Valerie Barton is a mergers & acquisitions, exit planning, corporate and intellectual property attorney, working across a broad range of industries in the planning, development and execution of business strategies. In 2019, she became a certified Exit Planning Advisor and received her certification from the Exit Planning Institute for the purpose of better counseling her clients in the areas of succession planning and exit strategies. She has wide-ranging, practical experience advising her clients, starting with the initial start-up phase, including the selection of the optimal entity structure and the creation of a pragmatic, workable governance model.
For clients in the formative stage of managing the business and its equity/debt funding needs, Valerie provides counsel for creating shareholder, employment and independent contractor arrangements and incentive plans, negotiating day-to-day commercial transactions and joint venture arrangements, and procuring angel and seed funding, through the strategic investment and venture financing/private equity rounds that support the latter stages of her clients’ corporate development growth.
Valerie understands the evolution of her clients’ legal requirements, strives to understand their tolerance for risk, and negotiates deals with the perspective derived from the stage of growth and risk tolerance profiles. She works to advise, manage, and balance her clients’ unique needs, goals, and expectations. She has spent much of her practice focused on planning and managing equity and debt funding, as well as short- and long-term exit strategies, whether implemented by mergers, acquisitions, corporate spin-outs, equity rollovers, reorganization, or various combinations of the above.
Valerie has put in her time practicing in large firms, such as McKenna Long Aldridge (now Dentons), Locke Lord, and Morris, Manning & Martin. Through experience, she has seen first-hand that smaller boutique firms provide a more client-centric opportunity to practice law and are less likely to overbook and underperform. Valerie believes that the corporate and intellectual property boutique environment at Trusted Counsel has provided her with the ability to be responsive to her clientele’s needs and to provide the quality of work product she demands from her practice.
Her pragmatism and creativity in structuring complex, highly individualized transactions and her thorough understanding of the financial metrics of each deal have been enhanced by 11 years of pre-law business experience, ranging from real estate financial analysis to serving as a business development manager in a major telecommunications provider. Amid this, she has also started her own company, a small retail venture, providing her with rare insight into the struggles faced by entrepreneurs and business principals on a day-to-day basis.
Valerie graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1986 with a B.A. (magna cum laude), specializing in English medieval history and architecture, followed in 1988 by an International MBA from the prestigious Darla Moore School of Business, where she participated in the German global track, lived in Duesseldorf, and worked as an intern for 3M’s medical products division. In 1999, Valerie received a full-tuition scholarship to Emory University’s School of Law, graduating with her J.D. (high honors) in 2002.
INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF LAW
Valerie is an animal activist and has volunteered as an elephant caregiver for the Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand. She has traveled extensively throughout southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Valerie lives in Decatur with her wife Emma. They have one child.
- J.D., 2002, Emory University (honors)
- International MBA, 1998, University of South Carolina
- B.A., 1986, University of South Carolina, (Magna cum Laude)
PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESS AFFILIATIONS
- State Bar of Georgia
- Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), Exit Planning Institute (E.P.I.)
KEY REPRESENTATIVE PROJECTS
- Buyer representation in an asset purchase acquisition of a New York-based consulting company specializing in the design, development, implementation and support of customized FileMaker, Inc. database solutions
- Debtor representation of a high-growth consulting company providing services to sales and marketing teams in the development and implementation of marketing automation strategies using platforms such as Salesforce and Pardot in a $1M convertible debt transaction
- Succession planning representation of a local North Carolina family pool business in structuring a win-win purchase arrangement for succession planning purposes
- Ongoing representation of a Georgia-grown provider of bespoke spray applicators, which has developed a portfolio of intellectual property in the contracting, engineering and insulation industries
- Representation of a highly successful company specializing in audio visual technology product sales, as well as the integration services and support of such sales, in a complex $11M asset purchase transaction featuring a tailored earnout structure and highly-negotiated, post-closing employment requirements
- Representation of a provider of diagnostic laboratory and dermatopathology services in a $15M stock purchase transaction with complex 338(h)(10) tax elections, long-term debt obligations highly customized representations, warranties and indemnification requirements
- Ongoing representation of a mortgage origination start-up company from the initial formation of the limited liability company through the first round of angel investment
- Ongoing representation of a start-up company buying and opening multiple locations in and around Atlanta, Georgia for a high-end beauty and salon treatment franchisor, including negotiation of the asset purchase transaction and related management services agreements
- Representation of a Pennsylvania-based provider of engineering consulting services in its expansion by the asset purchase acquisition of a highly-specialized surveying, land planning, civil engineering, environmental/geology and mining engineering company
- Representation of a company providing higher education marketing, recruiting, and retention solutions in connection with its acquisition by a higher education marketing and enrollment management company
- Representation in a $215 million merger and acquisition transaction of a provider of customized, end-to-end logistics solutions that uses propriety, cloud-based technology for global end-to-end logistics solutions
- Representation of a transportation and logistics technology firm involved in a strategic partnership with a transportation services provider specializing in various modes for perishable and non-perishable freight
PRESENTATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, ETC.
- Guest on Trusted Counsel’s podcast show In Process: Conversations About Business in the 21st Century. Episode 86, The Nuts and Bolts of Selling your Business: Due Diligence.
- David Brown & Valerie Barton, Eleventh Circuit Survey Article: Securities Regulations, 56 Mercer L. Rev. 1341 (2005)
- Thomas Wardell, R. William Ide & Valerie Barton, The Corporate Document Management Policy: Impact of The Supreme Court’s Reversal of Andersen, MLA Corporate Advisory (June 8, 2005)
- David Balser & Valerie Barton, The “Daubert” Challenge, Commercial Litigation, Supplement to the Recorder (Oct. 2002)
- Valerie Barton, Comment, Reconciling the Burden: Parental Liability for the Tortious Acts of Minors, 51 Emory L.J. 877 (2002)