If it’s a legal issue, and it’s happened to a startup, there’s a good chance we’ve been there to see it happen first hand.
I spent the first six years out of law school representing the wealthiest of the wealthy at a big law firm. It paid well, but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.
After leaving the stable and cushy world of big law, I set my mind to starting a more nimble, accessible, and innovative legal practice focused on startups and businesses.
This was when I first felt what it was like to be an entrepreneur. Instead of drawing a regular paycheck from a steady job, I was left to fend for myself, with no paycheck amid a world of uncertainty. When I started, I had no clients — just an idea, a vision, and a passion to do something new. I volunteered at meetups and started my own meetup and wrote lots of blog posts and hoped that other similar-minded people would find me and see what I was trying to do.
And many companies have done just that.
Now we have a legal practice dedicated to business clients of many shapes and sizes. It’s grown to well in excess of 200 clients in all stages of growth. Some clients have raised millions, some have made millions, and a few have sold their businesses for big dollars. Others have carved out a niche in the world they love. We’ve now helped clients from formation to acquisition and most things in between.
Most importantly, I see our clients in and around town and I know that we’ve bent the world a small bit to make it more our own. And that’s what’s most satisfying of all.
I’ve been practicing law for more than ten years now (jeez, that makes me feel old), and I’ve never had more fun than I’m having now.
Before going to Duke Law in 2003, I was an English teacher in Barcelona, where I learned to speak Spanish and Catalan and get very excited about grown men playing soccer. Before that, I was a broke, struggling writer, having written for Rolling Stone online, the Chicago Sun-Times, the All-Music Guide, and Salon.com.
In my personal life, I’m a sub-3 marathoner and a sub-24 hour finisher at the Leadville 100-Mile Trail Run. I play guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmonica. I sing enthusiastically if not spectacularly.
I’m married to the wonderful Monica Gutierrez. I have two dogs named Eli and Addison. They will lick your face if you aren’t careful.
We fear most what we do not understand. That is why my approach to law is not just representation, but education. There are no guarantees or certain outcomes in business or in the law. But you should always be certain what your attorney is doing for you and why.
After graduating magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, I began my legal career at McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP in Washington, D.C. There, I worked on white-collar criminal defense and constitutional issues in the context of corporate liability.
Yet the core of the law is understanding how the courts operate and how judges think. Therefore, I spent my next several years learning just that: clerking for three federal judges and a justice of the Washington Supreme Court.
Utilizing that knowledge, I ran my own private practice for four and a half years, representing clients at in a variety of courts and capacities in the State of Washington. My civil practice focused on business law, employment issues, and constitutional violations.
Meanwhile, my personal life led to a choice: move to Colorado or live a lonely, miserable existence. Braving weather that involves snow and sunshine in the same day, I joined my partner in Denver, where she runs a non-profit literary organization, Tethered by Letters. Once here, I joined McCarthy Law, LLC—a firm that shares my dedication to fostering an informed clientele.
In addition to legal practice, I enjoy teaching at St. Martin’s University, where I instruct students—primarily military personnel and their families—in business law, education law, criminal justice, and economics. Teaching began as a natural outlet to further share my legal knowledge; now, it also informs my ability to explain matters to clients and connect with juries.
When I have the time, I enjoy writing fiction, reading better fiction, playing music poorly on various instruments, and searching out the best sushi in a landlocked state.