San Francisco, CA (May 9, 2005) Heller Ehrman LLP today announced the …

San Francisco, CA (May 9, 2005) Heller Ehrman LLP today announced the addition of two leading emerging company and capital markets shareholders to the firm’s San Francisco office: Karen A. Dempsey and Nora L. Gibson join Heller Ehrman from the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. Ms. Dempsey’s practice involves a broad array of general corporate and transactional matters including venture capital financings and public offerings. Ms. Gibson’s practice focuses on capital markets, where she has represented many leading investment banks and companies in public equity and debt offerings, 144A private placement offerings and mezzanine-level private placements of equity and debt securities.

“We’ve been building our corporate practice in San Francisco over the past several years and Karen and Nora are terrific additions,” said Jonathan Hayden, Office Managing Shareholder of Heller Ehrman’s San Francisco office. “Firmwide, our corporate and emerging company practices have expanded dramatically as well, with growth in Silicon Valley, San Diego, Seattle and Hong Kong. Our Venture Law Group currently represents more than 400 venture-backed companies, so the enthusiasm and experience brought by Karen and Nora are ideal complements. We’re very pleased they’re joining us, adding further depth and breadth to our already strong firmwide corporate practice.”

Commenting on joining the firm, Ms. Dempsey said, “Nora and I are very excited about the many synergies we see between our current practices and Heller Ehrman Venture Law Group. Heller Ehrman is clearly committed to expanding the emerging company practice and with the Venture Law Group merger, Heller Ehrman has one of the leading technology practices in the country. We’ve worked with many Heller Ehrman attorneys over the years prior to the merger with Venture Law Group, and since the merger have worked with even more of them. We see many great opportunities and are looking forward to helping build and strengthen Heller Ehrman’s global technology, emerging company and corporate finance platform.”

Karen Dempsey
Ms. Dempsey received her B.A. from the University of California – Los Angeles in 1985 and her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, Order of the Coif in 1988. She joined Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP as an Associate in 1988 and became Partner in 1996. In 2000, Ms. Dempsey joined the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. Her current practice includes public offerings (company side and underwriter representation), PIPES (company side and placement agent representation), venture financings (company side and investors counsel), corporate governance counseling and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, 1934 Act reporting and compliance, audit committee investigations and mergers and acquisitions. Karen represents both private and public companies across many industries including life sciences, Internet, e-commerce, computer and software. She regularly advises public companies with respect to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and the development and implementation of best practices in corporate governance. She also represents investment banks in connection with public offerings as well as venture funds in connection with portfolio investments. Ms. Dempsey is also Co-Editor of Part III of Venture Capital & Public Offering Negotiation, published by Aspen Law & Business.

Nora Gibson
Ms. Gibson received her B.A. from the University of California – Berkeley in 1987 and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1991. She began her legal career by focusing her practice primarily on federal securities advice and public offering representation. She joined Brobeck Phleger & Harrison as an associate in 1991 and became a partner in 1998. In 2000, Ms. Gibson joined the San Francisco office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. continuing her practice of capital markets work. She has been involved in more than 100 initial public offerings and follow-on offerings during her career. Based on the number of IPOs completed between 1998 and 2003, Ms. Gibson ranked No. 5 in the 2003 IPO Lawyers Yearbook/IPO Vital Signs rankings. During that same period, her 22 underwriter representations placed her first in that category. In addition to her practice, Ms. Gibson has also been involved in a variety of law firm management committees, including associate career development, partnership nominating and opinion advisory groups.

Heller Ehrman Venture Law Group is one of the premier emerging technology practices in the country. With more than 100 attorneys throughout the United States and in Asia, Heller Ehrman VLG combines senior-level counseling and extensive industry knowledge to help emerging technology companies grow and prosper. We work in partnership with clients to build and represent deal-intensive emerging growth companies, both public and private, as well as with the venture capital and investment banking firms that support them.

We provide emerging companies with focused business and legal advice from incorporation through initial public offering, merger and beyond. We concentrate on general corporate counseling, venture financing, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, technology transactions, employment, executive compensation and tax. We possess relationships with the nation’s leading venture capital investors and investment banks and are among the leaders in structuring and negotiating venture capital financings, PIPE transactions and public offerings. We play an active role in bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and investment banking firms. Many of our attorneys have backgrounds in computer science, the life sciences, engineering, mathematics, market research, accounting and finance. And, as our clients grow and mature, they can benefit from the power of Heller Ehrman’s nationally recognized corporate and litigation practices to solve all of their legal and business problems.

Some facts about Heller Ehrman Venture Law Group
*Represents more than 400 venture-backed private and public technology companies
*Consistently rank among the top law firms in venture financings, according to Dow Jones VentureSource
*Market leader in initial public offerings for life sciences and technology clients

Heller Ehrman LLP has more than 720 attorneys and professionals in 12 offices worldwide – Anchorage; Beijing; Hong Kong; Los Angeles; Madison, WI; New York; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley, Singapore; and Washington, D.C. As a full-service law firm, we represent a wide range of industry leaders, from entrepreneurial, technology-driven enterprises to established, multinational conglomerates. At Heller Ehrman, we take a multidisciplinary approach to the practice of law, drawing upon our legal, scientific and industry knowledge from across the firm to build the best legal teams for our clients. Through commitment to our core values of Excellence, People, Teamwork, Innovation, Community and One Firm, we offer clients unparalleled legal service. Please visit our web site at

John Buchanan
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Alexi Estrella
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