing. The client roster includes Ginkgo BioWorks, ArcherDX, 4D Molecular Therapeutics and Impossible Foods. Key partners include Alan Mendelson, who is global chair of the life sciences industry group, and John Chory and Benjamin Potter, who share leadership of the emerging companies practice. Patrick Pohlen is also recommended.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has an excellent reputation for its prominence in biotech, medical devices and digital health, acting for a client base drawn from across Northern California, Boston and the Mid-Atlantic. Recent work highlights include acting for LiquidHub in its $500m acquisition by Capgemini, and advising Welltok on its $75m Series E-2 preferred stock financing. Michael Conza in Boston and Princeton-based Steven Cohen co-lead the practice, which includes Boston-based Julio Vega, who 'can anticipate issues before they arise and is outstanding at problem solving', and Joanne Soslow in Philadelphia. Senior counsel Tom Kellerman in Silicon Valley is noted for handling cross-border transactions for technology companies. In February 2018 William Perkins moved to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.'s Boston office.

Morrison & Foerster LLP garners praise for its 'incredible knowledge of the law', and has been particularly active in handling mandates from the healthcare and life sciences sectors, an example of which included Palo Alto's Timothy Harris advising RefleXion Medical on its $100m Series C preferred stock financing. The team also acted for Menlo Therapeutics in its $50.5m Series C financing led by venBio, a life sciences investment firm, and assisted the same client with its subsequent $137m IPO. San Francisco partner Murray Indick shares leadership of the practice with San Diego's Steve Rowles and Thomas Knox in Northern Virginia. Susan Mac Cormac is another key contact in San Francisco.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's 'super-responsive' team is very well known for advising a client base predominantly made up of US-based unicorn entities, and has core strength in handling tech, cybersecurity, fintech, and privacy mandates. Silicon Valley partners John Bautista and Harold Yu, alongside newly promoted partner Josh Pollick in Santa Monica, advised Stripe, a San Francisco fintech unicorn, and Goodwater Capital, a California venture capital firm, on investments into a $93m Series D financing round in Monzo, a digital and mobile-only English bank. Other clients include Pinterest, Getaround, ThoughtSpot and Twist Bioscience Corporation. In Silicon Valley, chairman of the global firm Mitchell Zuklie is a notable name, with other key contacts including Stephen Venuto and Don Keller. Peter Fusco is a key name in New York.

WilmerHale's practice is perhaps best known for its strength in life sciences, however the firm continues to build on its developing expertise in cryptocurrency, AI, fintech, and cybersecurity matters. The team acted for Adswizz, a digital audio advertising platform, in its high-profile acquisition by music discovery platform Pandora via a reverse triangular merger. Other clients include BioCatch, Flywire, Casa Systems and Immuta. Mick Bain, Lia Der Marderosian and Peter Buckland in Palo Alto co-chair the emerging company practice. Other key partners include Daniel Zimmermann in Palo Alto and Jason Kropp, who has expertise in public offering matters. Named lawyers are based in Boston unless stated otherwise. In January 2019 David Gammell moved to Gunderson Dettmer LLP's Boston office.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati enjoys a well-established reputation in the venture capital and emerging company sector, with an excellent track record for handling multibillion-dollar deals for later-stage emerging companies. Clients have included Tesla, Improbable and Gigamon. Firm chairman Larry Sonsini is renowned in the venture capital space; Steven Bochner is also very highly regarded. Jeffrey Saper and Michael Danaher are also key contacts.

Dentons' venture capital and emerging companies practice predominantly acts out of the New York, Bay Area, San Diego and Los Angeles offices, and is well known for being the only international law firm to have a dedicated office in New York’s Meatpacking District. Headed by New York-based Victor Boyajian the team has particular expertise in life sciences, AI, digital health, fintech, and cryptocurrency matters. The client base includes Zype, Saphyre, and Blumberg Capital. In New Jersey, John Cleary is well known for his expertise in medical device work, and Jeffrey Baumel is instructed by clients from the life sciences sector.

The 'very strong' team at Hogan Lovells US LLP has an established reputation for its expertise in healthcare and life sciences, and is adept at handling mandates from a wide range of sectors within the emerging growth company area. Work highlights include advising New Enterprise Associates as the lead investor in the $67m Series D financing of Centrexion Therapeutics; assisting Gilead Sciences with its investment in the Series A financing of Glympse Bio, which raised $22m; and representing Founders Fund in its Series A investment in Artificial Intelligence Foundation. Jon Layman, based in San Francisco, and Silicon Valley's Nathaniel Gallon, who has 'great business acumen', are the names to note. 

