Kenneth Guernsey, Partner

Kenn Guernsey is a partner in the Cooley Business department. Resident in the San Francisco office, he has practiced with the firm since 1978, except for a five-year period during which he served as general counsel and a venture capital partner with Hambrecht & Quist (now JP Morgan). He served as Cooley's chief executive from 1990 to 1996.

Mr. Guernsey's practice is focused on the representation of public and private companies, investment banks and venture capital investors. He has served as counsel to numerous companies that have pioneered new industries or business models or led their industries, including Genentech, eBay, Yelp, Medivation, Jawbone, Zynga, Gilead Sciences, Wired, Hambrecht & Quist, Peet's Coffee & Tea, LeapFrog, Metricom, Quokka Sports, Raychem and Atari. He has also represented many leading investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan. Mr. Guernsey's transactional expertise includes initial and follow-on public offerings, PIPE financings, private placements, merger and acquisition transactions and complex strategic alliances. He has represented issuers and underwriters in more than 90 public offerings and has been recognized by IPO Vital Signs as ranking among the top lawyers nationally for the number of IPOs handled. Mr. Guernsey is recognized by Chambers USA as a leader in the Capital Markets: Debt & Equity category. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America recognized for Corporate Law, Securities/Capital Markets Law, Securities Regulation, Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law and Venture Capital Law and in Northern California Superlawyers. He also received recognition from Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in 2015 for M&A/Corporate and Commercial - Venture Capital and Emerging Companies. He has been named in the Daily Journal's list of the Top 100 Lawyers in California.

From 1982 until returning to Cooley in 1988, Mr. Guernsey was a senior executive with Hambrecht & Quist. He initially served as vice president and general counsel, in which role he created, staffed and managed a full service legal and compliance department and participated in numerous securities underwriting, M&A and venture capital transactions. In 1984, he was named a general partner and chief operating officer of Hambrecht & Quist Venture Partners, where he participated in the formation and management of a dozen domestic and international venture capital funds comprising one of the largest pools of venture capital at that time.

Mr. Guernsey received a JD in 1978 from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. He concurrently earned an MBA in finance from UCLA's Graduate School of Management and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. In 1974, he received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics, graduating cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mr. Guernsey has served as a director of numerous private and public companies and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center and the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council of Northern California. He is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the State Bar of California.


  • University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
    JD, 1978
  • University of California-Los Angeles
    MBA Finance, 1978, Beta Gamma Sigma
  • University of California-Los Angeles
    BS Mathematics, 1974, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • The Bar Association of San Francisco

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