Ex-Wall Street Exec and Marketer Team Up to Form Law Firm for Venture Capital and Corporate Law

“After not practicing for so long, we chose to start our new firm because we both had a passion and intrigue for how attorneys operate, assist and facilitate businesses with all legal requirements and obstacles,” Philip Danisi said.

January 18, 2022 at 03:14 PM

 3 minute read

What You Need to Know

Two friends since childhood, Philip Danisi and David Gassman, are starting their own law firm, Danisi and Gassman, even though the pair opted for careers outside of law after law school.

The company, which operates out of a leased office space in midtown Manhattan, handles all areas of venture capital and corporate law, including formation, fundraising, management, growth and expansion.

Danisi and Gassman interned at law firms before venturing into different career paths after law school—Danisi on Wall Street as a finance executive and Gassman in Los Angeles as a marketing executive. They said they are ready for the challenge.

“We saw a tremendous need for a boutique firm in the venture capital, entrepreneurial space because there was a tremendous amount of startups, new companies forming and existing companies expanding that needed hands on legal representation as well as involvement,” Danisi said.

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The pair, who are Danisi and Gassman’s only attorneys, said COVID-19 delayed the launch of the firm, but they never wavered or doubted their vision.

It’s not an easy dream to achieve, said Precious Owodunni, CEO of Houston-based Mountaintop Consulting, which provides consulting to law firms and financial institutions. She said many attorneys who leave successful firms to start their own firms love the practice of law but are shocked by the demands of entrepreneurship.

Some common challenges, she said, are learning about law firm economics (which is not taught in law school), scaling the startup law firm quickly enough to meet the expectations of clients and marketing.

“These challenges can be addressed successfully by outsourcing marketing, professional development, and recruiting functions. Once those initial hurdles are surpassed, the enduring one we’ve observed is the struggle to maintain an active law practice while also serving as the business and people leader of the firm,” she said.

Danisi, who retired from his two-decades-long finance career five years ago, said he saw a need for this kind of legal service after colleagues and banking clients began leaving large international brokerage companies and massive banks to pursue their own ventures in all areas of venture capital.

“Given my background in finance and David’s expertise in marketing, we saw a unique opportunity for a law firm to provide hands-on, full-service assistance to these ventures—new and existing,” he said.

Before launching the law firm, Danisi served as CEO for the Deerfield, Florida-based shredding companies Shed Trust, Med Trust and Doc Trust. He also was senior vice president for the brokerage and financial technology company BGC USA, and he gained other experience at the brokerage firm GFI London.

Before Danisi and Gassman, Gassman spent eight years as a sales associate at Hugo Boss and 11 years as vice president of entertainment at Los Angeles-based A.D.D. Marketing.

“After not practicing for so long, we chose to start our new firm because we both had a passion and intrigue for how attorneys operate, assist and facilitate businesses with all legal requirements and obstacles,” Danisi said.

Danisi said many entrepreneurs and leaders of startups are so laser-focused on their visions that they may not think about involving an attorney.

“D&G can essentially be an ‘outside in-house’ to new, emerging, and promising companies, leading and advising them on business matters, growth, marketplace positioning, as well as all things legal, to allow them to function on all cylinders,” he said.

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