Christopher Banys, 38, partner
The Lanier Law Firm
Banys focuses primarily on defending the rights of individual investors and startups, but his clients and targets have included some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. The founder and head of The Lanier Law Firm's nationwide contingent-fee IP practice filed patent infringement suits against Apple Inc., Sony Corp., Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. in March alone. Banys launched the Palo Alto office in 2008 as a solo practitioner and now heads a team of nine lawyers and five staff. Among current cases, the 2003 Boston University School of Law graduate is currently representing startup Twin Peaks Software Inc. against Red Hat Inc. and Gluster Inc., alleging patent infringement involving data management software. Banys has done pro bono work throughout his career on behalf of the homeless and immigrants, among other individuals, and won a certificate of appreciation in 2011 from the Northern District of California Pro Bono Project.
Word that best describes you?
What you'd do if you could take a year off?
Volunteer to represent people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer.
Most unusual hobby?
I was a white-water raft guide. Sometimes I even got paid to do it!
Flying airplanes, snowboarding, getting outdoors things that require me to live in the moment.
A lawyer you admire?
Mark Lanier. He is exceptionally good, as a lawyer, as a person and as a comrade-in-arms. A rare combination.
Trial or deal you wish you could have worked on?
The Scopes Monkey Trial. Clarence Darrow defending science in front of the world!