Catherine Zhu

Special Counsel


Catherine Zhu is counsel and a seasoned business, commercial and privacy lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, based in the Bay Area. Catherine focuses her practice on complex commercial agreements, licensing transactions, data sharing transactions, revenue growth, business expansion, legal process optimization, and data privacy, where she helps her clients define and implement data privacy strategies within a complex regulatory environment. Her practice also includes advising in venture capital, private equity and strategic acquisition transactions regarding data privacy and technology transaction matters.

Catherine has extensive experience advising hundreds of high-growth companies including those in enterprise software, data analytics, data enrichment, artificial intelligence, consumer goods, transportation and mobility, marketplace platforms and other tech-forward products. Clients value working with Catherine for her ability to distill complex legal concepts into actionable business advice.

Prior to joining Foley, Catherine founded a boutique law firm specializing in data privacy and complex commercial transactions. She has also previously practiced in the commercial transactions and data privacy group, a venture-backed law firm and Y-Combinator top startup, and prior to that, she was a member of the technology transactions group at an Am Law top 15 law firm.

Client Testimonials

“Catherine knows what startups need and always delivers actionable legal advice that is relevant to our business objectives. We talked to many potential privacy attorneys before deciding to work with Catherine - unlike others we spoke with, Catherine does not tend to engage in long academic discussions or hypotheticals that have limited practical application. She is good at asking the right questions to understand our business model and products, and then is able to provide right-sized legal advice tailored to our situation that we can put to use and deliver value to our organization.

– James Wan, General Counsel 

“6 months ago, our terms were being torn apart by our enterprise prospects’ legal teams. We’d get a mess of redlines back by these lawyers and it was taking months of painful conversations to work through it all. Catherine worked with us to refresh our subscription agreement to be more standard for these US legal teams – we now see minimal pushback and spend less of our time emailing lawyers. She's jumped on calls at short notice to negotiate agreements directly with our prospect's lawyers where we'd otherwise be lost.

She's also been instrumental in maturing our GDPR, privacy, and data processing documentation which has enabled us to sell to EU customers with relative ease. Cannot recommend her strongly enough to anyone hitting legal friction selling into US or trying to navigate GDPR and privacy law with EU customers.”

– Kai Forsyth, Head of Revenue Operations

“The best lawyers are not only able to help you triangulate and understand legal risks, they're also able to help you make informed decisions considering the business realities as well. By having a clear understanding of Clearbit's business and technology, Catherine is able to provide informed counsel regarding our legal risks. Through this informed and proactive approach, Catherine has cut down our legal review and processing time by two thirds. With Catherine's responsiveness, we beat our revenue goals and within striking distance of our stretch goal.”

– Sales Leader, Clearbit

Authored Publications


Other Publications


  • Harvard Law School (J.D.)
  • Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley (B.S., cum laude)
  • University of California, Berkeley (B.A.)

Admissions & Certifications

  • California
  • CIPP/E