Robert S. Townsend - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Robert S. Townsend

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2008
Phone: 415-268-7080

Robert Townsend serves as co-chair of Morrison & Foerster's Global M+A Practice Group. He has extensive transactional experience in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, securities law, technology and intellectual property matters, leveraged buyouts, and venture capital. Mr. Townsend's experience includes transactions in numerous industries, such as software, Internet, media, communications, semiconductor, computers, consumer products, healthcare, life sciences, Cleantech, energy, wineries and vineyards. Mr. Townsend also has extensive international experience, having been involved in transactions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Mr. Townsend has represented numerous public and private companies and investors in corporate and finance matters ranging from mergers and acquisitions to seed round financings and initial public offerings. He regularly advises CEOs, Boards of Directors and Special Committees in strategic and corporate governance issues. Mr. Townsend has represented clients in more than 200 public and private company acquisitions, strategic alliances and financings, ranging in size from more than several billion dollars to much smaller transactions.

Mr. Townsend moved to the Tokyo office in 1990 where he served as managing partner from 1994 to 1996. Mr. Townsend served as chair of Morrison & Foerster's Global Business Department from 1996 to 2003.

Mr. Townsend previously worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Congressman Don Edwards from 1979 to 1981.

Mr. Townsend is renowned for his M&A acumen and widely recognized by leading independent authorities. He has been named “Dealmaker of the Year” by the M&A Advisor and honored as the “California Lawyer of the Year” (“CLAY”) for transactional law. He is recommended as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, Legal 500 US, and IFLR1000. Clients interviewed for Chambers USA 2013 asserts that he is “highly responsive and provides great client service” and is a highly tactical M&A lawyer with deep expertise in Asian deals.” Mr. Townsend is hailed by clients reviewed for Chambers USA 2014 as “extremely knowledgeable about recent trends and cases,” and “widely acknowledged for his expert work in high-value transactions.” His other honors include:

  • Recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA 2014 for excellence in the field of M&A/Corporate work
  • Named Global M&A Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by the Major Markets M&A Atlas Awards
  • Named a Law360 2013 MVP for M&A
  • Selected as the “Dealmaker of the Week” by The American Lawyer in 2013 for his work on the Sprint/Softbank deal, which they designated as the ”Global M&A Deal of the Year, U.S.”
  • Named to the 2013 list of Top 100 Lawyers in California by The Daily Journal
  • Selected as one of the “2010 Attorneys of the Year” by The Recorder
  • Recognized as a BTI Client Service All-Star
  • Named as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the field of Corporate Law and M&A Law (2008-present)
  • Recognized by his peers as a “Highly Recommended Practitioner: Corporate Finance, M&A, and Joint Ventures” in the Mergers and Acquisitions Global Counsel Handbook for the past few years

Representative transactions handled by Mr. Townsend appear below.  To view a more complete list see Matters.

University of California, BerkeleyBS Stanford Law School J.D.

Client Comments

"Rob has a very highly developed business sense that helps inform the legal advice he provides us and that gives him substantial credibility with our business people. He has handled a large number of M&A deals for us over the years and we are consistently impressed with him and the teams he fields for our deals."

"I have twice used Rob Townsend and Morrison & Foerster for M&A work. Once was as a buyer and once as a seller. His advice was golden. He was quick to understand our issues, extremely knowledgeable, and provided invariably sage advice. He was also extremely efficient. I am a highly critical client and have found it hard to find good legal counsel. Rob is absolutely superb. He is the best transaction lawyer of any kind with whom I have worked. "

-Aaron Edlin

Office Location

425 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2482
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Mergers and Acquisitions Law of the San Francisco Metro Area
Robert S. Townsend has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!

Practice Areas

Corporate Law
Mergers and Acquisitions Law