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Michael Brown

Lawyer guides growth of successful startups

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Much like a proud parent raising a child, Michael Brown loves grooming a fledgling company and then watching it succeed.

Brown, 42, is a corporate attorney in the San Diego office of Stradling Yocca Carlso & Rauth P.C., specializing in emerging growth companies. He works on the financing for startups in a wide variety of sectors, including life sciences, technology and education.

"What I enjoy most about what I do is helping companies achieve success," he said.

Success in the startup world means going public or being acquired. While the IPO market has been stagnant lately, Brown has been able to guide his clients toward mergers & acquisitions.

Already in 2012, the Stradling Yocca shareholder has closed three M&A deals.

Brown had just as much to celebrate last year since he helped two San Diego companies get acquired in such a way that they were able to keep their local employee base, which isn't necessarily standard practice in a merger.

He represented Nexus Biosystems, a startup that makes very large and technical storage units for samples from the life sciences industry, as it got acquired by Brooks Automation Inc. for $79 million. And he led the chip-design company Rapid Bridge in its acquisition by Qualcomm.

"He's good at building relationships and getting people to identify for him what their problems and needs are," said Tim O'Brien, a shareholder at Stradling Yocca who founded the firm's San Diego office. "He's good at listening to what people are saying and teasing out what the real issues are and trying to directly address those and reach a compromise."

As an attorney just starting out, Brown was initially drawn to the idea of representing emerging companies because of the variety such a practice presented along with the opportunity to work directly with entrepreneurial minds.

"A corporate lawyer in New York might do the same type of transaction over and over," Brown said. "They may have very little to no client contact. It was exciting to me as a young attorney to get to advise people at innovative companies and helping them be successful."

In addition to providing legal services, Brown has helped companies find executives to hire. He also has experience in corporate reorganizations, joint ventures, private placements and public company representation.

"He's been a real asset in building our practice base in San Diego," O'Brien said.

Likewise, Stradling Yocca has been great for Brown.

"It's been a really good fit," he said. "What's always been most important to me is the client relationship — always doing right by the client. Stradling provides me with the ability to still do that."

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