Brian Swanson is Chair of the firm’s Technology Transactions Practice Group and a Partner in the Life Sciences Practice Group. Brian has more than 25 years of experience counseling clients, both in private practice and as in-house counsel, with a focus on the life sciences and technology industries. He uses the combination of that experience and his extensive knowledge of the industries in which his clients operate to provide efficient and tailored solutions that meet both the needs of his clients and the requirements of the environments in which they operate.

Brian advises clients on transactions engaged in by the full range of business functions within a company, including business and corporate development, research and development, manufacturing, purchasing and supply, and sales and distribution. Brian also has significant experience representing medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and related vendors and service providers on transactions and issues specific to such clients, such as collaboration and licensing agreements, feasibility and evaluation agreements, CRO, CMO and CDMO agreements, sponsored research agreements, University licensing, laboratory services agreements, clinical trial agreements, and GPO agreements.

Prior to joining VLP, Brian founded his own successful private practice, which experience provided him with valuable insights into the issues faced by his start-up clients. Prior to that, Brian served as Vice President, Legal Affairs for, where he oversaw all legal matters, and as Senior Corporate Counsel for Varian Medical Systems, Inc., where he managed a wide range of legal matters, focusing on acquisitions, collaboration and partnering arrangements and sales and R&D related transactions. Brian spent the first five years of his legal career at Shearman & Sterling, a leading international law firm. Brian received his bachelor’s degree in economics modified with engineering from Dartmouth College and his law degree from University of Minnesota, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a member the Order of the Coif and a managing editor of the Minnesota Law Review.

I grew up in Northern Minnesota, where we had two seasons, winter and road construction. I started cross country skiing at the age of 2 and competed through high school and college, even adding biathlon to the mix at Dartmouth. 

When I moved to California, I fell in love with the Sierras and expanded my snow sports to include downhill skiing and snowboarding. The only one I haven’t tried is ski jumping, even though ironically my Dad was a great ski jumper. I’m a recent empty-nester though with more free time on my hands. So who knows what’s next!


  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 1994, Law Review and Order of the Coif
  • B.A., Dartmouth College, 1988
    • Software in the Cloud, VLP Webinar with Melody Torbati, 2014