About Us

We are champions for small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs.

We solve the challenges of innovators, focusing on founder and family-led businesses,
giving you the highest quality legal services at rates you can actually afford.

Our clients range from multi-million-dollar success stories to brand new startups, in spaces from software to entertainment to life sciences to fashion and ecommerce.

We’ll build your venture the solid foundation it needs — and help you protect your innovations in the marketplace.

  • Company formation and fundraising
  • Trademarks and intellectual property
  • Contract drafting and review
Who We Are

We’re not just lawyers, we’re entrepreneurs

We’ve built our own businesses from the ground up; in tech, media, entertainment, and legal. We’ve raised capital, grown revenue and profitability, and had the stresses of pitching to customers and making payroll. We always remember what it’s like to be in your shoes — because we’ve been there.

Tristan Snell

Founder, Managing Partner

Tristan’s work includes successes in some of the most high-profile legal matters of the century – including the prosecution of Trump University (leading to a $25 million settlement), the Broadcom v. Qualcomm patent litigation (the largest in US history at the time, with a $1.2 billion victory for Broadcom), and landmark deals with Chase, Wells Fargo, and Walmart, among others.

He has also started three businesses and served as a startup Product Manager, General Counsel, COO, and CEO, and he has represented dozens of startups and small to medium sized businesses, as well as early-stage venture funds, giving him a deep understanding of the special challenges facing high-growth businesses.

Tristan graduated from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, then received his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was an editor of the Virginia Law Review.  He later worked in the renowned intellectual property, appellate, and venture practices at WilmerHale, where he also worked on the Boumediene v. Bush team that won the first habeas writs for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  He served as a law clerk to the Hon. Eric N. Vitaliano, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, and as Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York as a civil prosecutor and investigator in consumer protection.

Tristan has appeared as a commentator on CNN and Cheddar, and as a contributing writer for CNN and the Washington Post.  His work as a lawyer and founder has been featured in a wide array of media outlets, from the New Yorker to the Atlantic to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Education:
A.B., Princeton
J.D., University of Virginia

Bar admissions:
New York, Massachusetts

Practice Areas:
business law, contracts, intellectual property, corporate, litigation

Alexis Scott Berkowitz

Counsel

Alexis Scott Berkowitz practices counseling, transactions, and dispute resolution, including litigation. She regularly provides “outside in-house counsel” services to small and medium businesses with a focus on clients in creative industries such as film, interactive media, publishing, and hospitality. Her varied background and experience allow her to provide sophisticated legal services that integrate legal and business considerations, which is particularly valuable to her start-up and entrepreneurial business clients.

Alexis is a graduate of Cornell Law School. She has previously practiced at several boutique firms as well as in-house, at not-for-profits, and in the litigation group of Shearman & Sterling, LLP, where she worked on a number of large-scale international internal investigations and landmark securities, white collar, and civil rights matters. She has received industry recognition and screen credit for her contributions, most recently being named as a “Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters’ “Super Lawyers” for the seventh year in a row.

Education:
A.B., University of Miami
J.D., Cornell

Bar admissions:
New York
Massachusetts

Practice Areas:
business law, contracts, litigation, corporate, employment

Julie Shields

Counsel

Julie Shields has been working in the intellectual property field for over thirty years. She majored in English Literature at the Johns Hopkins University, where she also played on the Women’s Varsity Basketball team. After graduating from Duke Law School, Julie litigated for Sheppard, Mullin in Los Angeles, CA. She has also worked for the US Patent & Trademark Office in Virginia for many years as a Trademark Examiner. Julie worked in-house for over a decade for a specialty finance consortium, most recently as Intellectual Property Director for YieldStreet. She has written a number of Intellectual Property textbooks for Matthew Bender and LEXIS/NEXIS about trademark law, copyright law, trade secret law, and patent law, and designed an on-line course for Lionbridge Media in intellectual property.

Julie also wrote the groundbreaking How to Avoid The Mommy Trap: A Roadmap For Sharing Parenting and Making It Work. She has given talks around the country, and appeared on MSNBC, NPR, USA Today Radio, the Voice of America, and in many other media outlets. Her articles and essays have been published in many places, including the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun.

Education:
A.B., John Hopkins
J.D., Duke

Bar admissions:
Washington D.C.

Practice Areas:
trademark, intellectual property

Bob Nichols

Counsel

Bob Nichols is a business attorney and a partner at a boutique law firm based in northern California.  He regularly counsels early-stage companies and founders on a range of issues, including business formation, governance, fundraising, M&A, commercial contracts, and other issues.  Bob keenly understands the challenges facing growing companies and offers practical, actionable advice to help his clients navigate legal matters large and small.

After graduating Georgetown Law, Bob worked on a range of transactional and litigation matters for Fortune 500 clients as an associate at Morrison & Foerster and Gibson Dunn in Washington, DC.  After nearly six years working on legal matters for big business, Bob moved to California in 2018, where he has enjoyed the dynamic, entrepreneurial work of helping startups and emerging companies achieve their goals.

Education:
A.B., Princeton
J.D., Georgetown

Bar admissions:
Washington D.C., California

Practice Areas:
business law, litigation, corporate, mergers and venture negotiations, financial litigation, antitrust