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Virginia’s Go To Lawyers – Business Law: William R. Van Buren III

van-buren_williamWilliam Van Buren III
Kaufman & Canoles PC
Chairman and President
Norfolk

Education / Certifications:

BBA, College of William & Mary
JD, University of Virginia School of Law
TerraLex Harvard Law School Executive Leadership Program

What is the field or practice area for which you are best known?

Corporate law and specifically mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances

Please describe a signature case, deal or transaction.

Most of the transactions we work on are private transactions, the details of which remain confidential. My work often involves controlled auctions of privately and closely held, often family businesses, to private equity or strategic buyers, including preparing the company for sale, optimizing the net after tax transaction value, managing risk allocation, negotiating and implementing the transaction, and assisting owners with planning the redeployment and investment of the proceeds from the liquidity event.

Please briefly mention up to three additional important cases, deals or transactions.

Sale of a closely held government contractor to a public buyer in a transaction valued in excess of $200 million.

Virginia counsel in the acquisition of the Maersk APM terminal by a large private equity group.

Representation of a large multi-franchise automotive group in multiple acquisitions of Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Infiniti dealerships.

Describe your approach to working with clients.

First and foremost, I begin by trying to understand their business, their operational and financial challenges and the context in which they operate. That understanding and industry experience enables me to optimize client outcomes and identify risks and opportunities. I strive to add value every step of the way and am singularly focused on achieving the client’s identified goals. And most importantly, I focus on service by being available and responsive. I have spent a lifetime building a broad span of relationships with deep connections in the world of finance, politics and industry that pay huge dividends and drive positive results.

What is the best career advice you’ve received?

Do the right thing, even if no one else is watching, but especially when no one else is watching.

What developments in business law do you expect to see in 2021?

I don’t anticipate any significant changes to the Virginia corporate code though there are many of us who worry about the implications of COVID-19 for potential employer workplace liability. Industrial employers have long had to be concerned with OSHA regulations and workplace safety. The pandemic has certainly raised employer sensitivity to the extension of those risks to white collar work environments. If I could force a change in business law, I would very much like to see further study of the advisability of implementing a specialized and central or regional set of Virginia business courts to better deal with complex commercial disputes.