Firm Adds Technology Credentials to Atlanta as Firm’s Newest U.S. Office Continues Growth
(ATLANTA) May 22, 2006 – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP announced today that Jeffrey M. Leavitt and Douglas R. Spear have joined the firm to lead its Southeast Emerging Company and Venture Capital practice. Leavitt joins DLA Piper from Arnall Golden Gregory, where he led that firm’s growth company and venture practice group. Spear joins from Morris Manning & Martin, where he spent nearly a decade helping to build that firm’s technology practice.
The announcement comes two weeks after DLA Piper announced it was opening an office in Atlanta with the addition of 12 litigation and finance attorneys. The firm has plans to grow the office and establish Atlanta as a regional anchor for expanding business activity in the Southeastern U.S. DLA Piper recently signed a 46,000-square-foot lease at One Atlantic Center that will accommodate up to 60 lawyers with the option for additional space on two adjacent floors.
Jay Smith, co-chair of DLA Piper’s U.S. Corporate and Securities practice, noted that a deep emerging company venture capital presence will be among the leading practice capabilities of the Atlanta office.
“In addition to being a strong base for corporate headquarters, Atlanta is one of the country’s most vibrant markets for entrepreneurial activity, which is one of the main reasons why we’ve been so attracted to Atlanta,” said Smith. “Our firm devotes substantial resources to facilitate emerging growth and venture capital transactions. We think the Southeast’s technology and life science industries are poised for substantial expansion and we want to help encourage and participate in that growth.”
Both Leavitt and Spear say they are eager to tap into the national platform and resources that DLA Piper has to offer emerging growth companies in Atlanta and the surrounding region.
“It says a lot about the promise of the Southeast’s entrepreneurial community that a firm with such extensive experience growing and supporting venture-backed companies has chosen to open an office here,” added Leavitt.
A Leading Venture Capital Platform
In 2005 alone, DLA Piper closed 256 venture capital financings for technology and life science companies. The firm also has its own internal system of tracking venture investment market terms and trends, maintains deal sourcing relationships with over 600 venture capital funds, and offers entrepreneurs value-added resources through its Venture Pipeline service.
The Venture Pipeline is a DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary business unit that is specifically focused on enhancing the funding prospects of early stage companies. Led by non-lawyers with experience in technology, start-ups and private equity markets, the Venture Pipeline Group actively advises on business plans, management and recruiting issues, market development, strategic partnerships and financing strategies. Ultimately, the Group works to connect start-ups with targeted funding sources by leveraging DLA Piper’s extensive, nationwide network of venture investors. The group has professionals based in major tech centers throughout the U.S. in regions such as Silicon Valley, San Diego, Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, Boston, and the mid-Atlantic. Internationally, the firm works with companies and venture capital firms in China and throughout Europe.
“The Venture Pipeline will dramatically increase the exposure of our Southeast-based clients to VC firms across the country, attract more venture financing into the region, and consequently spur economic growth within the Southeast’s technology and life science industries,” said Leavitt.
Complementary Resources for Technology Companies
DLA Piper has other resources of particular interest to technology companies, including an established intellectual property practice and substantial international reach that extends to 59 offices in 22 countries.
“DLA Piper will be able to provide clients with services well beyond anything else found in the Southeast today,” added Spear. “As the business world gets more global, particularly for technology companies, DLA Piper’s global reach and top tier international IP practice will bring Atlanta companies a new level of asset protection and value growth.”
About the Attorneys
Jeffrey Leavitt concentrates his practice on representing emerging growing companies, venture capital and private equity firms, and the various groups that advise them.
He has been working to attract venture capital financing to his clients through his contacts in the Kauffman Fellows Program. He is the only practicing attorney in the country to have graduated from the prestigious program, which is a two-year training curriculum akin to a Rhodes Scholarship for professionals working in and around the venture capital industry. Kauffman Fellows, like Leavitt, develop a comprehensive set of skills related to growing high potential startup companies while acquiring a broad, strong network of relationships with top-tier venture capital firms across the country.
Douglas Spear focuses his practice on the representation of emerging technology companies and venture capital firms with an emphasis on venture capital financing transactions, serving as lead counsel in hundreds of such transactions. Additionally, he has significant experience in representing clients in M&A transactions, private placements, and various forms of debt financings.
As counsel to numerous technology companies and other growing businesses, Spear advises clients on various legal and business matters, including entity formation, corporate governance, capitalization issues, equity compensation strategies, employment matters, capital-raising transactions, customer contracts, and securities law compliance. He also assists clients in negotiating various credit facilities with financial institutions and regularly advises clients on strategic partnerships and related matters.
About DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary (www.dlapiper.com) DLA Piper has 3,100 lawyers and 59 offices in 22 countries throughout the U.S., U.K., continental Europe, Middle East and Asia. It has leading practices in commercial, corporate and finance, human resources, litigation, real estate, regulatory and legislative, and technology, media and communications.