Christopher A. Carlisle

Chris Carlisle is instrumental in mergers and acquisitions, emerging company, and venture capital finance legal efforts. He provides a broad range of services to both established and emerging companies in a variety of industries, with significant client concentrations in technology, life science, agribusiness, franchise, and manufacturing.

Chris often takes an “outside general counsel” approach with his clients – he acts as the quarterback for executives and managers on all their legal needs, providing them with a single point of contact and accountability for their projects with the firm. In fulfilling this role, Chris:

  • has developed a deep understanding of how companies are organized, financed, built, and brought to market (sold or brought public);
  • guides his clients in each stage of their financing development, from initial founder capitalization, friends, family, and “angel” investors, venture capital, strategic partnerships, and senior and mezzanine lending;
  • provides practical legal and business counsel, delivered with sound business judgment;
  • invests off-the-clock time in getting to know his clients and their needs; and
  • works hard to earn the role of trusted advisor on both legal and business matters.

Representative Experience

Chris advises companies in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, governance, joint ventures, and other strategic business arrangements, and drafting and negotiating commercial agreements, with a particular focus on technology-based transactions (licensure and use-based agreements).

Start-Ups and Venture Capital

  • Represented a microrobotics company in all aspects and stages of its capitalization, from its spin-off of technology developed at a major public land grant university through a series of common and preferred stock financings with individual “angel” investors and funds
  • Represented a SaaS based mobile health technology company in its sale of preferred stock, the lead investor being the venture capital arm of a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company
  • Represented a consulting and development services provider focused on CRM solutions in its sale of preferred stock to a Fortune 100 SaaS CRM provider and other strategic investors
  • Ongoing representation of a SaaS-based company focused on retail and inventory solutions for national and international retail firms
  • Represented a venture capital firm in its investment (primarily in preferred equity) in a variety of high-technology companies, with investments ranging from $500,000 to $10 million
  • Represent a company offering online, subscription-based fitness content and related hardware and services in its sale of preferred equity to a venture capital firm and ongoing representation on IP-related matters

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • M&A experience includes acting as lead outside attorney on transactions ranging from $1 million to $250 million, drafting and negotiating definitive agreements; managing a team of attorneys, investment bankers and client personnel on the coordination of due diligence and the administration and analysis of “virtual data rooms.”
  • Before its sale to Infor in 2011, was one of the leaders of Lawson Software’s outside legal team in its purchase of over a dozen privately held software companies, including Lawson’s shift to the acquisition of SaaS based companies such as Health Visions Solutions (a SaaS provider of health care related ERP solutions, with a $160 million enterprise value, completed in 2010) and Enwisen (a SaaS provider of HR service delivery and workforce communications solutions, with a $70+ million enterprise value, completed in 2011).


Chris has significant experience in other matters, including intellectual property, international transactions, governance, and other matters.

  • Intellectual Property — Experience in the drafting and negotiation of software technology, patent licensing and other intellectual property use arrangements. Advised a SaaS based software company in the preparation of its form services and use agreement templates and ongoing customer negotiations. Represented a research foundation in the drafting and negotiation of a license agreement for the commercialization of patented drug delivery technology.
  • International — Represented a privately held agricultural processing and production operation related to its recapitalization and divestiture of certain material assets located in Ukraine. The transaction required the management and oversight of parties and professionals advisors in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and Ukraine. Acted as lead legal advisor to the client on the transaction, coordinated, and participated in every aspect of the negotiations, including coordinating the efforts of five sets of professional advisors and the final administration of the closing in Denmark.
  • Governance — Serves as board counsel and company secretary to a dozen privately held companies; prepare and advise on appropriate board, committee and stockholder related governance documentation. Representative clients include a venture backed SaaS provider of mobile health monitoring solutions, a software and services company focused on inventory management in the retail sector, a microrobotics company with products focused on security and military applications, and a venture-backed company offering online, subscription-based fitness content and related hardware and services (all referenced in financing above).

Professional Affiliations

  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), sponsor contact

Community Involvement

  • Minnikahda Oaks Neighborhood Association, board member and vice president
  • Plymouth Congregational Church, member


  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Minnesota Corporate/M&A, 2022
  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2021-2023
  • “Minnesota Rising Star,” Thomson Reuters, 2009-2011
  • Minnesota Lawyer, The POWER 30: Mergers & Acquisitions, 2023
Photo of Christopher A. Carlisle
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
  • Fargo

    118 Broadway,
    Suite 506
    Fargo, ND 58102


Mary Waryan

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota


Hamline University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2001

  • Hamline Law Review, notes and comments editor

University of St. Thomas, B.A., 1993