Ryan Wertman, ESQ
Ryan is an experienced (and, above all else, pragmatic) emerging growth and corporate attorney. He represents numerous startups and mid-market companies across the country as an outside general counsel and in formations, commercial transactions, human resources support, seed capital and other general corporate matters.
Prior to co-founding GrowthCounsel, Ryan was the Managing Partner of Wertman Law (2010), a boutique corporate firm providing transactional support and general counsel services to growth companies. He started his career in the corporate department of an Am Law 100 law firm with an international presence.
In his free time, Ryan enjoys cooking, reading and traveling. He is a firm believer in the power of a yearly sabbatical where he sets up an office in a new location and works remotely for a month or so (while still servicing his clients). Ryan is also a founding member of one of the most dominant dodgeball teams Philadelphia has ever seen, The Honey Badgers. Above all else, Ryan is in perpetual pursuit of the perfect taco and wholeheartedly believes that his Wu-Tang socks are the perfect dress attire for a business meeting.
- Juris Doctor, William & Mary Law School (America Reads Tutor, Softball Dynamo)
- Bachelor of Arts, William & Mary (Dean’s List, Full Athletic Scholarship)
- New Jersey
Geoff Schwartz, ESQ
Geoff has significant experience working with companies at all stages of development, from pre-revenue startups to high-growth technology companies. The focus of his practice is in representing companies in financings and mergers and acquisitions, as well as serving as outside general counsel to startups and emerging growth companies. His clients regularly turn to him for advice on general corporate, intellectual property, commercial contract, employment, benefits, and other matters, to help them achieve their business and legal goals.
Geoff views himself as an ambassador for his clients, actively making targeted introductions to financing sources, consultants, employees and other potential drivers of value for their businesses.
In addition to his work on the company side, Geoff represents venture capital funds and angel investors in seed through growth-stage financings.
Prior to co-founding GrowthCounsel, Geoff spent over 10 years in the corporate departments of two Am Law100 firms. He was one of the leaders of his previous firm’s emerging company practice group, spearheading the firm’s outreach to the Greater Philadelphia startup and tech communities.
Geoff lives in Center City, Philadelphia, with his wife, dog, cat, and 7-year-old twins. He enjoys traveling and bike rides with the family, and in his free time binge-watches way too much TV.
- Juris Doctor, The University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Bachelor of Arts, Brown University (Magna Cum Laude)
- New Jersey
Ted O'Connor, ESQ
Ted brings broad and deep in-house and transactional experience to GrowthCounsel, having split his time between a Philadelphia-based AMLaw100 law firm and cutting-edge data/marketing services companies. Ted’s focus is serving as outside general counsel to mid-market and emerging companies, as well as guiding his clients through M&A transactions. His clients regularly turn to him for advice on general corporate, commercial contract, employment, real estate, and other matters to help them achieve their business and legal goals. Ted is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional and frequently advises clients on privacy and information security issues.
Ted’s mix of legal expertise and pragmatic business acumen are what separate him from run-of-the-mill legal counsel. He serves as a lawyer, advisor, and de facto member of the management team to his clients and enjoys adding value well beyond the typical lawyer-client relationship.
Prior to joining GrowthCounsel, Ted spent over seven years as in-house counsel for private equity-backed marketing services companies. Most recently, Ted served as Associate General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and Privacy at global marketing network Engine Group, as well as General Counsel and Secretary of Engine’s global market research firm ORC International, where he advised teams across the US, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. His extensive in-house experience makes him exceptionally qualified to assist his clients with growing and protecting their businesses.
Ted lives in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia with his wonderful wife and two middle schoolers—and the dog. Like Benjamin Franklin, Ted moved from Boston to Philadelphia as a young man, and, while usually displaying great taste, he remains a die-hard Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox supporter.
- Juris Doctor, Duke University School of Law
- Bachelor of Arts (History), University of Pennsylvania
- New Jersey
- Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US)
Kimon Hatza, ESQ
Kimon joins GrowthCounsel with more than 25 years of experience representing clients in a broad array of commercial and transactional matters. His clients range from emerging businesses to mature companies (both public and private). Kimon focuses his practice in the following areas:
- mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures
- private equity and venture capital transactions
- complex contract negotiation and preparation
- commercial lending transactions
- advising businesses on legal aspects of day-to-day operations
His combination of legal and business acumen has established Kimon as a trusted advisor to technology companies (including software, Internet services and e-commerce providers), life sciences companies, health care providers, manufacturers, private equity and venture capital firms, commercial lenders, professional services firms, clean energy companies, consultants (business, technology, marketing and others), media production companies, fashion designers, business executives, retail businesses, nonprofits, title companies and others.
Kimon joins GrowthCounsel from MillCrest Law LLP, where in addition to his practice he served as the firm’s managing partner. Previously, he was a partner at Blank Rome LLP in its Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity Practice Group. Prior to joining Blank Rome, he served as Chairman of the Corporate Law and Health Care Transactions practices at De Cotiis, FitzPatrick & Gluck, and as the Corporate and Health Care Transactions lead in Cohen Shapiro LLP’s New Jersey office.
In his spare time, Kimon is a host of Money Matters TV, a long-running financial news program. His show discusses business and legal issues affecting the technology, life sciences, and health care industries, and features interviews with industry leaders in the Greater Philadelphia Area. He is a self-described coffee lover, political junkie and grill master. In addition, Kimon is an ardent fan of Philly’s professional sports teams (and he Trusts the Process).
- Juris Doctor, Temple University Beasley School of Law
- Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), The Pennsylvania State University (with High Distinction)
- New Jersey
Esuga Abaya, ESQ
Esuga is a corporate attorney with experience representing a wide range of clients, including startups and early-stage companies, entrepreneurs and investors, and mid-market companies. His practice includes advising clients on general corporate matters, formations, corporate governance, restructurings, equity and debt financings, mergers, acquisitions and strategic transactions, employment matters, as well as commercial contracts. His experience spans numerous industries, including software, technology, life sciences, and financial services.
More than just an attorney, Esuga prides himself on being a trusted advisor to his clients, employing a holistic approach to the practice of law that requires an understanding of the business issues and goals that drive legal decision-making.
Before joining GrowthCounsel, Esuga worked in the corporate department of DLA Piper, one of the largest law firms in the world.
Esuga lives in Philadelphia with his wife and young son. He is a huge fan of music (of all types) and loves composing and listening to avant-garde music. He also enjoys the fine arts, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
- Juris Doctor, Villanova University (Order of the Coif, Law Review)
- Master of Business Administration, University of Findlay
- Bachelor of Arts, Bluffton University
- New Jersey