We’re a boutique corporate, securities, and technology firm with Seattle and Silicon Valley practices. All our lawyers have had significant operating roles at technology startups, plus significant big-firm, in-house, and entrepreneurial experience.
Having deep operating experience gives us unique perspective and judgment, which makes a qualitative difference in counseling growing businesses. We combine high-end, big-firm legal expertise with the practical business judgment that comes from actually having run companies.
We’ve served as chief operating officers, chief financial officers, and general and senior counsels in both private and public companies. We’ve founded and held operating roles within startups, and we've gained valuable practice experience within large national law firms. We’ve raised VC and angel money for our own companies, and we've sold them when the time was right. We get it. We understand you because we have been—and still are—you.
The team at Beacon Law Advisors has extensive hands-on operating experience as corporate, transactional, and technology attorneys. We focus on assisting emerging technology firms—from both legal and business perspectives—in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
We've worked in the trenches for many different companies, so we have actual operating experience that gives us a more practical business perspective. Our approach is pragmatic, not ivory tower.
This unique accumulated experience enables Beacon Law to efficiently and effectively deliver legal and business advice that is creative, customized, and always highly focused on our clients’ business objectives. We work to quickly understand your business model at a fundamental level and to help you execute on that model as your business grows to the next level.
When you work with us, you’ll see our value as we function as an extension of your company’s senior management team. Our clients have come to rely on us not just as excellent legal tacticians, but as valuable strategic partners.
We've also managed budgets, so we understand your need for predictable and flexible billing arrangements. By leveraging technology and lowering our overhead, we can tailor fee arrangements to the needs of our clients, while providing top-notch legal representation.
We do not operate on the traditional pyramid structure. Instead, our experienced attorneys work efficiently and interact directly with our clients—we don't train junior lawyers on the client’s dime. Beacon Law is here to give you a superior product delivered on time and on budget.
With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, we offer our clients comprehensive legal counsel.
The experts at Beacon Law Advisors extend your management team by offering pragmatic tactical and strategic (when appropriate) advice based on our personal operating experience.
We've worked in the trenches for many different companies, so we have actual operating experience, which gives us a more practical business perspective.
All the attorneys at Beacon Law Advisors have deep experience in several related core areas. We each started with a corporate and securities foundation, and then added further expertise in tax, IP, employment, debtor/creditor, commercial, and licensing agreements. We deal in-depth with several of these overlapping arenas every single day. Thus, we can apply our superb technical expertise—tempered by our operating experience and deal judgment from our corporate and securities foundation—in a way that is custom fit for your needs, delivered as frictionlessly as possible, and with relatively fewer cycles.
Corporate finance, Venture capital, Mergers and acquisitions, Equity financing, Debt financing, Joint ventures, Corporate governance
Mergers and acquisitions, Founders’ issues, Corporate tax, Partnership tax, Fund formation, Equity incentives, Executive compensation, Estate planning
SaaS, PaaS, IaaS agreements; TOS; Privacy policies; End-user license agreements; IT outsourcing; Product, distribution, supplier deals; Office leases
Licensing, Technology transactions, Patent licensing, Trademarks, Copyrights, Privacy, Joint ventures
Workouts, Debt collection, Secured lending, Equipment financing, Bankruptcy strategy
Hiring and firing, Equity incentives, Counseling, Regulatory compliance, Employee benefits, Executive compensation
Our Corporate and Securities core, plus the few-but-comprehensive adjacencies, lets us provide the highest level of expertise in the dosage form appropriate to the situation.
The lawyers at big law firms can be prisoners of the inflexible, high-fixed-cost structure. Not us.
The big-firm pyramid structure makes it impossible for them to cost-effectively deliver the appropriate expertise in the right dosage to their clients. Their lack of actual operating experience and narrow specialization too often results in heavy-handed, friction-causing, impractical, and expensive advice.
Beacon Law Advisors does not operate on the traditional pyramid structure. Instead, our firm is rectangular—in other words, comprised of experienced attorneys who work efficiently and interact directly with our clients, rather than training junior lawyers on the client’s dime. With Beacon Law Advisors, you can get a superior product delivered on time and on budget.
Big law firms have expensive space, junior attorneys/staff, and high payrolls. This means high fixed costs. Accordingly, big law firms have to chase revenue to cover these costs. This causes them to be indiscriminate in client intake, because they need revenue—any kind of revenue—to pay their big monthly overhead. Thus, they bring in business—any kind of business—and quickly push the work down the pyramid to inexperienced junior lawyers. All too frequently, this discourages efficiency, creativity, and custom solutions. It also wastes clients’ time and money. In the end, clients are frustrated and have to fight to get attention.
