When Allison Leopold Tilley moved to the Silicon Valley office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP from San Francisco in 1994, one of the firm’s partners asked her why she was throwing her career away. The concern turned out to be misplaced. Tillley has built a robust practice in the Valley, advising technology clients from startup to IPO to sale and then representing their founders on new ventures, she tells David Marcus in this week’s Drinks With The Deal Podcast.
Shortly after she moved to Silicon Valley, Tilley started working with Webex, which was founded in 1995 by Subrah Iyar and Min Zhu. She advised the company on its 2000 IPO and its $3.2 billion sale to Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) in 2007. She’s now working with Iyer at Moxstra Inc., the collaboration company he started in 2012.
Tilley cites Atheros Communications Inc. as another key early client; she advised it on its 2004 IPO and its $3.7 billion sale to Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) and represented Barefoot Networks, a company headed by former Atheros CEO Craig Barratt, on its sale to Intel Corp. (INTC). Atheros general counsel Adam Tachner went on to InvenSens Inc., which Tilley advised on its $1.3 billion sale to TDK Corp. in 2017.
Tilley has served as a corporate director herself; she was on the board at FBR & Co. in 2016 and 2017, when it faced a proxy fight, came close to signing a merger of equals and ended up agreeing to sell to B. Riley Financial Inc. (RILY) for $160 million. “It’s a different feeling when you’re on the board and being accused of things than when you’re on the outside advising,” she says of the experience of being a target company director in a proxy fight.