Kessel was head of Hanson Bridgett’s Silicon Valley office.
Born in Britain and a member of the Royal Ballet, Kessel had pursued a career in international marketing and public relations in the UK and South Africa before moving to California with her husband to launch a software technology company. She earned her J.D. in 1992 and two years later founded HiTech Law, focusing on technology licensing and mergers and acquisitions. She later merged her practice with McQuaid, Bedford and Van Zandt, which folded into Hanson Bridgett in 2008.
Her clients, mostly technology and software companies, were fiercely loyal, Hanson Bridgett partner Teresa Pahl said. As a former business owner, Kessel had walked in their shoes. Pahl said. “I’ve gotten emails from clients saying things like: ‘She was a class act’.” Kessel was social and caring, Pahl added, always first inquiring about people’s wellbeing. “She’s the kind of person you get to know quickly because she’s very open and warm and very engaging.”
Kessel is survived by her husband Rolf, daughter Olivia, and her son Anthony. Funeral services were held for family only. Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society. Kessel’s donation preference is Colorectal Cancer.