Many big law firms create silos within their departments, keeping tax, intellectual property, licensing, employment, and corporate and securities departments separate from one another. The corporate and securities lawyer, however, typically has the closest ongoing relationship with you—the client—and she should have the greatest visibility into and familiarity with your business.
This silo problem flares up when the corporate lawyer needs to bring in, for example, the tax specialist or the IP specialist because a matter falls outside her core competency. Too often, these specialists lack the judgment to apply their expertise in the appropriate form—which results in poor advice, delays, added expenses, frustration, and, at worst, lost deals. Since the big-firm corporate and securities lawyer doesn’t have expertise in, for example, tax law, then she won’t be able to manage, rein in, or even understand the value of the tax specialist. When it comes to practicing law, experience without expertise can be dangerous. The corporate lawyer is a generalist, so more often than not, she’ll defer to the specialist without question or concern. And that isn’t good for the client.
All the attorneys at Beacon Law, by contrast, are deep in several related core areas. We each started with a corporate and securities foundation, and then added further expertise in tax, IP, employment, debtor/creditor, and commercial and licensing agreements. We deal in-depth with several of these overlapping arenas every single day. Thus, we can apply our superb technical expertise—tempered by our operating experience and deal judgment from our corporate and securities foundation—in a way that is custom fit for your needs, delivered as frictionlessly as possible, and with relatively fewer cycles.
Another happy byproduct of this “deep-in-several-related-core-areas” approach is that it further helps us manage our fixed costs, so we can keep our focus on our clients.
Contact us today to learn more about the value we can offer your business. There’s no obligation or fee to start the conversation.
Chris Hurley has been working with technology start-ups for more than 20 years. Chris began his career as a corporate lawyer with Gray Cary (now DLA Piper) in Palo Alto in 1993, advising technology start-ups in all aspects of their business. In 1998, Chris moved to Seattle and joined Venture Law Group as a senior attorney working intimately with his technology start-up clients.
During his career, Chris has worked closely with more than 200 technology start-ups, closed well over 200 private placement financings (mostly company-side; some investor-side), closed well over 100 acquisitions (mostly sell-side; many buy-side), closed countless licensing and distribution deals, and closed more than 8 IPOs (mostly issuer-side; some underwriter-side). Chris has worked with an array of companies, including mobile software, data analytics, gaming, social networking, media, networking, software, medical device, and biotech companies, among others.
In August 2000, Chris joined one of his mobile software clients as chief operating officer/interim CFO and employee number three. This company was unfunded at the time. Chris was instrumental in raising $8.5 million in angel and VC funding in a very difficult fundraising environment. The company successfully closed its sale to a Canadian public company in October 2003. Chris then co-founded Beacon Law in November 2003.
Chris received his B.A. in Classics, magna cum laude, from the University of New Hampshire, his J.D. (cum laude) from Boston College Law School, his M.B.A. in Finance from Boston University’s Graduate School of Management, his LLM in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law, and his LLM in Intellectual Property from the University of Washington School of Law. Chris is a member of the California and Washington bars.
Noel Howe has been working closely with technology start-ups for about 20 years. During that time, Noel has been at big law firms, a public company, a venture-backed wireless start-up, and now at a boutique corporate and securities firm. As a result of these experiences, Noel has multiple perspectives on most issues facing technology start-ups. He is able to apply his experiences in a practical way, and gives pragmatic advice to help his clients achieve their goals.
During his career, Noel has closed numerous private-equity and debt financings (mostly company-side), M&A transactions, and commercial/licensing agreements. In addition to his extensive transactional experience, Noel has deep corporate governance, equity compensation, licensing and commercial agreements, employment, and protection of intellectual property experience. Noel has worked with companies in a wide variety of industries, including software, wireless, biotech, medical devices, e-commerce, and clean tech.
Noel started his career in 1995 at Gray Cary/DLA Piper in San Diego as a member of the corporate and securities and intellectual property and technology practice groups. In 1999, Noel moved to Seattle and joined Venture Law Group/Heller Ehrman, where he worked almost exclusively with venture-backed technology start-ups. In 2002, Noel joined Corixa Corporation (a public biotech company), where he spent the next three years working closely with the senior management team on a wide variety of corporate and commercial transactions, managing ’34 Act reporting and compliance, protecting the company’s intellectual property assets, advising the sales and marketing groups, and closing numerous licensing and commercial transactions.
