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Palo Alto Partners and Counsel

Naveed Anwar - Partner - Headshot
Naveed Anwar - Partner

Named a 2022 “Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer, Naveed Anwar is a Corporate Partner based in the Firm’s Palo Alto Office. Naveed’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, where he represents public and private companies and private equity firms in a variety of domestic and cross-border transactions. He has experience in a broad range of transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, carve-outs, leveraged buyouts, de-SPAC transactions, recapitalizations, venture financings, joint ventures and other complex transactions across a wide variety of sectors.

Naveed’s corporate representations have included Airbnb, Applied Systems, Dell, PPD, McKesson and UKG, among others. His private equity representations have included Hellman & Friedman, EQT, KKR, Blackstone, Silver Lake, Centerbridge, True Wind, TCV, Carlyle and Riverwood Capital. Naveed was also recognized as 2021 “West Trailblazer” by The American Lawyer, a 2019 Law360 “Rising Star” in Private Equity and included in the Daily Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40” in California in 2018.

Atif Azher - Partner - Headshot
Atif Azher - Partner

Recognized as the 2022 Corporate Attorney of the Year by The American Lawyer and a 2021 MVP in Private Equity by Law360, Atif Azher represents clients in a wide range of complex corporate matters, with a focus on M&A and private equity. He was also named among the 2023 “Top 100 Lawyers in California” for the second consecutive year by the Daily Journal, which wrote that Atif’s name “has become synonymous with the market’s largest and most complex transactions.” Atif is also recognized by The Legal 500 US and Chambers USA for Private Equity: Buyouts. 

Atif provides sophisticated transactional counsel to public and private companies, investment funds and financial institutions, in a variety of domestic and cross-border transactions. He regularly advises on multi-billion dollar mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and JVs, drawing on his substantial experience across a broad range of industries, including technology, technology-enabled services, software, internet, sports, entertainment and media, healthcare, financial services, fintech, retail and consumer products, and real estate. Additionally, he has experience working on SPAC transactions, including advising target companies, SPACs and PIPE investors.  

Atif regularly advises clients in:

  • Take-privates
  • Leveraged buy-outs
  • Unsolicited takeover offers
  • Public and private acquisitions and investments (including PIPEs)
  • Corporate governance matters (including fiduciary law, SEC and stock exchange considerations)
  • Emerging and growth company matters (including capital raising transactions)
  • Financial advisory matters (including representing financial institutions) 

His corporate representations have included Airbnb, Applied Systems, Dell, Multiplan, PPD and UKG, among others. Atif’s private equity clients have included Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake, Centerbridge, True Wind, TCV, Blackstone, Apollo, Sterling Partners, KKR, Carlyle and Riverwood Capital. Additionally, Atif was named an “MVP” in Private Equity by Law360 in 2017, and a “Trusted Adviser” in Private Equity by The Recorder in 2017.

Stephen P. Blake - Partner - Headshot
Stephen P. Blake - Partner

Steve Blake is a Litigation Partner in our Palo Alto office. Steve has extensive experience resolving high-stakes shareholder litigation and securities regulatory matters. Steve regularly advises corporations, financial institutions, funds and their advisors in connection with mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, legal compliance and commercial disputes. Steve also regularly represents entities and individuals before the SEC, FINRA and stock exchanges.

Steve frequently writes and lectures on shareholder litigation, fiduciary duties and issues under the Securities Act, Exchange Act, Investment Company Act and Investment Advisors Act. Steve is the author of the quarterly “Stock Block” column in The Recorder. His recent columns “Along Came SPACs, and Then SPAC Litigation” and “SPAC Action, Litigation and Regulatory Reaction” have been widely read.

Recognized as a 2021 Law360 “Rising Star” in Securities, Steve is also a repeat honoree on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 & Under Hot List,” and was honored by the Daily Journal as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” lawyers in California in 2018. Steve is consistently recognized by The Legal 500 in both M&A Litigation and Shareholder Litigation, and as a “Rising Star” in Northern California securities litigation by Super Lawyers.

William B. Brentani - Partner - Headshot
William B. Brentani - Partner

Based in the heart of Silicon Valley and the Head of our Palo Alto office, Bill Brentani is a leading capital markets lawyer whose practice focuses on corporate finance and general securities and corporate matters.  Bill regularly works for issuers and underwriters in connection with a broad range of capital market transactions, including initial public offerings (IPOs), follow-on equity and preferred stock (including PIPEs) offerings, and debt, equity-linked and high yield transactions. Bill was named a 2021 Healthcare “MVP” by Law360 and has been recognized as a leading lawyer for a number of years by Chambers USA, which describes him as “highly sought after for his expert counsel on transactions in diverse sectors, including healthcare, technology and retail.” Clients laud him as “highly technically knowledgeable” and “great to work with” and, tellingly, that “our needs are his needs.” He currently serves as Head of the Firm’s Palo Alto office, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Opinion Committee, and a former member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. 

