Harvard Law School
JD, 1974, cum laude
BA, 1970, cum laude
“pragmatic judgment; strong strategic positions and calm demeanor in negotiations; dependable and technically excellent; wise counsel”
Bill Asher is co-chair of the firm’s Business & Technology and Life Science Groups.
Mr. Asher has more than 30 years of experience in corporate finance and securities law, venture capital, M&A and corporate governance. He was one of only 15 lawyers nationwide recognized by The Legal 500 as an elite “Leading Lawyer” in Middle-Market M&A (sub $500 million) and was also listed for Life Sciences. Mr. Asher was named the 2014 Boston “Lawyer of the Year” for both Corporate Compliance Law and Securities Regulation by Best Lawyers. He has been listed for many years in Chambers USA and Massachusetts Super Lawyers.
Growth Companies: advises growth companies, from start-up and early-stage through public offering or acquisition, on corporate formation, financing, strategic transactions, buy- and sell-side M&A, equity and executive compensation arrangements, corporate governance and other matters.
Public Companies & Capital Markets: initial public offerings and follow-on capital markets transactions representing both companies and underwriters, as well as disclosure and securities law compliance for public companies.
Corporate Governance: represents boards of directors, special committees and senior management teams in matters involving sensitive corporate governance issues, including M&A transactions, corporate aspects of internal investigations, related party transactions and management transition.
Representative Clients and Transactions: practice focus in technology and life sciences, including representation of private and public companies, entrepreneurs and senior management, underwriters and investors.
- $65 million initial public offering of novel antibiotic drug development company.
- Registered direct and confidentially marketed public offerings by life sciences companies on behalf of underwriter ranging in size from $5 million to $100 million.
- Representation of publicly-traded cancer vaccine company in securities and financing matters.
- $80 million sale of venture-backed orphan drug development company to public company.
- Organization, $20 million venture financing and in-licensing for cancer therapeutics company.
- Organization and angel financing for cancer drug development company in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Initial public offerings and follow-on transactions for companies in software-as-a-service, networking and communications, internet and digital media, computer graphics and speech recognition.
- Representation of publicly-traded video delivery company in general corporate and securities matters, corporate governance, strategic investments and acquisitions.
- Representation of e-learning company from initial venture financing through $160 million sale to strategic buyer.
- Advise special board committee of human resource management company in $1.7 billion sale to private equity buyer.
- Representation of management team of network equipment company in $530 million sale to private equity buyers.
- Corporate representation of serial start-ups by MIT professor in organizational, financing, strategic and general corporate matters.
Publications and Presentations
Mr. Asher is a frequent speaker on matters relating to venture capital and entrepreneurship, public offerings and executive compensation. He has co-authored a chapter on equity compensation in Massachusetts Business Lawyering.
- “New Opportunities for VC-Backed Life Sciences Companies” co-author, Life Sciences Law360, June 2013.
- "Venture Capital: Nuts & Bolts," speaker, Practising Law Institute’s Annual Venture Capital Seminar, 2008-2013.
- “Look Before You Leap into a Securities Litigation Trap,” co-author, Securities Law360, October 2012.
- “Raising US Venture Capital in 2012,” panel moderator, BioFinance, Toronto, May 2012.
- “Q&A With Choate’s Bill Asher,” featured, Life Sciences Law360, May 2012.
- "Venture Capital: Nuts & Bolts," speaker, Practising Law Institute’s Annual Venture Capital Seminar, 2008-2012.
- “The Role of Board of Directors in Risk Oversight in a Post-Crisis Economy,” co-author, Bloomberg Corporate Law Reports, June 2010.
- "Boardroom Dynamics in 2010: Changing Roles for Management, Independent and Investor Directors," panelist, Association of Corporate Counsel Conference - Northeast Chapter, Boston, January 2010.
- “Anticipating New Exec Compensation, Disclosure Rules,” co-author, Law360, October 2009.
- Speaker, DolmatConnell & Partners Fall Conference on Executive Compensation, Waltham, October 2009.
- “More Venture Capital Firms Halt Their Fund Raising,” quoted, Mass High Tech, June 2009.
- Moderator, Executive and Board Breakfast Forum, December 2008.
- “Internal Risk Management,” panelist, Periscopes Up: Managing Your Company in Turbulent Economic Waters, Waltham, November 2008.
- Speaker, Cluster Theory and Practice: The Massachusetts Life Sciences Industry, Cambridge, January 2007.
- "Funding Conundrum: Investing in Early Stage Technologies,” panelist, Massachusetts Biotech Council's Mass Opportunities: A Biotechnology Investment Conference, Boston, November 2006.
Mr. Asher is a former member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He has also served as a member of the executive committee of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy, an annual report on key technology industry clusters in Massachusetts.