After Corixa was acquired in 2005, Noel took a senior management position at Melodeo, Inc. (a venture-backed wireless start-up), where he was vice president and general counsel. In addition to fulfilling his role as a member of the senior management team, Noel helped Melodeo close a China joint-venture, a financing transaction, and numerous wireless operator, OEM, and other licensing transactions, and ultimately was outside counsel in Melodeo’s sale to HP.
Noel received his B.S. in geological sciences (with honors) from University of California at Santa Barbara in 1990 and his J.D. from University of California at Davis in 1995. Noel is a member of the Washington and California State bars. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.
Chris Bifone has been counseling established and emerging technology companies for more than 20 years, in both in-house and external roles. During his career, he has worked with clients in a broad spectrum of transactions from startup to exit, advising entrepreneurs on general corporate structuring matters, seed stage financings, venture capital financings, corporate partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions, and has extensive experience in counseling clients on licensing, business-process and technology outsourcing, telecommunications, application development, and general commercial agreement matters.
Chris joined Beacon Law from Corporate Counsel Solutions, PLLC, a technology-focused and boutique law practice based in Seattle. Prior to CCS, Chris worked at JPMorgan Chase, where he was vice president and assistant general counsel of the IP & Technology Law Group. Chris also supported their Global Technology Infrastructure group on a wide variety of technological matters, including the structuring and negotiation of software licensing, IT infrastructure, telecommunications, technology managed services, and domestic and offshore outsourcing agreements. Before that, Chris served as legal counsel and director of corporate development at Onvia. While there, he helped close the company’s mezzanine financing round, led them through a $230M initial public NASDAQ offering, and closed several private and public acquisitions. Earlier in his career, Chris was a lawyer in the Corporate and Securities practice at the San Diego and Palo Alto offices of Gray Cary (now DLA Piper).
Chris received his B.S. in business from Indiana University and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky School of Law, where he was associate editor of the Kentucky Law Journal. Chris is also a member of the California and Washington state bar associations. He lives in the Seattle neighborhood of Queen Anne with his wife and three young children.
John graduated in 1999 from Gonzaga University with a degree in Business Administration, concentrating on Finance and Operations Management. In 2006, he graduated from Willamette University College of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and an Editor of Willamette Law Online. In 2011, John graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law & Policy, earning an Outstanding Student Award. Prior to joining Beacon Law, John practiced law at NW Venture Law, advising small technology start-ups on intellectual property protection and enforcement issues.
John is a member of the Washington State Bar and is admitted to practice in the Western and Eastern U.S. District Courts of Washington.
Shane Anderson has represented companies, investors, and entrepreneurs dealing with start-up matters, private equity and debt financings, credit facilities, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate governance. Prior to joining Beacon Law, Shane practiced corporate and securities law at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. He graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 2011, where he was an Editor of the Texas Law Review. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington in 2005.
Shane is a member of the Washington State Bar. He lives in the Seattle neighborhood of Queen Anne with his wife.
Tony received his B.A. in history, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from the University Of Washington School Of Law, where he was the Articles Editor for the Washington Law Review.
Prior to joining Beacon, Tony was a legal intern at the W Fund where he worked on securities, tax, and intellectual property issues. Tony also served as a legal intern at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Corporation Finance where he reviewed securities filings of technology companies. In addition to his experiences in corporate and securities law, Tony has also interned at BECU where we worked on compliance with banking laws, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Truth in Lending Act.
Tony is a member of the Washington State Bar. When he is not practicing law, Tony enjoys fishing, hiking, and playing his guitar.
Tiffani has been working with Beacon Law for over three years. She graduated in 2014 from Central Washington University where she studied Law and Justice, and Business Administration. She is currently working on completing her Paralegal Plus certificate and is expected to finish in spring of 2015.