Tristan Brown - Partner - Headshot
Tristan Brown - Partner

Lauded by Chambers as “incredibly intelligent and highly responsive,” Tristan Brown is based in Palo Alto, where he is part of Simpson Thacher’s multi-office Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice. Tristan has broad experience advising a variety of clients, including private equity funds and public companies, on executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in mergers, takeovers, sales, spin-offs, IPOs and other transactions.

Tristan also regularly assists companies in designing and implementing employee compensation and benefit programs and has extensive experience negotiating executive employment and separation arrangements—both on behalf of companies and executives. His clients include Silver Lake Partners, KKR, KSL, Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Dell Technologies, Inc.,, Oaktree, CBRE, BrightView, Masonite, McKesson and Sedgwick.

Tristan was named as a 2017 Top 20 Lawyer in Employee Benefits by Lawdragon.


Frederick W.P. De Albuquerque - Partner - Headshot
Frederick W.P. De Albuquerque - Partner

A Partner in the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice, Fred de Albuquerque regularly counsels private equity sponsors and public and private companies in connection with acquisitions, minority investments, divestitures, carve-outs, recapitalizations and other complex business transactions, as well as general corporate governance and securities law matters. Fred’s clients have included EQT, Hellman & Friedman, Silver Lake, True Wind Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, KSL Capital Partners, Genstar Capital, Centerbridge Partners and their respective portfolio companies, among others.

Robert Guo - Partner - Headshot
Robert Guo - Partner

A Partner in the Firm’s Private Funds Practice, Robert Guo advises private fund sponsors on the establishment and operation of private investment funds across multiple asset classes ranging in size from under $50 million to over $24 billion. Robert also counsels sponsors with respect to internal economic and governance matters, as well as regulatory compliance and fund-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions transactions.

Robert also has advised many private equity and venture capital investors on venture financing, growth equity and other investment, acquisition and sale transactions.

Bo Bryan Jin - Partner - Headshot
Bo Bryan Jin - Partner Based in the Firm’s Palo Alto office, Bryan Jin advises corporations, investment funds, and financial institutions on a wide range of high-stakes litigation matters. Bryan’s practice includes securities litigation, government and internal investigations, merger litigation, IP litigation, complex commercial litigation and corporate compliance matters. A member of the Firm’s Asia Litigation Practice and a native Chinese speaker, Bryan frequently travels to Asia and has extensive experience defending Chinese companies before U.S. courts and regulators.
Robert Langdon - Partner - Headshot
Robert Langdon - Partner

Robert Langdon is a leading private equity and M&A lawyer with more than 20 years of broad experience representing private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in high-stakes matters. Robert has advised numerous private equity funds, including Carlyle, EQT Partners, Hellman & Friedman, KSL Capital Partners, Silver Lake, Technology Crossover Ventures, True Wind Capital and Warburg Pincus. He is ranked as a top attorney for Private Equity: Buyouts (Nationwide) by Chambers USA. Robert was recently named “Private Equity Dealmaker of the Year” for 2020 by The Deal. He is also a recipient of the Law360 awards for both “MVP-Private Equity” and “Rising Star-Private Equity,” and is recognized as a “go-to attorney” in the area of private equity. 

Laura Lin - Partner - Headshot
Laura Lin - Partner

Laura Lin focuses on a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including securities litigation and insurance disputes, among others. Formerly three-time Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Ethics & Professionalism Committee, she also counsels clients in connection with matters arising from alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and other professional liability issues.

Heidi Mayon - Partner - Headshot
Heidi Mayon - Partner

Heidi Mayon is a Partner in Simpson Thacher’s Palo Alto office and a member of the Capital Markets Practice. She focuses on advising companies, investors and underwriters on a wide range of securities matters, including initial public offerings (IPOs), venture financings, growth equity, follow-on equity, block trades, bought deals, ATM programs, committed lines of equity, spin-offs and transactions by special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). She has extensive experience across numerous industries including technology, healthcare and life sciences, FinTech and payments, marketplaces and retail, energy and clean technology. Heidi also regularly advises public and private companies on reporting obligations, corporate governance and other general corporate matters.

Mark Myott - Partner - Headshot
Mark Myott - Partner

A Partner in Simpson Thacher’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice, Mark Myott has broad experience representing corporate and private equity clients in complex and high-profile transactions. He frequently advises clients in connection with leveraged buyout transactions, mergers, spin-offs, recapitalizations, restructurings, growth equity and venture capital investments and other complex transactions across a wide variety of sectors, with numerous representations in the technology and healthcare sectors.

Recently, Mark was named among 2022’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track” by The Recorder, honoring the next generation of legal leaders aged 40 and under in California. He was also recognized by Law360 as a “Rising Star” in Mergers and Acquisitions for 2022.

