Our Attorneys

At Fontanesi Legal Consulting, our in-house attorneys are available around-the-clock to help with all your business and corporate law needs.  We also have a network of more than 100 attorneys from some of the top law firms around the world that we can tap into anytime to find you the exact level of experience and skill set you need.  Whether you're looking for an on-call attorney to review or negotiate customer or supplier contracts, an employment lawyer to draft employee stock option plans, or a skilled transactional attorney to guide you through funding rounds or cross-border acquisitions, we have the experience and skill set you're looking for. 

Meet Our Founder

DANI FONTANESI, ESQ.
Attorney at Law | Founder
Education

JD, Washington University in St. Louis

  • Law school ranked in top 10% in U.S.

  • Recipient of Scholar in Law Award ($90,000 scholarship)

  • Editor of Washington University Journal of Law & Policy

  • Ranked in 98th percentile of all U.S. law students on LSAT

International Business Law LL.M. Programme, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal

  • Participated in advanced international business law program ranked #12 in world by Financial Times Global Legal Education Report 2010

Institute for Global Justice, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands 

  • Studied international public and private law at top tier European university

B.S., University of California, Riverside 

  • Academic achievement recognized by multiple semesters on Dean's List 

Admissions
  • California

We believe that relationships are personal. It's important that you know who you're working with -- not just professionally, but personally.  We hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about the Founder of FLC Dani Fontanesi. 

Tell me a bit about your background.

I'm originally from California (and Hawai'i), but a scholarship offer lured me out to the Midwest for law school.  After graduation, I followed my now-husband to New Zealand where his Structural Engineering skills were in high demand following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes.

We spent a few years living in Wellington, where I worked in the international corporate team at one of the top law firms in the country, focusing on cross-border mergers and acquisitions (mainly in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific region).

Tell me about your in-house experience.

My first in-house role was in the corporate team of a large, publicly-traded energy company.  A large focus of my work was transactional -- everything from reviewing day-to-day supplier contracts to negotiating multi-million dollar purchase contracts for wind turbines or financial contracts for energy swaps (ISDA contracts).  I was also responsible for managing stock market disclosures, leading legal trainings, administering stock option plans, and advising on corporate governance matters. 

Tell me about your role as Associate General Counsel of an Andreessen Horowitz backed tech company in Silicon Valley.

When I first started working in Silicon Valley, I was acting as external corporate counsel to a tech startup that had just raised a $20M Series B. Things were moving quickly, and "move fast and break things" was a motto they embraced.

 

Coming from a publicly traded company, I was used to structure and well established processes. In the startup world, this doesn't exist.  Things are often intentionally unstructured. The status quo is challenged. Traditional thinking is rejected in favor of unconventional ideas. Failure is encouraged because every failure is a step closer to success. "Risk" is not a word to be feared -- it's embraced as a necessary component to growth.

These were all new ways of thinking for me, and I had to let go of my heavily ingrained lawyer instinct of wanting to protect my client from every legal risk. Instead, I had to think like a founder. I had to navigate risk in a way that helped my clients achieve their goals with the best outcome possible. Minimizing legal risk is a part of that, but it's not all of it. In fact, it's often a small component of the bigger picture, which unfortunately, is too often overlooked by many lawyers.

 

My goal as an attorney is to be a partner to my clients -- to help them think outside the box and navigate legal risk strategically. When I eventually accepted a position as lead legal counsel at an Andreessen Horowitz backed startup, it was life-changing. I had the privilege of working with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, and I learned so much from them along the way. Plus, when you're backed by investors like Marc Benioff, Y Combinator, and Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher), you get the benefit of great press and great surprises, like Ashton Kutcher casually dropping by the office!

What made you start Fontanesi Legal Consulting?

In 2015, my husband and I moved back to the U.S. from New Zealand. My husband needed medical treatment, and I needed a job that allowed me to work remotely so I could support him during his treatment while still paying the bills. 

 

I started providing legal consultancy services initially to large companies and law firms on an ad hoc basis to supplement existing in-house teams.  Eventually my practice grew to offering a full range of "external in-house counsel" services to businesses in every stage of the business lifecycle -- from startups to Fortune 1,000 companies.

In my role with FLC, I now act as external Corporate Counsel to a variety of clients from small startups to multi-million dollar tech companies and $1B+ funds.  My clients stretch from San Diego to the Bay Area, and all across the country. I even work with overseas clients doing business in the U.S.

What makes Fontanesi Legal Consulting unique?

At FLC, we're not your traditional law firm.  We're a lean, flexible team of highly qualified attorneys that are available to serve your legal needs on your terms. We can ramp up or ramp down quickly, based on your needs, and unlike other law firms, we're not going to charge you $400/hr to review an NDA or redline a customer agreement.  Our attorneys' fees start at $175/hr and are based on common-sense (not greed) and vary based on the type of work.  

 

What does it mean to you to be a woman-owned business?

As a woman-owned business, we recognize the importance of flexibility in work schedules and location.  As a mother, I believe that children and family come first.  I also believe that putting your family first doesn't mean that your career, work quality or output has to suffer -- to the contrary, when you're in charge of your own work-life balance, productivity thrives. 

 

I originally started FLC following my husband's diagnosis with leukemia in 2015.  We were living in hospitals and temporary outpatient housing for a year following his bone marrow transplant, and I needed a work schedule that allowed me to schedule conference calls around blood transfusions or bone marrow biopsies.  Ultimately, I founded a thriving law practice that way.  Many of our attorneys work remotely, which means they enjoy the same flexibility and we don't have the heavy overhead of traditional law firms.

(For more on Dani and Matt Fontanesi's journey with leukemia, visit www.TeamFont.com)

San Francisco:  (415) 295- 4456  | San Diego:  (858) 900-7668 |  Email: danielle@fontanesilaw.com