Boston University School of Law

September 5, 2008

Nicholas Robbins (‘97) appointed chairman of the board of directors of Angel Investment Forum


Nicholas Robbins ('97) jokes that the Los Angeles earthquake of 1994 is the reason he went to law school. Actually, the day the earth moved under his feet did play a role in his decision.

Robbins, a corporate attorney with Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, took the LSAT in 1991 and was accepted into Boston University's law school. But he kept putting off his start date.

"I had written a screenplay with a friend from college and we had shot a trailer for the film," he said. He and his friend had a promising meeting scheduled with New Line Cinema in Los Angeles, but the earthquake struck that very day and the meeting never happened.

When he returned to Boston there was a letter in the mail from Boston University law school's admissions office telling him he couldn't defer his attendance any longer without having to reapply.

Robbins put the script aside and went to law school.

Turns out, the mid-1990s was a terrific time to be in law school, he said, as the Internet catapulted into popular culture and with it came numerous cutting-edge legal issues.

He wrote one of the first legal analyses on the legality of running a casino on the Internet, published under the title Baby Needs a New Pair of Cybershoes: the legality of casino gambling on the Internet."

While in law school, he clerked at SoftKey, a leading software publisher that became The Learning Co. and the was acquired by Mattel. Robbins was a summer associate at the law firm of Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, then a global leader in venture capital and technology law.

He joined that firm after graduation and then worked at UBS Financial Services in Boston until he took a job with Gunster Yoakley in 2005.

Recently, Robbins, a New York City native who grew up in Connecticut, was appointed chairman of the board of directors of Angel Investment Forum of Florida. He served on the board last year.

The not-for-profit organization supports the state's growing base of entrepreneurs and investors, and serves as a conduit to introduce individual "angel" investors to local entrepreneurs. The organization also helps promote business growth. Angels generally invest in emerging and expanding companies, typically with financial support ranging from $50,000 to $2 million. The organization recently moved its meetings to Jupiter to be closer to the state's emerging biotech cluster, including Max Planck Society, Scripps Florida and Florida Atlantic University.

A member of Gunster Yoakley's technology and emerging companies Practice Group, Robbins is becoming the attorney to go to for venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, as well as corporate and strategic guidance for South Florida technology, Internet and emerging growth companies.

He has completed more than $200 million in venture capital transactions and more than $1 billion in M&A work.

"My practice is a dynamic one where I need to know the client's business and their technology, where reading the M&A Lawyer is as important as reading Wired magazine," he said.

Reported by Mary Thurwachter