Big firm experience. Boutique attention.

The Founders Team

Matthew McElwee

(
Founder
)

Matthew McElwee is the Founder and Managing Member of Founders Law. He advises founders, startups, growth-stage companies, and venture capital funds, taking a uniquely practical approach to any legal issue that affects his clients.

In his role as outside corporate counsel, Matthew is the first and often single point of legal contact for his clients, working with specialist providers as-needed and advising his clients on a wide variety of corporate matters, including entity formation, commercial contracts, employee matters, and raising capital. As a founder, investor, and former operator, Matthew is uniquely familiar with entrepreneurship, company formation, and the acquisition and management of funding for startups.

Matthew has worked at some the largest firms in Chicago, IL (Kirkland & Ellis; Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg; and McDonald Hopkins), but launched Founders in 2020 to tailor his approach and his rates to the early-stage startups that he loves to work with.

Matthew earned his J.D., summa cum laude, from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2016 and his B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2012.

Thomas Budnik

(
Associate Attorney
)

Thomas Budnik is an associate attorney at Founders Law. He provides legal counsel to startups, founder teams, and growth-stage companies on a wide variety of corporate transactions.

Tom began working at Founders in 2021 to build his practice in the Startup and Venture Capital space. He advises his clients on general corporate and transactional matters, including entity formation and incorporation, venture-backed financings, commercial contracting, and corporate governance. Prior to joining Founders, Tom worked as in-house counsel in the logistics industry and within the practice groups of other commercial law firms.

Tom earned his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law in and his B.S. in Journalism from Butler University in Indianapolis. While attending law school, Tom served as the President and Treasurer of the Irish American Law Students Association. He was also a member of the Corporate Law Society and Cyber Security and Data Privacy Society and worked for the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent.

Hind Abdelaziz

(
Corporate Law Clerk
)

Hind Abdelaziz joined Founders Law in 2022 and works as a Corporate Law Clerk for the firm.

While at law school, Hind has been passionately learning about business and corporate law and is the first Legal Fund Analyst for the team developing the Illinois Institute of Technology's Genisys VentureImmersion Program at the Kaplan Institute where she supports students to succeed in entrepreneurship and the venture capital industry. Prior to joining Founders, Hind was selected for the Association of Corporate Counsel's Summer Intern Cohort and interned in-house at Brunswick Corporation where she assisted on a variety of corporate matters.  

Hind will graduate with her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law in May 2023 and earned her B.A., magna cum laude, in both Economics and Philosophy from DePaul University in 2020.

Rebecca Benner

(
Legal Administrator
)

Rebecca Benner is the Legal Administrator of Founders Law.

Rebecca has extensive background working for local Chicago law firms in various legal and administrative roles.  She joined the Founders team in 2022 to help drive their explosive growth and hone their unique approach to running a law firm.

Rebecca attended Knox College, a small liberal arts college in western Illinois, and graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and French. Throughout her career and at Founders, Rebecca has brought that liberal arts perspective to her position, looking at legal and business issues from a multifaceted perspective and finding elegant solutions.