Michael Esquivel provides strategic counseling to emerging and high-growth companies primarily in the digital health, consumer and enterprise tech, social networking, software and cloud computing industries.
He has a passion for working with cutting edge companies that are transforming industries and improving lives. This passion stems from his prior experience as general counsel of a venture-backed healthcare IT company. That inside view provides him with a deep understanding of entrepreneurs and an ability to anticipate his clients’ unique business and legal needs not only for today, but also over a company’s entire lifecycle.
An aggressive and 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 intellectual property and commercial transactions. He has negotiated and structured a wide variety of strategic transactions, including seed and venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, corporate reorganizations and debt financings. He also represents and advises incubators, angel investors, venture capitalists and investment banks.
Extremely active in the growing digital health and healthcare IT industries, Michael serves as an advisor to Rock Health, the sector's leading full-service seed fund. He also regularly contributes to Fenwick's Life Sciences Legal Insights blog where he writes about the latest issues and trends affecting the digital health and mobile health industries.
Get a glimpse of Michael’s insights on valuation and deal structure in a presentation he gave to a group of seed and angel investors.
Michael has represented some of the world’s most cutting-edge startups in their financings, including representing the following companies in multiple rounds of funding:
Michael has also represented various venture capital funds in investments in companies ranging from car-sharing technology to cloud storage to a social network for gamers. Additionally, he has advised leading clients on their M&A transactions, including:
What Can You Expect When You Work with 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 adviser, you’ll have an attorney 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.
More About Michael
A high-energy advocate who works tirelessly on behalf of his clients, Michael was recognized as one of the emerging leaders in the legal industry in the Daily Journal’s annual “Top 20 Under 40” for his work advising companies that seek to disrupt traditional healthcare markets and practices. Michael was also honored as one of California’s Top 100 lawyers by the Daily Journal and was recognized nationally by Chambers USA as a top lawyer for startup and emerging companies in 2018. Most recently, The Legal 500 ranked Michael as a Tier 1 lawyer in venture capital and emerging companies, particularly in the digital health space.
In addition to his practice, Michael is also a lecturer at Stanford Law School, where he teaches a course on venture capital law.
Prior to joining Fenwick & West, Michael served as the General Counsel for a venture-backed healthcare IT company based in Palo Alto.
While in law school, Michael served as a law clerk extern in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
He was born and raised in Los Angeles and still, deep down, calls it home. His family runs a small food production company there, and, if 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 lack of ability 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 three kids, two of whom are already 2nd degree black belts in Taekwondo and the third who is well on her way.