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Can anyone recommend good, reasonably-priced SF Bay Area corporate counsel?

As the title says, I am looking for inexpensive local counsel for standard corporate legal (contracts, etc.). I know that the words "SF Bay Area" and "inexpensive legal counsel" don't often travel together, but that's what we want. BTW, I'm not interested in "cheap but not so good".


Iain Crabb
Title: VP, Finance
(VP, Finance, ) |

We've used Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and found them to be reasonable, as it they don't nickel and dime. I wouldn't call them cheap but we didn't get bills that were out of line with the services provided. On that scale I would rate them well.

Ray Calabrese
Title: Treasurer
Company: Interim Treasurer
(Treasurer, Interim Treasurer) |
Try General Counsel Associates. I've used them for litigation and general corp matters. They're all ex-big firm guys, but the service is good, the advice is good and they're reasonable. They have an office in Palo Alto.
Greg Stout
Title: CTO
Company: Proformative
(CTO, Proformative) |

What do you consider to be inexpensive?

John Kogan
Title: CEO/CFO
Company: Proformative, Inc.
(CEO/CFO, Proformative, Inc.) |

Well, in SF Bay Area terms, that would be $400 or less per hour. I have found some independent practitioners around that level, but none with whom I have any direct experience.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

Try Ben Greenspan. He was my corporate counsel a couple of companies back. He's a former big firm partner who struck out on his own. He doesn't use associates so it's all senior advice but at prices that are at or below associate prices from some of the larger firms around. When it's too big for him he will work with or refer you to a larger firm - he works with them all. You can get him at bg2atgreenspan [dot] org or (415) 381-3283.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

Have you tried counsel outside of the Bay Area? I know it's not what you asked for, but you can find very competent counsel outside of the Bay Area who are also senior and familiar with your company's issues, but who cost half or less than what you pay in the Bay Area. We have someone out of state that we use on a lot of standard business items and it saves us thousands.

Julia Tanner
(, ) |

I am always interested in knowing which firms have good skill sets. Thanks.

Mark Stokes
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I was referred to a Victor Pollack at Fabian Law in SLC, Utah and have used him for some work, and also use a local firm called Enterprise Law which is a 3 partner group that is far less expensive than the "name brand" firms around here and yet still deliver very high quality work.

Anne Sutardji
Title: CFO/Controller
(CFO/Controller, ) |
There is no such thing as good but cheap corporate counsel but there are ways to work around it. I have used the team at Berliner Cohen since I founded my first company in the late 90s and here is how it works. Ask them to let the staff attorneys do the preparation and leg works, then have the big guys do the review work at the end. The staff attorneys cost much less ( between $275-$350/hr) but will get the majority of the works done.
Bob Farkas
Title: Consulting CFO
Company: Crestview Associates, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Consulting CFO, Crestview Associates, LLC) |
I recommend Pat Donnici. He has broad business and corporate background and is a sole practioner. His hourly rate is well below $400. Here is his contact info Patrick M. Donnici A Professional Corporation Attorney & Counselor at Law 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 940 San Francisco, California 94104 Telephone: 415.986.1338, ext. 149 Facsimile: 415.986.1231 email:
Thomas Reid
Title: Chief Financial Officer
(Chief Financial Officer, ) |
I would suggest you consider Smithline Jha LLP from San Francisco. They are a growing firm and they have flexible billing plans. I used them at my last company and would use them again.
Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |
You should look at Axiom Legal as they have gathered a great group of attorneys who are from large law firms but are working for Axiom. Axiom proivdes there services at a lower rate (sub $300) as they dont have the overhead of a big law firm.
Alexander Haislip
Title: Author
Company: Independent
(Author, Independent) |

A lot of Silicon Valley law firms will help a small company get off the ground if they imagine there's a big payday some time in the future. Sometimes that translates into warrants swapped for billable hours, other times it's good will and a tacit understanding that you'll use the firm when you become a large company and have tons of billable hours later.

I've had good experiences with Gunderson, F&W and Orrick. Generally, you want to connect with whoever at the firm regularly deals with startups--Orrick, for example, has a whole team dedicated to this. They're usually willing to cut a deal if you ask nicely or have a good relationship with the team lead.


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