Lisa W. Liu
A legal maverick with a reputation for challenging the status quo, Lisa is the advocate start-ups rely on for proactive, creative approaches to structuring, operating and growing businesses. She skillfully leverages her finance experience in conjunction with the law to position clients for growth and successful exit. Bringing these unique insights to her work as a business and immigration attorney, she understands the big picture when it comes to supporting her clients’ business game plans.
As senior partner at The Mitzel Group, many of Lisa’s clients, which span the range of industries and sectors with a decidedly start-up bent, rely on her as outside general counsel, seeking her ongoing expertise in developing competitive strategies for growth – often extending to entity formation, immigration and mobility, financing, media and privacy concerns, M&A, licensing and succession planning. Assisting rapidly scaling clients at every stage of development – from establishing the right entity and governance model to fundraising to successful exit events – Lisa is a dedicated counselor and advocate, who uses the law to inform and shape business strategies.
Lisa also has deep insight into navigating the immigration process from both an investor and employer perspective. She helps foreign and domestic businesses with all aspects of corporate and business transactions. Related to this work, she assists business owners, managers, and employers in working through challenging immigration issues, including various visa eligibility and naturalization issues, as well as work-site immigration compliance issues (I-9 compliance).
Steeped in Finance and Law
Lisa began her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, then worked in-house and for several prestigious boutique law firms, representing high-profile clients in a variety of corporate matters. Lisa finds herself today at The Mitzel Group because it allows her to truly connect with people from small- and medium-sized businesses on a more intimate level, where she can provide more client-specific and unique legal counseling.
Outside the Office
Beyond client work, Lisa applies a business mindset and solutions-oriented approach to confront high-level and complex issues within the community. She serves on the board of directors for start-up QuickHaven, a benefit corporation that manufactures revolutionary stack-flat code compliant emergency shelters aimed at solving homelessness. She is also a limited partner in the VC firm, How Women Invest, which is changing the venture capital landscape by focusing on investments in female-founded and female-led technology companies, with emphasis on women of color.
Outside General Counsel
Technology company: As outside general counsel, Lisa oversees negotiations on all transactions and solves any problems that arise in day-to-day operations, as well as in executing on its long-term development strategies, including advising the company on transactions expected to double its roughly $220M value.
Medical equipment company: Since its initial formation, Lisa has served as outside general counsel to this company, founded by a serial entrepreneur in the athletic recovery space. Taking the company through start-up, she recently assisted in its latest $5M funding round and is helping the company position for a potential acquisition.
Online retailer: Serving as outside general counsel since 2014, Lisa handles the full range of legal matters from corporate governance and business agreements to intellectual property matters. She recently led the company’s $12M funding and financing transactions and helped it acquire two companies and multiple brands. She assisted with a $6M equity raise and $6M debt facility, all while retaining more than 80% ownership and control for the company’s founders – quite a feat in the emerging growth arena.
Nonprofit association: As outside general counsel for this organization, Lisa handles nearly all its legal needs, including helping the group transition from an in-person format to a purely digital and virtual organization due to the COVID pandemic and ensuring compliance with respect to privacy and digital operations.
Private equity firm: Lisa acts as outside counsel for a private equity firm focused on SaaS companies. Not only does she work with many of their portfolio companies, she helps the firm structure their holdings and investments.
Mergers & Acquisition (M&A):
Buyer’s Counsel: Lisa served as buyer’s counsel in the $5M acquisition of a company, closing the deal in a record time of only three weeks.
Seller’s Counsel: For an advertising technology company, after serving as outside general counsel and helping them grow from a small team of 7 to more than 50 employees, Lisa shepherded the company through the sale of their assets.
Shareholder Buyout: Serving as the company’s lead counsel, Lisa stepped in to assist in this shareholder buyout that had stalled for nearly a year. Within two months, she spearheaded negotiation of the terms of the buyout in a deal that was half of what was offered previously.
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Corporate Law, 2024
- The American Lawyer, Trailblazers West, 2021
- Recognized in Northern California Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2021-2023)
- Recognized in Northern California Super Lawyers “Rising Stars,” Thomson Reuters (2017 – 2019)
- American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Member
- ProVisors, Member
- QuickHaven, Board of Directors
- How Women Invest, Limited Partner
- Board of Palo Alto Menlo Park Parents’ Club, Legal Director
- Rotary International (Palo Alto University Rotary), Member
- The State Bar of California
- The State Bar of New York
- J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law
- M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science, European Political Economy
- B.A.Tufts University, Japanese and International Relations with a concentration in International Finance
- Mandarin – fluent
- Japanese – conversational
- Business and Corporate Law
- Business Immigration Law