Venturous Counsel Team

About Us

Aravinda Seshadri

Aravinda is the Founding Partner of Venturous Counsel, a uniquely mission-driven firm dedicated to exclusively representing underestimated startups and investors committed to prioritizing diversity in their own organizations, as well as assisting such business to find the right legal partner, to help level the playing field for these startups and investors in terms of access to quality legal counsel. As a part of that work, she actively maintains and expands her network of diverse-led law firms and diverse attorneys to whom she can refer startups and investors needing the right legal partner.  She has also initiated a series of Diversity Referral nights, organized to give diverse lawyers in various specialty areas the opportunity to present their practices to other attorneys, particularly those in large law firms, in-house and government positions, to broaden their networks and facilitate referring work to these diverse attorneys.

Aravinda is the committee chair of the Solo/Small Firms committee of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.  She also participates in various technology and legal forums that focus on women and women of color, advising accelerators with diverse cohorts and helping to judge startup pitch events at UC Hastings.

Aravinda has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star every year since 2015. She was previously a Partner at Silicon Legal Strategy in San Francisco, before which, she was a corporate associate in the startup practice of Hogan Lovells in Palo Alto. She started her career in Orrick’s Emerging Companies Group in Menlo Park.  Aravinda received her law degree with distinction from Stanford University Law School and her undergraduate degree with honors in Language and Mind from New York University.

She has represented a broad range of startups, entrepreneurs, venture capital firms and public companies, working directly with high-level executives and directors, advising companies and investors in various equity financing structures, M&A transactions, licensing and strategic partnerships, as well as day-to-day counseling. She has worked with companies from formation through financing rounds to acquisition or public offering and been primarily responsible for SEC reporting obligations thereafter.

For context on how Aravinda works, she has done an Office Hours on Elpha and a webinar on Mistakes Founders Make (and how to avoid them!).

Michael Young

Michael is a Senior Attorney at Venturous Counsel.  He specializes in advising emerging companies and their investors at all stages in a company’s life cycle—from formation to exit.  Prior to joining Venturous Counsel, Michael represented startups and investors at Silicon Legal Strategy and at Perkins Coie LLP (where he also did a stint as a commercial litigation attorney).  Michael is passionate about empowering clients to realize their vision and navigate the complex startup ecosystem with confidence by offering actionable, bottom-line-oriented advice.  His pro bono legal practice is focused on refugee and asylum matters; his latest project is working with Afghan translators and their family members to obtain legal protection in the United States.

Michael was born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana (rather unlike the Beach Boys song of the same name) but cut his teeth in Chicago before making his home in the San Francisco Bay Area over a decade ago.  He received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism.  Outside of work, Michael is a climate activist, the founder and lead guitarist of Northern California hard rock cover band “Night Train”, and a certified yoga instructor offering restorative yoga classes and workshops for private events and at studios around the Bay Area.

Jennifer Farhat

Jen is a Managing Attorney at Venturous Counsel and is a California and Beirut Bar admitted lawyer with ten years of in-house experience at a regional bank in the Middle East. She has experience in M&A, Project Finance, and Technology and has worked extensively on cross-border transactions in these areas. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Saint Joseph University of Beirut and an LLM from the University of London. She is passionate about human rights, social justice and women empowerment.

Arlene McCoy

Arlene is an Attorney at Venturous Counsel. She holds an economics degree from the University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. Originally from Mexico and a daughter of small business owners, Arlene is committed to providing tailored, responsive, and efficient advice to diverse entrepreneurs. She maintains an active involvement in the community by volunteering in several minority focused bar associations.

Jessica Brodsky

Jessica is an Attorney at Venturous Counsel. Prior to joining the team, she worked at Perkins Coie LLP in the Emerging Companies and Venture Capital group, where she represented a wide variety of companies and investors. She received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in History from UCLA. Jessica is committed to providing efficient and individualized counsel to diverse clients. When not practicing law she can be found studying obscure languages, doing elaborate needlework, or reading cheesy fantasy novels.

Shelly Lee

Shelly is the Executive Assistant for Venturous Counsel.  She has a strong legal administrative background, with over 25 years of experience, which allows her to assist the entire team to provide quality work to our wonderful clients.  Her background includes support for the legal department of a large semiconductor company, commercial litigation and family law as well as robust customer service experience.  Outside of work you will find her volunteering in anything related to the care of animals and enjoying outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking and camping. 

Naomi Smith

Naomi is a Senior Paralegal. Before joining Venturous Counsel, she worked at Goodwin Procter as a Venture Capital Funds Paralegal and in a State and Local Tax practice at Reed Smith.  Her particular areas of specialty include Blue Sky regulations and securities filings. She is excited to work with Venturous Counsel and put her skills with startups and venture capital financing to work for women and diverse founders.

She holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the London School of Economics and before a career change to the legal field, she worked as an investment analyst, financial markets economist, and was a Staff Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers specializing in international economics.

She worked in the Tokyo financial markets for five years and enjoys international travel.  Next on the list is the Galapagos Islands.  She also loves cooking, especially dishes from the many countries she has visited or lived in. 

Michelle Ruff

Michelle is an Administrative Assistant with Venturous Counsel.  She is a business professional with experience as a legal assistant in litigation, real property, business, estate planning and probate law and worked for many years prior to starting in law in apartment management as a Property Manager.  She is a Washington State native but after spending twenty years in the Dallas area, also considers Texas home.  When she is away from work you will find her enjoying time with her husband, two small children and two dogs enjoying the outdoors camping, on the beach of a local river and taking walks.

Consetta Bringhurst

Coni is a Paralegal at Venturous Counsel.  She holds an associate degree in Criminal Justice – Courts from Ricks College and received her ABA approved paralegal training from Westminster College.  She began her career working for the second largest law firm in Utah at the time but has since spent a large piece of her career working as an in-house paralegal for multiple startups or expanding into other business roles.  When not working she can be found mentoring young women ages 11-18 in the areas of social, physical, spiritual and intellectual growth or supporting her teenage and young adult children with developing their passions.

Najee Thornton

Najee is a Managing Attorney at Venturous Counsel. Prior to joining the team, he worked for large national law firms, where he advised a wide variety of companies and investors in all stages of a company’s life cycle. He received his law degree from Howard University School of Law – where he served as the Managing Editor of the Howard Law Journal – and an undergraduate degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Najee is committed to providing high quality and practical legal services to the founders, companies, and investors who need it most. When not working, you can find Najee volunteering his time as an Advisory Board member of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, coaching youth basketball, or dining out at one of his favorite restaurants in Los Angeles.

Grace Collins

Grace is a Senior Paralegal at Venturous Counsel and has worked as a corporate paralegal for over 26 years. Grace graduated with a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and obtained her paralegal certificate from Meredith College in Raleigh. She began her career as a paralegal working in a boutique law firm focused exclusively on start-ups in the Research Triangle Park area and subsequently worked at two large law firms based in Raleigh and Charlotte. When not working she enjoys travelling, watching TV with her family and hanging out with friends.