Michael T. Esquivel

650-335-7913
mesquivel@fenwick.com
Industry Co-Lead
Healthtech
Partner
Corporate

Michael T.
Esquivel

Michael T.
Esquivel

Michael T.
Esquivel

Partner
Corporate
Industry Co-Lead
Healthtech

Michael is a nationally recognized corporate and securities lawyer for emerging and high-growth companies.

He provides strategic counseling primarily in the healthtech, consumer, enterprise, fintech and cloud & internet industries.

Michael's passion for working with cutting-edge companies that are transforming industries and improving lives stems from his experience as general counsel of a venture-backed healthtech company. That inside view enables him to deeply understand entrepreneurs and anticipate their business and legal needs over a company’s entire lifecycle.

An aggressive, tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and the companies and teams they have built, Michael advises clients on all aspects of general corporate and securities law—from formation and corporate governance responsibilities to equity incentives and employment issues, to IP and commercial transactions. He regularly negotiates and structures strategic transactions, including seed and venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, corporate reorganizations, and debt financings. Michael also represents venture capital firms, strategic investors and investment banks that finance these companies.

Michael is particularly active in healthtech and was recently named one of nine “behind-the scenes players who can make or break a digital-health startup” by Business Insider. He also serves as an advisor to Rock Health, a venture fund focused on powering the future of healthcare. A regular contributor to Fenwick's Life Sciences Legal Insights blog, Michael frequently writes about the latest issues and trends affecting the ever-evolving healthtech industry and shares additional insights on X and LinkedIn. Michael is also the co-host of Closing Time, a new podcast that allows listeners to eavesdrop on the pitches that are reshaping healthcare.

In addition to his active practice, Michael is passionate about helping the future leading startup attorneys and the next generation of entrepreneurs, teaching Venture Capital at Stanford Law School for the last six years. He also serves as a member of the Strategic Advisory Board for the UCSF/UC Berkeley Joint Program in Computational Precision Health.

Michael has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including being named a Top 100 Lawyer in California by The Daily Journal the last five years, and a top lawyer in startups and venture capital by Chambers USA and Legal 500.

More About Michael

Michael’s guiding principles are to thoughtfully safeguard his clients’ long-term interests and help them to be innovative with their technologies, yet practical and straightforward in their legal affairs. You can expect to work with someone who shares your enthusiasm and passion and will proactively address legal challenges so that you can focus on your business.

What excites Michael most about his practice is working with game-changing entrepreneurs whose ideas are breaking new ground every day. With Michael as your advisor, you’ll have a lawyer who understands your business and the needs of entrepreneurs and rapidly growing companies, and who can help you navigate the ever-changing waters of emerging industries and the laws that apply to them. He will be a long-term partner in the growth of your company and an integral member of the team that you rely on for your company’s success. Read more about Michael in his interview with The Recorder.

Michael was born and raised in Los Angeles and still, deep down, calls it home. His family runs a small food production company there, and were he not an attorney, Michael would be in Southern California working with his brother to support and grow the family business. He’d also like to take a swing at a startup but bemoans his inability to write code.

When he’s not working, he spends his time trying to get in a bit of exercise and keep up with his kids, two of whom are already second-degree black belts in Taekwondo, and the third who is well on her way.

Read more

Michael Esquivel is an exceptional partner for any venture-funded startup. He has excellent judgement and communicates extremely well with CEOs and board members."

Legal 500 US, 2023

  • Lecturer, Stanford Law School, Venture Capital Law

  • Lecturer, Stanford Law School, Venture Capital Law

  • Alchemy
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • AppLovin
  • Brightline
  • brightwheel
  • BRINC Drones
  • Calm
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Curology
  • Define Ventures
  • DexCare
  • EDX
  • Everlane
  • Evidation Health
  • Facebook
  • Formation Bio
  • Figma
  • Freenome
  • GGV Capital
  • GoPro
  • Honor Technology
  • Kikoff
  • Lumosity
  • Lux Capital
  • Menlo Ventures
  • Nuna
  • OpenSea
  • Propeller Health
  • Refactor Capital
  • Rock Health
  • Saildrone
  • Sequoia Capital
  • Threshold Ventures
  • TigerConnect
  • Vic.ai
  • Writer

  • Alchemy
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • AppLovin
  • Brightline
  • brightwheel
  • BRINC Drones
  • Calm
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Curology
  • Define Ventures
  • DexCare
  • EDX
  • Everlane
  • Evidation Health
  • Facebook
  • Formation Bio
  • Figma
  • Freenome
  • GGV Capital
  • GoPro
  • Honor Technology
  • Kikoff
  • Lumosity
  • Lux Capital
  • Menlo Ventures
  • Nuna
  • OpenSea
  • Propeller Health
  • Refactor Capital
  • Rock Health
  • Saildrone
  • Sequoia Capital
  • Threshold Ventures
  • TigerConnect
  • Vic.ai
  • Writer
Michael is an aggressive, tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and the companies and teams they have built.
Michael is an aggressive, tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and the companies and teams they have built.

Michael is as thorough and easy to work with as he is responsive and pragmatic."

Chambers USA

2022 Edition

Michael is as thorough and easy to work with as he is responsive and pragmatic."

Chambers USA

2022 Edition

Michael is an aggressive, tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and the companies and teams they have built.
Michael is an aggressive, tireless advocate for entrepreneurs and the companies and teams they have built.

Michael is as thorough and easy to work with as he is responsive and pragmatic."

Chambers USA

2022 Edition

Recognition Recognition Recognition

Recognition Recognition Recognition

Recognition
Business Insider

2021

Named Michael one of the nine behind-the-scenes players who can make or break a healthtech startup.

Chambers USA

2023

Recognized Michael among the nation's leading lawyers for venture capital work in California. In addition, he is consistently recognized nationally as a top lawyer for startups and emerging companies.

The Daily Journal

2017-2021

Recognized Michael as an emerging leader in the legal industry for his work advising companies that seek to disrupt traditional healthcare markets and practices

The Legal 500

2022-2023

Ranked Michael as a Tier 1 lawyer in venture capital and emerging companies

Recognition
Business Insider

2021

Named Michael one of the nine behind-the-scenes players who can make or break a healthtech startup.

Chambers USA

2023

Recognized Michael among the nation's leading lawyers for venture capital work in California. In addition, he is consistently recognized nationally as a top lawyer for startups and emerging companies.

The Daily Journal

2017-2021

Recognized Michael as an emerging leader in the legal industry for his work advising companies that seek to disrupt traditional healthcare markets and practices

The Legal 500

2022-2023

Ranked Michael as a Tier 1 lawyer in venture capital and emerging companies