Mayer Brown understands the inventive, entrepreneurial spirit indigenous to the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Our Northern California team, based in San Francisco and Palo Alto, advises the innovators, the investors that finance them and the broader infrastructure that drives the economy here.
Our full-service Northern California team represents leaders in technology, telecommunications and finance, as well as world-renowned companies across a host of industries in trial and appellate litigation and matters involving intellectual property, consumer financial services, corporate and securities and technology transactions, financial services regulatory and enforcement, real estate, employee benefits, insurance and tax controversy, to name a few. Working with colleagues in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, our Bay Area team has a truly global reach.
Our lawyers in Northern California have been recognized for their achievements on behalf of clients in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BNA and Law360 and in series such as The National Law Journal’s “Appellate Hot List” and The Recorder’s “Innovator Awards.” They are highly ranked in annual guides including IAM Patent 1000, International Tax Review, Chambers USA and Legal 500 US.
Consumer Financial Services
Mayer Brown’s Consumer Financial Services group is a world-class team with a well-established and highly respected record of advising clients with regard to the full panoply of issues that confront residential mortgage lenders, non-mortgage consumer credit lenders and card and payment system operators. The group includes a dedicated team of lawyers and additional professionals and is a vital component of Mayer Brown’s global Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practice.
With its exceptional breadth of knowledge and experience, the Consumer Financial Services group helps mortgage lenders and other consumer finance companies navigate the broad range of US federal and state laws that impact their business' operations. Members of the group perform as trusted advisors in every aspect of the consumer lending spectrum, including formation, licensing and approvals, regulatory compliance, government enforcement, internal investigations, class action defense, and public policy and government affairs.
Corporate & Securities
We represent companies, investment banks, funds and other investors and lenders in M&A, capital markets, emerging company and commercial transactions, and corporate governance, regulatory and general corporate matters. Our team advises clients locally, nationally and internationally across a wide variety of industries such as technology, semiconductors, SaaS (Software as a Service), AI, IoT (Internet of Things), financial services (including fintech), life sciences, insurance (including insurtech), hospitality and leisure, energy and chemicals. Guided by our clients’ objectives and Mayer Brown’s deep experience, we provide high-caliber legal advice and creative solutions to help our clients attain the best possible outcome.
Employment & Benefits
We focus on advancing the human resources and compliance goals of major companies with substantial head count in the United States and abroad. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies and other domestic and multinational corporations across a broad range of industries. Our lawyers have vast experience in compliance, transaction and controversy work involving employee benefits and executive compensation arrangements and in representing clients in these matters before agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. We also have an extensive pension investment practice advising managers, banks and other institutional fiduciaries. Our lawyers advise on equity compensation plans, executive compensation and employee benefits issues in M&A transactions, and novel and complex matters involving employee benefits plans.
Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement
The financial services industry is one of the most globally integrated, sophisticated and highly regulated industries. Mayer Brown offers the full range of regulatory, enforcement, litigation, transactional and policy capabilities in order to comprehensively address the myriad issues facing the sector around the world. Our lawyers in the Americas, Europe and Asia work with leading global financial institutions to provide thoughtful, creative, and practical solutions to their complex issues.
We help financial institutions structure and expand operations to take advantage of new opportunities, identify and shape emerging legislative and regulatory policies, and develop compliance and internal investigation strategies. We also manage relationships with financial regulators; assess legal, regulatory, enforcement, and reputation risks; and resolve complex legal, financial, operational and strategic issues.
Our insurance group advises insurers and reinsurers, as well as brokers, banks and investors, on insurtech, cybersecurity, M&A, capital raising and sophisticated insurance structured finance at the convergence of insurance markets and the broader capital markets, as well as regulatory matters, litigation, alternative dispute resolution, investigations of the insurance industry and enforcement matters. Drawing on our diverse capabilities, we take a team-oriented and interdisciplinary approach to better serve our insurance industry clients.
Intellectual Property Counseling and Litigation
In both jury and bench trials, we have successfully represented plaintiffs and defendants doing business in a wide range of markets such as software, computer peripherals, servers, disk drives, robotics, electro-mechanical technologies, memory chips, telecommunications, energy, medical devices and semiconductors. Our IP lawyers have advanced degrees in engineering and are registered patent lawyers who regularly litigate before the district courts, the International Trade Commission and the US Patent Office (inter partes review).