“Our company chose to work with Chris Bifone after a recommendation from one of our VC investors, who works with Chris on a few of his other portfolio companies. Chris is incredibly responsive and thoughtful. And importantly, he’s practical and business-minded. He’s our go-to lawyer for complex platform-licensing deals and other matters, ranging from website terms of service to data privacy and security. I highly recommend Chris to any technology entrepreneur looking for a top-notch corporate lawyer and trusted advisor.”Jason Liu Chief Financial Officer, Upsight
“I strongly recommend the team at Beacon. Noel and the rest of the Beacon team really understand startups—they have a knack for giving us the support we need, when we need it, and in the right dosage. Noel executed flawlessly on our venture financing—helping to engineer a smooth and efficient closing. They also do a great job on our commercial deals. If you’re an entrepreneur and need high-quality, practical legal help, you should talk to the guys at Beacon.”Mike McSherry CEO, Swype
“I cannot say enough good things about our experience with Chris and Beacon Law. We have recommended the team at BLA dozens of times to startups at any stage. Chris patiently guided us through incorporation, trademarks, an angel round, and all the way through our company’s acquisition. Every step of the way he gave us spot-on advice from the perspective of a veteran attorney, as well as the invaluable insight of someone who had been in the entrepreneur’s hot seat himself. Chris and the team are simply the best!”Rob Perrier Co-Founder, Adometry
“We have worked with the BLA team since our company’s inception over five years ago. At every stage of our growth and development—through financings, M&A deals, and countless commercial transactions—BLA has provided pragmatic, grounded advice and proven to be not just great lawyers, but an invaluable sounding board on business issues of all sorts. I highly recommend the gang at BLA!”Ian Thompson General Counsel, SeaMobile/MTN
“Our startup was recently acquired by a Fortune 500 company, and a great deal of our success was thanks to Chris Hurley.Chris worked with us for three years starting shortly after the company was founded, and as a result was present during many of the phases of a growing startup. His experience was invaluable in a wide range of business issues—advice on contracts, decisions on corporate structure, negotiating with partners, fundraising initiatives, and the nuts and bolts of running a company. He always exceeded our expectations.I’ve worked with many attorneys who had to be schooled on software issues, but not Chris. He understands the unique needs of the software business, from drafting our Terms of Service and licensing agreements, advising on intellectual property issues, and dealing with piracy and takedown requests.Chris is an excellent lawyer. But just as importantly, he is a wonderful advisor, especially to a Seattle startup. He has an extensive network both in Seattle and in the technology sector, and many times referred us to other professionals in accounting and venture capital, as well as to other specialists. He and his team have hands-on operational experience that really makes a difference in understanding the real-world needs of a startup.When it comes time to sell a company, an entrepreneur has a fire hose of issues to deal with simultaneously, and it can be quite stressful and complicated. Because of Chris’s pragmatism, common sense, and grace under pressure, I felt much more comfortable vetting all the rapid-fire decisions through him. He was extremely responsive and reliable throughout the process, and his advice helped lead to an optimal outcome for the company and me.Chris is very personable, honest, and easy to work with, which is no small thing. It made it a pleasure to spend time in consultation with him, as well as feeling that each time I did so, I had strengthened the business.We were always grateful to have him on our side. He is simply the best.”John Musser Founder and CEO, ProgrammableWeb
“WOW. Thank goodness I found Beacon Law Advisors when I did. Every member of the team is so thoughtful and helpful in every step of starting my business. In the first few weeks of working with them, we’ve established my LLC, written detailed contracts for clients and contractors, set aggressive (but attainable) goals for growth, initiated the trademark process and dodged a potential lawsuit. Whew! Your efforts have built my confidence that I’m making the right decisions in building my empire.”Christine Allard Founder and CEO, ZoomPop
“Chris was a key part of the Onvia team from its earliest days, through three rounds of venture financing, countless customer deals, our IPO, and post-IPO acquisitions. Chris’s advice was always practical and dead-on, and his execution was top-notch. I strongly recommend Chris and Beacon Law Advisors!”Kristen McLaughlin Co-Founder and former Chief Strategy Officer, Onvia
“I’ve worked with Chris and BLA for over five years and in connection with four different companies, each from inception through exit. They do a great job on the legal side, but bring a whole lot more to the table than that. They are extremely valuable in the fundraising process—helping with board and shareholder relations, negotiating key customer deals—and especially in the acquisition process. They give great advice and are excellent on the execution side as well. I heartily recommend Chris and Beacon Law.”Rick Doane Angel Investor and former CEO, Evergreen Pharmaceutical
“Chris is an excellent attorney with a strong expertise in tech transactions and complex corporate contracts. During the past several years, Chris has provided our company with efficient and top-quality work on a variety of contract matters ranging from key sales and technology agreements to content license agreements. Chris has a great business sense and always understands the needs of our company. He is a valuable member of our outside legal team.”Christopher Bellavia SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Fisher Communications
