Starting a company is difficult business - and one aspect entrepreneurs often underestimate is the need for a great legal team behind you. Whether it's raising a round, adding a board member, or dealing with founder issues, a good legal team will make your life easier.
I recently met individually with 10 tech CEOs/Co-Founders, and asked them who they currently use for counsel, who they've used in the past, and most important - which firms they had the best experience with. Here is what I learned.
Perkins Coie (Buddy Arnheim, Michael Glaser): Perkins Coie has spent the past couple of decades working hard to build out the top Venture Capital practice in the Valley. Buddy and Michael are known to have deep relationships in the Venture Capital community, and are knowledgeable about every type of transaction an early stage company can go through. More important, they are known to be able to grow companies all the way to and through IPO stage.
Mandell Law Group (Doug Mandell): Doug Mandell is an attorney in San Francisco who runs a boutique law firm that specializes in representing startups, founders and senior executives personally. Doug was formally with the law firm Orrick and has been general counsel of three startups, including the first GC at LinkedIn and the first lawyer to represent LinkedIn when the company was founded. Doug is well known within the startup CEO community, and represents some of the top executives in the Valley.
Goodwin Procter (Anthony McCusker): Goodwin Procter is another firm that has spent a significant amount of time developing relationships in the Venture Capital and entrepreneur community. Goodwin is known to specialize in helping companies close funding rounds quickly, relatively inexpensively and efficiently. Goodwin also created a resource for founders to assist them as their company grows.
Morrison & Foerster (Timothy Harris): Morrison & Foerster - known to entrepreneurs as "MoFo" is known to be another startup/entrepreneur friendly firm. Perhaps the thing that separates MoFo is how founder-friendly they are at the absolute earliest stages of company formation (pre-seed-stage). I spoke to one founder from Y Combinator's latest class, who used MoFo for all of his corporate formation docs before he joined YC.
Picking a law firm is tough, but important. Picking the right law firm can make a difference during times of duress and times of success for companies. Hopefully this list can be used as a resource for entrepreneurs considering starting tech companies.