Insights from our friends at Taft

A full-service law firm known for assisting entrepreneurs across the Heartland
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Our Mission: to Advance Yours

At Taft, delivering outstanding legal performance to help clients succeed is what drives and motivates our more than 600 attorneys every day. The firm practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law. With a proven track record of experience since 1885, the firm offers breadth and depth of legal expertise coupled with a trusted business perspective to help our clients, big and small, regionally, nationally and internationally, reach their goals.

The firm has eleven offices in seven states: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Delaware, Ohio; Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Co.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Northern Kentucky; and Phoenix, Ariz. In addition, the firm has established China and Japan practices based in the United States.

Venture Capital and Emerging Companies

Attorneys in Taft’s Venture Capital and Emerging Companies practice focus on representing both venture capital funds and venture-backed companies from coast-to-coast in some of the most active industries, including information technology, life sciences, energy/cleantech and social and digital media. We ensure that each client works with an engaged team that is familiar with its industry, business objectives and market issues. We are able to combine our deep market knowledge with strong industry relationships to provide practical, business-oriented counsel designed for the needs of venture capital funds and emerging growth companies.

Venture Capital Services

Our attorneys remain actively engaged with our venture fund clients through the entire venture capital growth cycle: from fund formation, new money investments, follow-on and secondary financings and refinancings to IPOs and strategic and exit transactions, supporting our clients as they pursue portfolio company investments. We represent every stage of fund managers and sponsors, including structuring and forming:

  • Venture Capital Funds (seed through late-stage)
  • Angel Groups
  • Accelerators/Incubators
  • Corporate VC Groups
  • Funds of Funds
  • Family Offices

Our services include negotiations with investors; regulatory and tax planning and compliance; general partner entity and management company structuring and governance; compensation and incentives programs; and portfolio company due diligence, SEC filings and interaction, investment and ongoing oversight.

Emerging Company Services

Our attorneys represent a multitude of high growth companies across a broad range of industries in every stage of development. We have participated in hundreds of millions of dollars in venture fund transactions on behalf of our emerging growth clients.

We are ever-evolving with the needs of our emerging growth clients as they progress from start-up through exit or IPO. Our attorneys are skilled at counseling on the basics (e.g., formation, financings, equity incentive arrangements, labor and employment, governance issues and intellectual property protection), and we play an active, strategic advisory role in the operations of our emerging growth clients. In essence, we serve as a “virtual” general counsel, partnering with management to think through and help execute their growth and fundraising strategies on their path to success. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide cost-efficient and practical solutions with the flexible terms that high-growth companies desire.


Attorneys in Taft’s Technology group represent businesses on a broad range of issues relating to the ever-changing world of technology. Our multidisciplinary team combines extensive knowledge of the law with practical experience in the regulatory environment and the business concerns and risks that technology companies face on a daily basis.

Taft clients range from early-stage technology start-ups to Fortune 1000 companies across many industries and with a range of technology needs. Our skills and experience have enabled us to assist those clients grow by proactively assessing risks and responding to threats. Many of our attorneys have prior industry experience as engineers, scientists and industry consultants.

Our team provides both traditional representation and consulting services in the following areas:

Commercial Contracts
Our experience in commercial contracts helps both tech companies and companies with tech issues negotiate online contracts, such as SaaS agreements, SLAs, website terms and conditions, cloud storage agreements, tech transfer and licensing agreements.

Our transactional M&A attorneys assist tech companies through valuation, sale/IPO, monetization of IP portfolios, NDAs, IP and tech representations and diligence, and FTC regulation of e-commerce.

Data & Crisis Management
Our attorneys can assist with data management and crisis management. Our team is experienced in incident response plans, data breaches, emergency injunctions (DTSA, CFAA), regulatory litigation (FTC, FCC) and sophisticated litigation. Several of our lawyers hold the highest certifications in privacy and data security, including the Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) and the Certified Information Privacy Professional designation for the United States (CIPP/US) and other jurisdictions.

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Meredith Sugar

Partner / Columbus, Dayton
There is an acquisition offer on the table. It’s feeling really real that there will soon be at least seven digits in a founder’s bank account. How might that founder think about estate planning services?
Both prior to and after exiting a business, what sorts of steps might be taken to fully utilize estate and gift tax exemptions?

Robert W. McDonald

Partner / Cincinnati
What are the preferred instruments for raising capital (i.e. Convertible Debt, SAFE, or equity)?
How do I identify investors that would be a good fit for my startup?
What should an early stage founder consider when selling equity to investors?
What guidelines can you provide early stage founders to ensure they are not violating any securities regulations?
What are the most important terms to be aware of when raising capital (i..e valuation, board structure, dividends, interest rate, etc.)?

Philip Bautista

Partner / Cleveland
Can two Trademarks co-exist? What are other common misconceptions of filing a Trademark?

Kevin Kinross

Partner / Columbus
Can two Trademarks co-exist? What are other common misconceptions of filing a Trademark?
We’ve heard that - in startup land - you should either incorporate in Delaware or your home state. Is Delaware really where I need to incorporate? If a founder wants her company to be a Delaware company, does it have to be physically present there to reap the benefit?

Scot Ganow

Senior Counsel / Dayton
I have limited resources, what are the three biggest pieces of low hanging fruit for data security and privacy?
Are there privacy and data security standards that I should know about?

Devin Spencer

Associate / Columbus
Of course, no one looks forward to firing an employee. But what do founders need to consider before, during, and after firing an employee?
Help us understand the difference between contractors and employees? When does it make sense to hire a contractor vs. an employee?

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