Leadership
William J. Kohler

William J. Kohler
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Innovator

Mr. Kohler is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Innovator of VELN. He also leads the firm's Strategic Advisory Board. In those roles, he assures clients' demands for business contracts, intellectual property protection and general advisory services are met in an excellent and efficient manner. Prior to VELN, Mr. Kohler served as Chief Legal Officer for major corporations and in leadership positions for major law firms. He is recognized for his thought leadership on a variety of legal topics, including legal services delivery, economic trends that effect the legal framework in which businesses operate, the interface of technological innovation and the law, and the architecture and development of commercial and technology agreements. He holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, an M.B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.S. from Texas A&M, and a B.S. from the Honors College of the University of Michigan. Clients seek Mr. Kohler’s involvement in the design and negotiation of commercial arrangements and the disposition of businesses. A sampling of clients includes electric vehicle manufacturers, traditional vehicle manufacturers, automotive component suppliers, a luxury sports car manufacturer, electronics manufacturers, and advanced technology companies.

Mr. Kohler is an authority on legal issues relating to autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. His work in those areas, and others, has involved investment transactions, technology development, technology licensing, supply chain relationship and legislative and regulatory issues. He is the author of “Current Law and Potential Legal Issues Pertaining to Automated, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles,” published in the Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal. He is on the board of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association. He has also authored the following articles.

“Current Law and Potential Legal Issues Pertaining to Automated, Autonomous and Connected Vehicles” in the Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal
“Current Risks in Automotive Acquisitions” in the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Journal
“Warranty Cost Sharing: The Framework for Negotiations” in OESA’s Comparative Analysis of OEM Warranty Programs
“Managing Acquisitions as a Corporate Process” in Financier Worldwide Magazine “Bankruptcy Reorganization in America: Strategies, Dynamics and Law”
“Contingency Planning In An Era Of Massive Industrial Failure” in Financier Worldwide Magazine International Distribution Relationships: Commercial and Legal Perspectives in Michigan International Lawyer
"Speaking from Experience: Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Dental Practice Acquisition" in DSO News
"Best Practices for Sellers in the Evolving DSO Marketplace" in DSO News
“Changes In Transportation Are Poised To Transform Commercial Real Estate” in Commercial Investment Real Estate
"Feds Don't Need New Powers Over Self-Driving Cars" in Crain's Automotive News
“International Distribution Relationships: Commercial and Legal Perspectives” in Texas CEO Magazine
“Literature review of studies considering the effect of forced exercise on symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease” in Clinical Kinesiology: Journal Of The American Kinesiotherapy Association
Strategy Board

William J Kohler
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Innovator

Matthew B Murphy
Kantor Fitzgerald - Associate General Counsel

Stephen Kontos
VELN - Intellectual Property

Legal Talent
Robert Zitnick

Robert Zitnik

Robert Zitnik is a highly skilled attorney who drafts and negotiates a range of commercial agreements for VELN’s clients, including industrial equipment sales agreements, services agreements (including multi-party and franchise structured), software agreements and technology licenses, sponsorships, distribution agreements, marketing agreements and influencer contracts, to name a few. He has acted as interim in-house counsel for VELN’s clients and advised them on a number of contract disputes and organizational structure following acquisitions. He also specializes in helping startups and larger businesses develop templates and playbooks for more efficient negotiation of key agreements. He is focused on leveraging automation technology for VELN’s clients and managing their transitions to automated contract review processes. In this area, he has saved clients’ time and money by developing efficient contract management and review processes, while minimizing legal risk with excellent contract template drafting. Previously, he has advised and represented telecom clients AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile on a range of leasing matters, as well as regulatory compliance, for their cell towers in the US market. Robert holds his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and his J.D. from DePaul College of Law, where he specialized in Intellectual Property law. He has authored the following publications:

“Best Practices for Software Agreement Negotiation” co-authored with Will Kohler
“Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.” Case Note, DePaul Journal of Art Technology and Intellectual Property

Grace Boland

Grace Boland is an established Irish business lawyer, who provides clients with plain English, commercial legal advice. Grace provides legal advice on Irish law and some aspects of European law, including Irish data privacy laws and GDPR.

Grace serves clients in a variety of sectors and, for 19 years, held senior leadership positions in the legal department of one of Ireland’s largest banks, AIB. She advises clients holistically, with an in-house mindset.

At AIB, she recruited and led large teams of lawyers and advised the Board on some of the Bank's highest profile and significant matters. She was AIB’s legal representative to the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland and the Law Society of Ireland, where she took a lead role and drafted several position papers on behalf of the industry.

