Doug Mandell

Global Head of the Founder Practice | San Francisco

Doug leads our founder practice and is a senior partner.

As head of our founder practice, a niche practice focused on personal general counsel services for company founders, chief executive officers, venture capitalists, senior executives and wealthy families, Doug’s core practice is a combination of corporate, employment and executive compensation. Doug also leverages the firm’s strengths in litigation, trust and estates, tax, family law, real estate and charities and charitable giving to meet a wide spectrum of needs of individual private clients.

Doug has extensive experience advising emerging growth companies, often as outside general counsel in the areas of corporate law, privacy, data security, technology transactions, and employment law and representing founders, CEOs and senior executives personally in the areas of employment law, M&A, corporate and executive compensation. Doug also regularly coaches and advises CEOs and general counsel of fast scaling companies on building a legal department and has been responsible for hiring some of the top general counsels in Silicon Valley.

Doug has been general counsel of three startups, including the first GC at LinkedIn and the first lawyer to represent LinkedIn when the company was founded. He served as outside general counsel to technology companies as well as General Counsel and member of the executive teams of companies including: LinkedIn (where he was the company’s lawyer when it was founded and served as GC in 2007 and 2008); Nauto, Inc. a big data/AI company in the autonomous vehicle space funded by Greylock Partners and Softbank (Doug also represented this company since it was founded); and ememories (one of the first online photo-sharing companies).

Doug is a frequent speaker on personal legal issues for founders and executives and features videos for founders and executives and students on his YouTube Channel on this topic. Since leaving LinkedIn as its first General Counsel, Doug also regularly gives back to students by speaking at colleges and law schools on how to develop a professional brand management strategy and execute it online and offline to get a job. He writes about legal and business issues for entrepreneurs and CEOs at

Secretary Erica Tinoco

Track record





Represented founders and all key executive in sale of this software company to a global public software company.

Represented founder in sale of big data software company in a sale to one of the largest public agriculture companies.

Represented founders of data analytics company in sale to large public software company.

California, 1994

Recent CEO Exit Latest in a String of Misconduct Resignations,’ Agenda - November 18, 2022, quoted

Withers’ Bet on Private Clients in California Is Powering US Growth,’ The Recorder - June 14, 2022, quoted

‘Starbucks Ties D&I to Comp. Will Others Follow?’ Agenda - November 2, 2020, featured and quoted

Presenter, ‘When your founder, CEO (or you) are the client: Protecting you and your team when things get personal,’ TechGC Global Summit, November 4, 2021

Presenter, ‘Senior Executive Contracts - What New Protections, Powers and Provisions should Executives and Founders be Seeking,’ International Forum of Senior Executive Advisors Conference (IFSEA) Second Annual Conference: Risk, Reward & Reputation Management Issues for Senior Executives & Founders, February 16, 2021

Me in a minute

Many of my clients consider me to be a combination of a life coach, therapist and lawyer.

Although I have served as outside GC and general counsel to several fast-scaling companies in Silicon Valley, my passion is being a consigliere to founders, CEOs, and senior executives. I regularly advise founders on the creation and sale of their businesses and often represent the entire executive team in negotiations with both their company and the acquiring firm in an M&A deal. I have extensive experience representing some of the most high-profile founders and CEOs in Silicon Valley when they join and leave companies. My practice representing these clients is a unique combination of employment law, executive compensation, and corporate.

Many of my clients consider me to be a combination of a life coach, therapist and lawyer, as one of my superpowers is counseling them as they go through some of the most challenging moments of their lives – such as being forced out of the company that he or she started or a dispute with a co-founder, investor or their board. I love this part of my job because I am able to make a tremendous difference in the lives of my clients in a relatively short period of time. I also enjoy being able to represent many of my clients multiple times and aim to build long-term relationships with them.

One of the reasons I am able to successfully represent technology entrepreneurs is that I have a first-hand insight into Silicon Valley as an operator, founder, and investor. I have served as general counsel and member of the executive teams of several startups including LinkedIn where I was the company’s lawyer when it was founded and served as its first general counsel in 2007 and 2008 and most recently Nauto, Inc., a big data/AI company backed by Softbank and Greylock Partners – a company I also represented since it was founded and served as its first general counsel.

I also have regularly served as outside general counsel to several startups where I have been responsible for “GC” level projects such as high-level board issues; M&A; data security; implementing a contract management system; opening offices internationally; scaling the legal department and hiring a general counsel. As an entrepreneur, I was the founder of Mandell Law Group, PC, a boutique law firm I ran for almost twenty years and was a co-founder of the software services company Originate. I was also deeply involved with EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) for years as a member and board member in the San Francisco Chapter. I have invested and advised several startups including: Phylagen, Motiv Power Systems, Solar Mosaic, BloomReach, 23&Me, Nauto, and LinkedIn.

I am passionate about art and photography. I am a former professional photographer and am a collector of fine art photography. I am Trustee of the CJM (Contemporary Jewish Museum) in San Francisco and on the Photo Accessions Board of SFMOMA. Philanthropy is also a big part of my life. I am a founding member of Battery Powered, a sophisticated giving circle that gives away millions of dollars and am an advisor to Crisis Text Line, which helps people with mental health issues through technology and big data.



  • English





San Francisco

909 Montgomery Street,

Suite 300,

CA 94133

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