When Justin Kan and I joined forces just over a year-and-a-half ago to build Atrium, we set out to develop a new kind of law firm: One that invests in its own future and relentlessly improves its own operations over time, just like the fast-growing companies we serve.
From my years as a litigator and “big law” corporate partner, I’ve had first-hand experience with everything that makes high-end legal practice exciting and gratifying, but also the inefficiencies of law firms that grind down the attorneys and paralegals. As a lawyer, I’ve always loved this profession and wanted to free the wonderful parts of it from the painful parts, for both clients and practitioners alike.
I first met Justin when I represented his brother’s company Cruise Automation in its sale to General Motors. He conducted an informal poll on Facebook about his friends’ experience working with law firms on venture capital financings. Justin had articulated a business problem and potential solution that I could validate from my experience as a lawyer. Our mutual friends connected us and we were off to the races.
Now a year-and-a-half into building Atrium, we are confident there is a substantially better way to manage and deliver legal service. The legal market is hungry for change, and this is reflected in our securing of $75.5 million in fundraising and serving over 280 clients in such a short period.
One of the things Justin and I bonded on immediately was our shared belief that the future of legal requires a new standard of excellence in legal management. The law firm of the future needs senior attorneys who are excellent legal and cross-functional managers.
In that light, today I’m excited to announce another milestone toward delivering on our promise – the promotion of Atrium attorneys Hans Kim and Jon O’Connell to Partner.
Hans and Jon have been serving as Senior Attorneys and Business Unit General Managers since joining the firm over a year ago. As General Managers they make the hiring and personnel decisions on their teams, supervise and mentor junior attorneys and paralegals, manage their team’s P&L, and formulate their team’s positions on strategic cross-functional matters such as pricing, marketing, and product strategy. Hans has served as the General Manager of our Atrium Counsel business unit, which offers clients corporate general counsel services. Jon has served as the General Manager of our Atrium Financing business unit, which offers clients legal advice and assistance in fundraising.
As partners, they will now take on firm-wide roles. Hans will lead finance and business model planning, while Jon leads the legal team’s professional development and culture across the firm.
Hans and Jon are wildly popular mentors and managers here at Atrium. Their promotion to partnership celebrates Atrium’s unique focus on good managerial fundamentals, legal team mentorship, and cross-functional collaboration. They are also world-class lawyers managing hundreds of Silicon Valley’s most valuable high-growth startups with NPS and client satisfaction scores that demolish legal industry benchmarks (legal industry average NPS in 2017 was 17; Atrium’s NPS is well over 50 and rising quickly).
Atrium’s unique business model combines a traditional corporate law firm with the typical business functions found in a modern business such as account management, engineering, product marketing, etc. On this more professionalized platform, senior attorneys are freed up to focus more of their time with clients and mentor their teams on substantive legal problem solving and service. A large portion of our legal team is solely focused on developing our internal capabilities and providing exceptional legal advice, while specialized growth teams are responsible for expanding and improving our clientele.
Building and growing Atrium’s legal practice to date with Jon and Hans has been a thrilling and exciting journey. It’s a pleasure and honor to now recognize them as partners. They are both true leaders with world-class legal expertise and unique managerial talent. They’re the future of the profession!
More about our new partners
Hans Kim is a veteran corporate and securities lawyer with over twenty years of legal experience. He previously worked at Paul Weiss in New York and Tokyo, Kim & Chang in Seoul, and Wilson Sonsini in Palo Alto. Hans also founded several technology companies, including Digital Eclipse Software and Backbone Entertainment. Hans is a member of the State Bar of New York and California. At Atrium, Hans manages a legal team of lawyers, paralegals and practice assistants in our Atrium Counsel business unit. Atrium Counsel lawyers advise high-growth startups on their legal needs. Nearly all Atrium Counsel clients are on Atrium subscription plans that cover startups’ day-to-day needs. Learn more about Hans.
Jon O’Connell is an 8th-year attorney who joined Atrium from Morrison & Foerster LLP where his practice ranged from representing early-stage technology startups to public companies. As the General Manager of the Atrium Financing business unit, Jon manages one of the most active venture capital financing teams in the industry, having completed over 50 equity financings in 2018. Jon’s team has also pioneered the development of industry-leading legal technology tools that automate workflows like complex pro forma cap table generation and the pre-closing signature collection process. Learn more about Jon.
Also covered on The American Lawyer.