She holds an honors Masters of Laws (LLM) from the University of Northumbria. Grace is also a director of the Irish charity Teen-Turn, an initiative aimed at encouraging schoolgirls from disadvantaged areas into STEM careers.
Grace Boland
Stephen Kontos

Stephen Kontos

Leveraging his experience as outside intellectual property counsel to some of the largest companies in the world, Mr. Kontos helps in-house IP teams, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and startup founders strategically protect intellectual property that furthers business goals.

Mr. Kontos has written and prosecuted over 500 patent and trademark applications in his career, most of which related to electronic or software-based technology. Significant projects include:

Patenting the autonomous vehicle platform of a large automotive company
Securing patents related to fiber optic networks, satellite communication networks, media content delivery systems, and consumer products for major telecommunications companies
Patenting medical sensors and surgical robots for medical device companies

Mr. Kontos is a thought leader in various patent-related topics including subject matter eligibility issues under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and enablement issues under 35 U.S.C. § 112, particularly as they relate to electronics and software-based concepts. He actively participates in various national professional organizations and presently serves as the membership chair of the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association (MIPLA).

David H. Lowenschuss

David H. Lowenschuss is a Lead Attorney at VELN. As a practicing attorney who specializes in biotech and life science, Mr. Lowenschuss provides legal guidance to large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Mr. Lowenschuss’s knowledge and experience in the legal and business realms of life science and technology enables him to offer valuable legal advice to start-ups and established pharmaceutical developers. His experience includes negotiation and drafting commercial agreements, R&D agreements, in-license and out-licensing contractual deals, SEC filings, lease negotiations and construction agreements. In addition, he is expert at the resolution of ongoing legal issues to prevent costly litigation and sound legal guidance for business plan development and implementation.

Mr. Lowenschuss is co-founder and founding board member of Gemphire Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEMP) and co-founder of Michigan Life Ventures, LLC. He lectures at the University of Michigan on various topics, including historical perspectives on human subject research.

Education:
JD, The George Washington University Law School
BA, University of Michigan
MUP, Transportation, University of Michigan
David H. Lowenschuss
Jeffery Brinza

Jeffery Brinza

Jeffery Brinza is a lead attorney at VELN. Since 1986, Mr. Brinza has been advising clients in the startup environment, venture capital financing, operations, and public company representation, as well as serving as in-house counsel in the life sciences and retail services industries. Mr. Brinza has served as counsel at Butzel Long and Pfizer, and was General Counsel at QuatRx Pharmaceuticals and Millendo Therapeutics, the latter of which he was also Chief Administrative Officer. He has also been involved in mergers and acquisitions, the negotiation and drafting of numerous technology and product licenses, research collaborations, clinical development agreements and product manufacturing agreements.

Matthew B Murphy

Matt Murphy is currently a member of VELN’s Strategic Advisory Board, providing the firm with strategic and operational guidance on a variety of internal and client-facing topics. He is a firm believer in the pragmatic, efficient and business-oriented approach that VELN deploys in advising its clients. Matt has previously worked as a Lead Attorney at VELN, advising the firm’s clients on a broad array of commercial contracts and technology agreements. Prior to his time with VELN, Matt worked with the Mergers & Acquisitions and Technology Transactions groups at a large, international law firm. Matt then moved in-house to take on senior leadership roles at two financial technology companies, where he found success building teams, processes, policies and systems to further those businesses, while also operating as the lead negotiator for both of those companies. He is currently affiliated with a large financial services institution headquartered in New York City.

Matt holds a JD with Honors distinction from the California Western School of Law, where he served as Executive Director of the Moot Court Honors Board and a member of the Law Review and International Law Journal. During law school, Matt also studies overseas at Saint Petersburg University in the Russian Federation, where he received a certificate in international law and commerce. He received his BA in Business and Economics from Lafayette College.
Matthew B Murphy
Marcus Mazurowski

Marcus Mazurowski

Marcus Mazurowski is an accomplished corporate lawyer who guides clients through complex issues for the best results. He has experience negotiating and drafting a wide variety of commercial agreements including sales, services, distribution, healthcare compliance, data privacy, and intellectual property agreements including in-licensing and out-licensing. He prides himself in being forward looking and helps guide clients businesses through implementing win-win agreements with customers and managing intellectual property to maximize its effect.

Mr. Mazurowski works as in-house counsel in the life sciences and medical device industries. He earned his JD at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and received a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Rochester.