Legendary startup attorney Steve Goodman, 77, has died

Goodman passed away Friday morning surrounded by his family.

Steve Goodman, pictured here in 2017.

(Photo by Aidan Un)

Attorney and jazz pianist Steve Goodman, respected by tech dealmakers, cherished by young entrepreneurs and revered by a rising generation of Philadelphia lawyers, passed away Friday at the age of 77.

“It is with deep sorrow that I share the news that our former partner Stephen Goodman has passed away at the age of 77,” said Jami Wintz McKeon, chair of law firm Morgan Lewis, in an email obtained by “Steve died early this morning at a hospice in the Philadelphia area, surrounded by his loving family.”

Goodman, who joined the Center City firm in 1994 in a bid to scale the its emerging growth practice, amplified his influence over the post–dot-com Philadelphia startup community by serving as a “groomer” of sorts for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

In 2017, alum Juliana Reyes penned a vast profile on Goodman where prominent tech figures like Monetate’s Lucinda Duncalfe and Dreamit cofounder David Bookspan both alluded to Goodman’s support as being instrumental to their success.

“Before Philly Startup Leaders or and its Philly Tech Week series or even Google, it was Goodman who was the front door of the Philadelphia area’s entrepreneurial community,” we wrote at the time. “He was the one you called if you wanted to build a company in this town. He was the one who invented the startup lawyer archetype during a time when lawyers wouldn’t look twice at someone who was building a company from scratch.”


“Goodman is the example of a life well lived and we’ll carry his spirit and legacy wherever we go,” RevZilla cofounder Anthony Bucci wrote in an Instagram post. “Forever in your debt, old friend. You will be missed by many.”

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Goodman Bronchiectasis Fund at Penn Medicine are requested. Preparations for a memorial service are underway. Goodman is survived by his wife of 38 years, Janis, his daughter Rachel, his son Carl, his daughter-in-law Jennifer and two grandchildren.

But he’s also survived by his legacy in the local tech community.

“We will never have another Goodman,” we wrote in 2017. “Someone who carries the entire weight of a tech community on his shoulders, because we will never need another one. Instead of just one front door, we have many. It’s what the godfather of Philadelphia startups dreamed of all along.”

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