Documentation, negotiation, comment, strategy & tactical advice for Individuals, small to midsized startups & going businesses, in Formation, financing, contracts, real estate, IP, Internet, dispute resolution, & trusts & estates.

Firm Overview

I strive for realistic, practical solutions, to disputes as well as more positive matters; documentation that is clear, readable, understandable and as brief as possible (whether this is by improving upon documentation you present to me or creating documentation for you); and educating my Clients so they understand as much as possible and can be less reliant on attorneys for similar situations afterwards. I have 44 years of extraordinary education & experience, both in depth and of wide scope, and I love my work.
Main Office
Main Office
6039 Bullard Drive
Oakland  CA  94611
  • (510) 339-7014


Free Initial Consultation?
Hourly Rates
225.00 Per Hour
(1) Full-spectrum of small business matters
(2) Personal business matters
(3) Trusts and other estate documents.
(4) Settling disagreements without litigation.

-----negotiating, and

in the areas of

-----personal business,
-----company formation,
-----commercial business,
-----estates and trusts, and
-----keeping disagreements out of litigation.


Personal Loans (Promissory Notes: Demand, Term, Variable Principal, Secured),
Joint Ownership (Tenancy in Common),
Sales (Real Estate, Personal Property),
Dispute Negotiation (Business & Personal),
Small Claims Coaching,
Neighbor Agreements (Trees, Views, Boundaries),
Wills, Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Other Estate Planning Documents,
Mandated Prenuptial Review (Drafted by the Other Side),
Basic Litigation Management (Tactics, Strategies, How to Think About It),
Formation of Businesses (Corporations, LLCs, Partnerships, Proprietorships, Joint Ventures, Collaborations),
Equity Owner Buy-Sell Agreements,
Issuance of 25102 Securities,
Maintenance (Minutes, Filings),
Purchase/Sale Documentation for Buying/Selling a Company, Assets or Project,
Financing Documentation,
Business or Personal Agreements (Purchase Orders, Distributorships, Warranties, Indemnities;
-----Consulting, Manufacturing, Engineering, Management, Construction, Design, Branding,
-----Supply Agreements, Etc.), Independent Contractor Agreements, Equipment Leases,
-----Office Leases, Lease-Options,
Licenses, Look-See Agreements (IP),
Simple Employee Documents (Offer, At-Will Policy, Commission Plans),
Trade Secret Protections,
Intellectual Property Assignments (Patents etc.).


Recent business clients and matters include: *” a company developing water purification technology *” a company developing and distributing consumer breath alcohol test devices *” a national award-winning branding and graphic design house *” a private family involved with mineral and real estate rights *” a company developing a condom for women as a partial solution to the AIDS pandemic *” a three-family group (14 people with divergent opinions) desiring a joint agreement to both manage and restrict transfer of a valuable piece of real estate inherited over four generations *” four unrelated matters involving owners selling, buying or merging their companies *” a $5 million manufacturing asset purchase *” an initial financing (family & friends) for a healthcare software startup *” terms and conditions, and privacy policy, for a data communication platform *” set up entities (Corporation, LLC, Partnership), and investor and operating agreements, for new businesses involving a wine brand/import-export venture, a consumer device patented invention and a line of women's active wear *” many demand letters and out-of-court settlements of claims and disputes, including documentation.

Out-of-Court Resolution of Disputes:

One of my greatest strengths is bridging differences between people who disagree with each other. I am not an independent mediator, but represent one party throughout. It doesn't always work, but is worth the effort. Examples of situations I have helped resolve include:

A three-family group (14 people with divergent opinions) desiring a joint agreement to both manage and restrict transfer of a valuable piece of real estate inherited over four generations.
Partnership and Corporate split-ups.
Royalty claim for artistic work product.
Consultancy performance dispute.
Neighbor dispute over trees and view rights.
Bathroom renovation contractor non-performance.
Equipment installation, claim that test results fell short.
Distributorship cancellation for defective product.
Erratic performance by trademark licensee (payments, quality).
Timber rights dispute.
Condo CC&Rs.
Non-Payment for Contract work.
Two clans (multiple branches) jointly owned a ranch; no one would contribute to
property taxes and the ranch was going to a public sale; representing a 10% owner, I organized a unanimous resolution and highly profitable private sale of the ranch with everyone's approval.
Termination of tenancy where tenant was also a partner in the business and controlled sensitive information.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

To be where business meets law is the most interesting practice, to me. It requires the maximum creativity, to move forward with the law that enables business, and to work within the limits of the law that sets the boundaries. Business law touches on every other area of law, and affects nearly every arena of human activity. From strategy, tactics, to the details, it is all fascination.

What experience or education distinguishes your lawyers from others?

I was trained in the craftsmanship of business law practice at two of the best law firms in America: the Cravath firm (NYC) and the Cooley firm (SF). I worked directly for a brilliant lawyer each time, senior partners and true masters of the craft. An excellent foundation, but one step removed from the reality and practicality of making business happen. As General Counsel to two major corporations, my good fortune continued as I reported directly to a brilliant businessman at each, one from Harvard Business School and one from Stanford. After we took the second company public, I shifted to a home practice providing the same level of excellence and practicality to the legal needs of regular people, entrepreneurs and established small business operators, and added a trusts and estates practice. Forty-four years of exposure to nearly every business problem, and in-depth experience in many business law fields, make me a resource of both wisdom and hands-on solutions normally unavailable to users of or Craigslist. All of the above has been overlaid on an excellent academic education (home schooled on a ranch, boarding school at Andover, Massachusetts, college at Harvard and law at Berkeley) and a corresponding collage of witness to a very broad spectrum of human behavior. I loved learning and still do, both in my profession and in the extracurricular fields of science and the human experience that is beyond, or transcends, scientific knowledge.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

Strongly in favor.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

Yes. I often do this, if the Client has the better chance of getting the best result by being in front with letters and discussions. No litigation, pleadings or Court papers, however. But I definitely coach people through settlement negotiation including documentation. The Nolo Press Magazine wrote an article about me in 1997 for being the cutting edge in non-litigation legal coaching.

Tom Pollock


University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law JD, 1969; undergraduate Harvard BA, 1965; Wall Street law firm (New York City); San Francisco law firm; General Counsel to two major corporations; and since 1995, legal services for regular people, startups, and small to midsized companies from my home office at a 50% or more discount.


I was born in 1943 in Flagstaff, Arizona. My parents educated me and my two sisters at home through the eighth grade on a remote cattle ranch, after which I attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Harvard College (where I was on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team in rowing) and Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley. I worked at a major Wall Street law firm, Cravath, Swaine and Moore (NYC), from 1969 to 1971, then moved with my family back to the Bay Area to the Cooley, Godward firm in San Francisco. At both firms I practiced corporate, contracts and business law. In 1977 I became General Counsel to a lease finance company, Thayer, Ringoen and MacDonald, and in 1982 joined U.S. Windpower (later Kenetech Corporation) to become its General Counsel for the ensuing decade. In 1995, I set a new direction. I established a computerized home office: (1) serving as private in-house counsel to individuals and companies, as-needed, (2) Coaching
  • Bar Number: 046463
    California , 1970

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