From its offices in Chicago, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Irvine (California), among other locations, Jones Day's team maintains a solid presence in the venture capital and emerging company sector. Key areas of strength for the firm include medical technology, healthcare, AI, life sciences, and cybersecurity. The group advised Cibus Global, a biotechnology company developing plant traits for the global seed industry, on its $70m Series C preferred stock financing, and in another matter, it acted for a health care investor regarding the $100m Series C preferred stock financing of RefleXion Medical, a medical technology company developing a biology-guided radiotherapy system for targeted cancer treatment. Michael Earley in Chicago and New York-based Andrew Levine share leadership of the practice. Other notable names include John Saada, Jr in Cleveland; Timothy Curry in the Bay Area; and Kenneth Polin and Taylor Stevens, both based in San Diego.

Choate, Hall & Stewart's Boston-based team is known for its solid expertise in tech and life sciences deals. Brian Goldstein advised Leerink Transformation Partners, a lead investor, on a $21m Series C financing of Aktana, and also assisted Cyteir Therapeutics with the closing of its $35m Series B preferred stock financing. Other clients include Cogito Corporation, Locus Robotics, and Lantos Technologies. Goldstein shares leadership of the practice with John Pitfield, and Brian Lenihan and Laurence Naughton are also names to note.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is well established across California, with lawyers operating from the Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County offices. Key areas of instruction for the team include life sciences, semiconductors, social and mobile gaming, and ad tech matters. Recent highlights included acting for TPG Capital as the lead investor in a $300m Series A financing of Allogene Therapeutics. Los Angeles partner Bradford Weirick leads the team, in which San Francisco-based Ryan Murr is another key contact. Gregory Davidson left the firm in June 2018.

With offices in Boston, California, Chicago, Miami, New York and Washington DC, McDermott Will & Emery LLP has a wide-ranging growth companies practice, which is noted for its strength in life sciences, tech, alternative energy, and healthcare matters. The firm is also well known for advising a number of Israeli start-ups. The team's client base includes Cellect Biotechnology, Lumiata, Virttu Biologics and Neurovance. Key figures in the group include Silicon Valley and Los Angeles based Mark Mihanovic and Samuel Wales, who is based in Washington DC. Albert Sokol is the name to note in Boston.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP's practice has particular strength on the West Coast, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, and  maintains a presence on the East Coast via its teams in New York and Northern Virginia. The group is very well known for assisting clients from the semiconductors sector, along with fintech, security, Internet of things, big data and e-commerce industries. Clients include Barefoot Networks, Shield AI, MycoTechnology and ACCO Semiconductor. Silicon Valley partner Jorge del Calvo and Christian Salaman in San Diego (noted for his 'exceptional level of confidence and sophistication') are key contacts.

King & Spalding LLP's practice operates from the firm’s offices in California, Atlanta, New York and Houston, and is very well known for its expertise in the life sciences and technology arenas. The 'very responsive' team, led by Laura Bushnell, recently advised HeartFlow on its Series E financing round, valued at $240m. The client roster also includes Microvi Biosciences, Apama Medical, YesVideo and Strobe. Judy O’Brien and Geoff Leonard, who is based in San Francisco, share leadership of the practice. Counsel Nathan Mihalik, based in Atlanta, is also a key contact. Unless otherwise stated, named attorneys are based in Silicon Valley.

From its solid base in California, O'Melveny & Myers LLP is very experienced in assisting tech sector clients with early- to later-stage financings. In 2019, Warren Lazarow, who is based in Silicon Valley, advised Gladly, a customer service technology platform, on its $50m Series D funding, bringing the company's total funding to $118m. The firm also assisted Augury, an AI-based machine health solution provider, with its acquisition of Alluvium, a start-up industrial analytics company. Other key names in the team include Silicon Valley-based Paul Sieben and life sciences expert Scott Elliott in San Francisco.

Reed Smith LLP is notably strong in advising life sciences, healthcare and software sector clients on early- to later-stage financing mandates. Pittsburgh partner Matthew Mohn leads the team. In Silicon Valley, Donald Reinke has established strength in the technology sector; associate LiLing Poh is known for representing early-stage companies and investors. Other key figures include Deborah Gunny and Michael Sanders, both of whom are based in Century City.

Acting from a solid base on the West Coast, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth's 'business-oriented' team is 'direct, efficient and commercially minded'. Highlights included Mark Skaist advising Acacia Research Corporation on a $10m investment in Miso Robotics’ Series B financing, and San Diego's Amit Singh acting for Ansun Biopharma in its $85 million Series A financing round led by Sinopharm Healthcare Fund and Lilly Asia Ventures. Singh also advised dock.io, a decentralized data exchange protocol, on its token sale, which raised $20m. Ryan Azlein is another name to note. Apart from Singh, the named lawyers are based in Newport Beach.

Primarily based in Austin, Vinson & Elkins LLP's practice has been kept busy handling investor-side mandates. Paul Tobias advised CognitiveScale on its $26m Series B-1 financing, and acted for Elsewhere Partners, as lead investor, in the $12m Series A financing of Statflo. Other clients include Teva Pharmaceuticals, SailPoint Technologies Holdings and Pensa Systems. Wes Jones and Milam Newby are other key contacts. William Volk has retired.

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