In-house Counsel  Experience

Neil was one of the first lawyers for the Xbox business, essentially the “general counsel”, responsible for all legal work for the Xbox hardware business. Neil then took on additional responsibilities, becoming “the go-to-guy” for most all new devices and “start-up” businesses in Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division, including Zune, Surface, and “Courier”, among others.  As these businesses grew Neil was responsible for recruiting, training, and leading a team of lawyers supporting these businesses as well as a few established E&D Division businesses such as Microsoft Hardware and the Macintosh Business Unit. 

Neil was responsible for many major deals with critical technology partners such as; Intel (for the first Xbox and the (unfortunately cancelled) “Courier”); Nvidia (for the first Xbox and the second Zune); IBM and ATI (for Xbox 360); PrimeSense and Canesta (for Kinect); and many others including Dolby, Philips, Thomson, Samsung, etc. 

Neil resolved disputes with key business partners; handled high-profile product quality and product liability and patent matters; and advised on all aspects of day-to-day business operations.  Neil also played a leadership role in his close partnership with the business development team, and mentored members of that team including its manager. 

Much more than just a “deal lawyer”, Neil was deeply involved in all aspects of the businesses and served as a trusted advisor to the Vice Presidents and General Managers in charge of the businesses.

Throughout his years as in-house counsel, Neil selected and managed outside counsel.  After being the client for so many years, Neil understands the client’s needs and expectations of outside counsel in a way that many attorneys without in-house experience may not. 


Neil holds a BA from Brandeis University, a JD from Rutgers University, and an LLM from University of Washington.

Before spending about 8 years in-house at Microsoft, Neil practiced at major international law firms for a total of about 12 years. 

Neil’s last large law firm was Preston Gates and Ellis (now K&L Gates) in Seattle.  At Preston, Neil was a member of both the Technology / Intellectual Property department and the Business department, and handled technology transactions, M&A transactions, private equity, venture capital, and major infrastructure projects. 

Previously, Neil practiced at Graham and James, a San Francisco based firm that had dozens of offices worldwide.  Being fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Neil spent several years working in the firm’s Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei offices where he represented US, Japanese, and European corporate clients in all manner of technology and corporate transactions, infrastructure projects, and dispute resolution. 

Early in his career Neil practiced at Kaye Scholer, an international law firm based in New York City, representing multi-national corporate clients. 


International  Law