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William J. Bernat, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Photo

William J. Bernat

Co-Chair, Emerging Companies Group / Boston

Overview

William J. Bernat is a partner in Nutter’s Corporate and Transactions Department and co-chairs the firm's Emerging Companies Group. He is a member of the firm’s Commercial and Real Estate Finance practice group. Clients routinely rely on Will to help them navigate through private equity, venture capital, and angel financing transactions, as well as mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending transactions, and other corporate governance issues.

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Tech, life sciences, consumer/retail, and food & beverage companies look to Will for assistance throughout their entire lifespans, from initial planning and formation to operations and exit, including formulating the strategy to realize their business goals and to build the foundation necessary to secure third party investment. Investors in emerging growth companies seek Will’s counsel when structuring their financing transactions. Will has counseled clients in angel and venture backed financings representing an aggregate of over $100 million in investment in local early stage companies.

Banks and other financial institutions rely on Will’s expertise when structuring asset-based and other commercial lending transactions with both emerging and entrepreneurial companies and more mature borrowers. Will has guided both lenders and borrowers through transactions representing aggregate commitments in excess of $1 billion.

Notable Experience and Client Impact

General Corporate/Emerging Companies

  • Serve as transactional and corporate counsel to an artwork rental and rotation startup on multiple financing rounds
  • Act as corporate counsel for a leading sunglasses producer in the United States, including store-within-store partnerships 
  • Play a key role in expanding the original fantasy sports-game retailer beyond board-game enthusiasts to online and mobile users through joint ventures and co-promotion arrangements with sports media outlets and developers 
  • Act as corporate and fundraising counsel for a bike sharing company that serves leading university and business campuses, resorts, and residential communities 
  • Serve as corporate and fundraising counsel to an all-natural snack food company, protein-based beer company, and organic fitness beverage company
  • Advise a nationally recognized full-service mobile app development company in multiple transactions

M&A

  • Advise on $40 million joint venture between a photoelectric sheeting company and a commercial solar panel producer
  • Represent a co-working space provider, including multiple partnerships and joint ventures with a national retailer
  • Advise on the sale of a privately-held wide format digital printing company to a strategic buyer
  • Provide counsel on the acquisition of a medical device coating and surface treatment business by a private biomedical company for a combination of cash and equity
  • Advise on the acquisition of a UK-based asset management risk model business by a privately-held strategic buyer
  • Advise on the sale of a venture-backed digital photography asset management software company to a privately-held strategic buyer
  • Provide counsel on the sale of a dietary supplement and pharmaceuticals business to a privately-held strategic buyer
  • Advise on the sale of an educational research, marketing, and branding business to a publicly traded media and marketing company
  • Advise on the acquisition of Golf Digest-rated “Best Places to Play” golf course on Cape Cod by private buyers

Commercial Finance

  • Represent syndicate of five of the largest U.S. banks in connection with $500+ million loan facility to diversified real estate investment/CMBS, multi-family mortgage and LIHTC syndication company

A leader in Boston’s innovation and startup community, Will serves on the partners’ committee of, and is a frequent lecturer and panel member at, The Capital Network, a nonprofit organization that brings together Boston’s largest active community of investors and startup experts to provide practical, hands-on education and personalized mentoring to young entrepreneurs to help them navigate the fundraising process. In addition, Will serves as a mentor and holds regular office hours at MassChallenge, a startup accelerator, and Golden Seeds, one of the nation’s most active early-stage investment firms.

Will frequently serves as a lecturer and guest speaker at the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Babson Entrepreneurship Forum, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, where he presents on topics such as the fundamentals of term sheets and capitalization tables, and general corporate finance and formation issues.

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Honors

Honors

  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Excellence in the Law Awards, Up & Coming Lawyer, 2016
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2010 & 2016

Education & Admissions

Education

Suffolk University Law School, J.D., magna cum laude

Providence College, B.A., summa cum laude

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

In the Community

Will serves on the partners’ committee of, and is a frequent lecturer and panel member at The Capital Network, a nonprofit organization that brings together investors and startup experts to provide hands-on education and personalized mentoring to young entrepreneurs to help them navigate the fundraising process.

Noteworthy

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Excellence in the Law Awards, Up & Coming Lawyer, 2016

Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2010, 2016 - 2017

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