Valerie is a corporate, mergers & acquisitions and intellectual property attorney. In 2019, she became a certified Exit Planning Advisor and received her certification from The Exit Planning Institute. She has wide ranging experience counseling clients from the start-up phase (including the selection of the optimal entity structure and the creation of a pragmatic workable governance model), to the formative stage of managing the business, creating employment and independent contractor arrangements, negotiating commercial transactions and joint venture arrangements, procuring angel and seed funding, through to the strategic investment and venture financing rounds that support the latter stages of corporate growth. She understands the evolution in her clients’ legal requirements, tolerance for risk and negotiating position that comes with each stage of growth. 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 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 practiced 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 are more client-centric, less likely to overbook and under-perform, and generally are more accountable to their clientele for their responsiveness and work product. Her pragmatism and creativity in structuring complex 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 telecommunications. 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
She 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 are expecting their first child in June 2018.
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
Representation of a public non-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) in a $3 billion merger with a NYSE - listed REIT
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
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
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)