Mayer Brown has a robust team of trial and appellate litigators in Silicon Valley and San Francisco representing clients ranging from established Internet companies, financial institutions, medical device manufacturers and semiconductor companies to newer app-economy players. Our litigators:
- Resolve complex commercial, antitrust, privacy class actions and intellectual property disputes;
- Handle government investigations and white-collar defenses; and
- Provide strategic advice on international dispute resolution, e-discovery and data strategy.
Many of our matters—and results—have industry-wide or nationwide significance. Recent cases include:
- A defamation action against “security consultants” who worked with a hedge fund to affect a medical device manufacturer's stock price and profit from a short position;
- A defense (through the US Supreme Court) of a privacy class action against a specialized Internet search provider;
- Securing a landmark appellate decision reversing class certification in action claiming that an auto manufacturer falsely advertised a high-tech safety feature;
- Defense of an employee antitrust class action involving the top players in Silicon Valley's high-tech industry;
- Defense of a class action based on claims that a major Internet advertising program doesn't work as advertised; defense of an antitrust class action against semiconductor manufacturer;
- Securing California Supreme Court limitation on a retailer’s common law duties;
- Defense of a trade secret claim against a major investment index provider; and
- Appellate defense of wage-and-hour class actions in technology and telecommunications industries.
Real Estate Investment and Financing Transactions
We are leading practitioners in global institutional equity investment. Our geographic reach is wide, but our focus is on California’s premier investment hubs. We understand the interwoven corporate, tax and real property issues presented to domestic and international firms in their acquisitions, financing transactions and developments for office, retail, multi-family residential and industrial purposes. We are trusted advisors to successful opportunity fund sponsors, life insurance companies, investment advisers, publicly-traded REITs and banks.
From Northern California, we open doors for, and have extensive experience in advising, Australian, Canadian, Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean capital sources. Our broad reach of experience includes advising bank and non-bank lenders, including EB-5 visa investor pools, in the making of permanent mortgage, construction, conduit and mezzanine loans for the development and redevelopment of retail, residential and office properties. We also are well-versed in assisting clients with CMBS-loan servicing issues like transfer and assumption applications, portfolio recapitalization transactions and distressed debt sales and purchases.
Our group is part of the firm’s Tax Controversy practice of approximately 50 lawyers, one of the most active tax dispute practices in the country. Mayer Brown’s Tax Controversy practice has been ranked as a Tier 1 firm by both Chambers and Legal 500 for 12 and 10 consecutive years, respectively, and a number of our partners in Northern California have been touted as leaders in the field. The depth of our capabilities allows us to represent clients in a variety of federal and California tax disputes, whether counseling corporations during tax audits, pursuing administrative appeals of audit results, or litigating tax matters at the trial court or appellate court level. Our approach is to identify key issues in the case and resolve them with speedy and favorable results for our clients.
We have advised on cutting-edge technology transactions that have made it possible for our clients to develop and manage complex relationships relating to critical services and technology, including completing some of the largest outsourcing and software deals ever attempted. We have helped clients implement digital and data-driven strategies and then govern those relationships. In recent years, we have assisted our clients in executing business transformations that involve SaaS platforms, automation and IoT. Our team is also called on to handle the IT aspects of M&A, investment and financing transactions, including IT due diligence, negotiation of IT-related provisions, assessment and counsel on IT-related risks and mitigation strategies, and the structuring and negotiation of related licensing and transition services agreements.
We are committed to serving our community here in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Our pro bono work has included filing amicus briefs in the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, providing legal assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers and helping nonprofit organizations on tax and intellectual property matters, to name just a few areas in which the team has dedicated its resources. We have been honored by Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLESPA) as a Law Firm of the Year for providing significant legal services to CLESPA’s clients and by Public Advocates as a Pro Bono Champion for our contributions to the organization’s work on education equity. Many of our lawyers also serve on boards and committees of numerous charitable and community service organizations, such as Silicon Valley’s Campaign for Legal Services, Oakland’s Family Violence Appellate Project, Stanford Law School’s Three Strikes Project, San Francisco’s The Little School pre-school, the Dads’ Club of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, the Menlo Park/Atherton AYSO and the Tri-Valley/East Bay YMCA.
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Global Head of Alumni Relations
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Assistant Director of Public Relations
Peter M. Columbus
Global Director of Business Development and Marketing