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Craig Andrews

Heller Ehrman corporate attorney handles hefty transactions

He's been called one of the deans of corporate law in San Diego.

Some say he was "tech" before "tech" was cool.

This year, attorney Craig Andrews again showed why, leading the $85 million acquisition of Tarari by LSI Corp. (NYSE: LSI) and handling Enzo Biochem's (NYSE: ENZ) acquisition of Axxora Life Sciences.

The Heller Ehrman LLP partner also helped close a number of significant financing transactions in 2007 for several of San Diego's most promising emerging companies.

"He's very crucial to our business plan here in San Diego, and he is utilized much more than other lawyers," said John Benassi, managing partner of Heller Ehrman's San Diego office. "He gives not only pure legal advice, but his judgment is important to our clients because he's been on the 50-yard line for so many business transactions."

Andrews is the head of the firm's corporate group in San Diego and is a former co-chair of Heller Ehrman's firmwide venture law group.

He boasts more than 30 years of experience representing prominent private and public companies, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in San Diego. He has an extensive background in the medical device, biotechnology, software, telecommunications, electronics, alternative energy and retail industries.

"I can't say enough good things about him," said Bill Klehm, president and CEO of Fallbrook Technologies, for which Andrews is general counsel. "He's not only a knowledgeable lawyer but a wonderful business consulting partner. He understands a lot of business issues and gives a great, 360-degree view of a decision."

Andrews assists Fallbrook Technologies and its board with everything from financing strategies to putting together entire licensing business models.

Klehm so values Andrews' advice, he hired the San Diego attorney to counsel a company he founded in Boston called Go2Tech.

"Any deal I do in San Diego -- or any place -- I definitely consider him first as my counsel," Klehm said.

Andrews began his technology practice in the late 1980s, even before biotech and telecomm became San Diego's "it" industries.

He was a founding partner of the San Diego office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP in 1987, chairing the firm's national business and technology practice from 1997 to 1999.

From May 2000 to August 2001, he was vice president of business development at AirFiber, a venture-backed laser telecommunications company founded to commercialize technology developed at the University of California, San Diego.

In 2003, Andrews joined Heller Ehrman, where his practice focuses on emerging growth companies and deal making.

Andrews has served as a member of the board of directors of numerous public and private companies and organizations, including Rubio's Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: RUBO), Collateral Therapeutics Inc., Encad Inc. , the San Diego Venture Group and the UCLA Alumni Association. He's been an adviser to Ralph Rubio for many years.

"He has exceptionally good judgment and common sense," Benassi said of Andrews. "He's very calm and collected in delivering legal advice. People respect him for his principals in addition to his legal talents."

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