Kelli Schultz - Partner - Headshot
Kelli Schultz - Partner

A member of the Firm’s Capital Markets and Public Company Advisory Practices, Kelli Schultz advises on a wide range of capital markets offerings and compliance with federal securities laws and the rules of the major U.S. exchanges. She represents issuers, underwriters and investors in a variety of securities transactions across numerous industries, including technology, consumer electronics, healthcare, hospitality, real estate, financial services and retail. She also regularly counsels management and boards of directors on a range of matters, including disclosure and reporting requirements, corporate governance, proxy materials, shareholder proposals, insider trading matters, investor communications, SEC inquiries, crisis management and navigating the transition to public company life.

Michael Vernace - Partner - Headshot
Michael Vernace - Partner

As a Partner in the Firm’s Banking and Credit Department, Mike’s practice focuses on syndicated finance and other commercial lending transactions, including acquisition, leveraged, investment-grade, asset-based, corporate, receivables, net asset value and “hybrid” financings. Mike also represents leading leverage buyout sponsors and their portfolio companies in connection with a variety of recapitalizations and refinancings.

Daniel N. Webb - Partner - Headshot
Daniel N. Webb - Partner

Dan Webb’s practice focuses on capital markets transactions, corporate governance and securities law matters. He advises issuers, underwriters and sponsors on initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, block trades, PIPEs and other equity offerings, and offerings of preferred stock and investment grade, high yield and convertible debt, as well as tender and exchange offers, SPACs and various types of acquisition financing. His representations have included Facebook’s $16 billion IPO and Apple’s inaugural $17 billion bond offering, the largest corporate bond offering in history at the time. Dan is recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, which quotes clients and counterparts who describe him as “terrific, incredibly knowledgeable, very practical and very collaborative” and “very experienced.”

John N. Bennett - Senior Counsel - Headshot
John N. Bennett - Senior Counsel

John Bennett is Senior Counsel in the Firm’s Exempt Organizations Practice. John is Co-Head of, and manages the day-to-day oversight of, the Group’s Endowment Advisory Practice. John advises endowed universities, foundations, hospitals, cultural institutions and other institutional investors, including family offices, in connection with investment activities, including in the review and negotiation of documentation relating to investments in private equity funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds, energy and other natural resources funds, hedge funds, managed accounts, funds-of-one and similar investment vehicles, as well as in secondary market transactions involving the purchase and sale of interests in such investment vehicles. In addition, he represents public charities and private foundations in connection with impact investments and mission- and program-related investments. John also advises public charities and private foundations on structural and operating issues, including formation, governance, mergers, reorganizations, domestic and international grantmaking and taxation.

John is a regular speaker on topics of interest to tax-exempt organizations and institutional investors. John has spoken on various topics at the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Institutional Investors Committee, the International Grantmaking Symposium and the annual Georgetown conference on Representing & Managing Tax Exempt Organizations, and has presented at various events hosted by the Practising Law Institute, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, Nonprofit New York and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, among others. John is the co-author, with David A. Shevlin, of chapters entitled “Tools for Direct International Grantmaking: Expenditure Responsibility,” and “Tools for Direct International Grantmaking: Equivalency Determination,” in “Cross-Border Giving: A Legal and Practical Guide,” published in 2018 by Charity Channel Press.

The Legal 500 reports high praise for John from clients, with one source noting: “his industry knowledge is incredible, and his work ethic is second to none.”

Simona G. Strauss - Senior Counsel - Headshot
Simona G. Strauss - Senior Counsel Simona Strauss is Senior Counsel in the Firm’s Litigation Department. Her areas of concentration are securities litigation, M&A litigation, government and internal investigations and complex commercial disputes. In addition to defending companies and individuals in direct and derivative shareholder litigation, she regularly represents clients (both domestic and foreign) involved in investigations conducted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Simona represents clients in litigation and in arbitration, at the trial court level and on appeal.
Harry N. Hudesman - Counsel - Headshot
Harry N. Hudesman - Counsel

Harry Hudesman is Counsel in the Palo Alto office, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice. Harry focuses his practice on executive compensation and employee benefits issues arising in the context of a wide range of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs and initial public offerings, among others. He regularly advises public and private companies on a broad range of employment, compensatory and benefit matters including the design, negotiation and implementation of employment and separation arrangements, cash-based and equity-based incentive plans, golden parachute excise tax issues, and related employment matters.

Karen J. Reyes - Counsel - Headshot
Karen J. Reyes - Counsel

Karen Reyes is Counsel in the Firm’s Capital Markets Practice, focusing on securities offerings and corporate governance matters. She has a multifaceted practice, representing issuers, underwriters and private equity sponsors in connection with a broad array of capital markets offerings, including initial public offerings and secondary equity offerings, as well as high yield and investment grade debt offerings. 

Jonathan C. Sanders - Counsel - Headshot
Jonathan C. Sanders - Counsel

Jonathan Sanders is Counsel in the Firm’s Litigation Department. He focuses on patent litigations, including managing complex cases in federal district courts, litigating appeals in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court and handling proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Office.