“I highly recommend Noel and Beacon to any technology entrepreneur looking for pragmatic, responsive, and high-quality legal help. Noel and his team truly understand how to deliver great service to startups—they are available, timely, efficient, and most importantly, problem solvers. Noel has played an integral part in making Oscilla Power a reality.”Rahul Shendure CEO, Oscilla Power
“I couldn’t more strongly recommend the team at Beacon. Chris and the entire staff really ‘get’ startups—especially since all of the principals have actual operating experience within startups. No matter what time of day or night I make requests, they turn things around on a dime. And they’re always willing to re-explain things, making complicated situations less daunting. Chris streamlined and demystified the financing process—I started out knowing nothing about convertible notes and priced rounds, but he walked me through it step by step. He’s very creative and adept at custom-fitting the ideal financing structure for your individual situation.”Dave Schappell Founder and CEO (first-time entrepreneur), TeachStreet
“I have worked with Chris for nearly 10 years and find him to be a highly pragmatic, competent, and responsive attorney. For the past two years, Chris has advised our mid-sized international firm on a large variety of engagements—from basic commercial contract reviews to the establishment of complex licensing agreements. In all cases, Chris has been extremely responsive, personally involved, and technically accurate. He’s a very quick study and has been able to dive into any problem thrown his way. If you need to choose one attorney to suit your needs, Chris Bifone should be at the top of your list!”John Rostas Chief Operating Officer, BDA
“Structural problems, a lack of formation documentation, IP issues.... When we first came into the offices of Beacon Law Advisors, we needed to get a lot of things squared away, fast. BLA sprang into action, got our situation fixed up within weeks, and offered generous payment terms to boot. Ever since, Chris and everyone at Beacon has been there for us as we transitioned from early-stage startup to a profitable, growing business. It’s hard to find a great law firm, but it’s even harder to find a great law firm where the partners have management experience. BLA fits the bill. Give them a call!”Colin Plamondon Co-Founder and CEO, Spreadsong
“Chris Hurley and the BLA team were absolutely essential in helping us design and execute IP Street’s spinout and subsequent financing. We were impressed with their legal work, and we relied again and again on their wise business advice. We couldn’t have done it without them—they are absolutely top-notch!”Rick White Co-Founder and CEO, IP Street
“We’ve been very happy working with Chris Hurley and the Beacon Law team, we couldn’t recommend them more highly. In addition to providing outstanding legal work, they’ve provided valuable strategic advice that helps us plan and grow our business. Chris’s responsiveness to our legal needs matches the effort of a startup—we’ve been able to deliver contracts to clients sooner than we expected as a result of his willingness to work with us late in the evening to resolve thorny questions.We’ve also been thrilled with the way that they communicate subtle contractual and legal issues, so that we not only get our business work done, but gain a deeper understanding of the issues at play, and approach subsequent scenarios with more sophistication.We’ve also been impressed with the speed with which the Beacon Law team gets work done—which translates into fewer billed hours. As an early stage startup business, this has been vital to our cash flow, and allows us to ask for their help on issues in which we know they have deep experience.Chris’s help in structuring a complex contract by communicating the various nuances in terms we could understand—as guys with no legal background—was invaluable.”Greg Whelan Co-Founder and Principal, Sprella
“Melodeo and I worked with Noel from 2005 through our acquisition by HP. We consistently got excellent and practical advice on a wide variety of commercial and securities issues. Noel has a knack for helping remove obstacles from transactions and delivering what we need to close the deal. I highly recommend the team at Beacon for all of your corporate, securities, M&A, licensing, and commercial transaction needs.”Olin Nichols Chief Financial Officer, Melodeo
“Beacon goes beyond simply providing sound legal advice and quickly becomes a true business partner to each of their clients. For this reason, we not only rely on Beacon to help with our seed capital business, but we also send our portfolio companies there. They take the time to understand each business, apply the appropriate amount of resources as the company evolves, and make sure the team is thinking through important decisions at all times.”Doug Renert Founder and Principal, Tandem Capital
“Chris and the Beacon team were involved with LearnLive from the beginning.... In fact, Chris helped me fine-tune my business plan even before we incorporated. They have been great to work with and added value frequently along the way—especially in connection with the acquisition of LearnLive by Thomson-Reuters. I strongly recommend Chris and the Beacon team!”Shawn Englund Founder and CEO, LearnLive Technologies (acquired by Thomson-Reuters)
While we’re selective in the companies we work with, we’re always interested in hearing about your business to see if there’s a good mutual fit. Please give us a call or send an email to set up your initial consultation.BEACON LAW ADVISORS, PLLC 801 2ND AVENUE, SUITE 350 SEATTLE, WA 98104 Phone: 206-832-1333 Toll-free: 1-888-264-3064 Fax: 206-749-9261 firstname.lastname@example.org