John has been practicing law for 20 years in a variety of settings, from the high desert of Carson City, where he interned on the Nevada State Supreme Court and lived in a cabin on the shores of nearby Lake Tahoe, to a blue chip career in the concrete canyons of Wall Street, where he focused on corporate and securities law at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, a major international law firm, and then opted to go in-house, first joining the General Counsel's Office at Goldman Sachs for 11 years, and then moving to Jane Street Capital, a privately held trading firm. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, in his spare time, John also helped found and run a successful real estate business developing high-end residential lofts in historic buildings in Soho and TriBeCa.
John began his sole practice, BERTON LAW, in the Fall of 2011, representing a venture capital group making a Series A Preferred first round investment in Ilegal Mezcal, the high-end Mexican liqueur company. He has also been advising on oil and gas VC and angel investments in Israeli and German media and technology companies for an ultra high-net worth individual investor and is advising another client on reviewing deal terms for a second round private investment in an Indian startup restaurant franchise and licensing business. He is also working with a web-based technology startup in the US on everything from incorporation to vendor and customer agreements and is advising on structuring and negotiating basic deal terms and agreements for an entrepreneur brokering industrial and chemical shipments from India and China and developing a medical tourism business for Chinese nationals seeking care here in the US.
Throughout his career, John has balanced a knack for specializing with the broad curiosity of a generalist. At Goldman Sachs John became a leading expert on the esoteric problems faced by owners of large blocks of publicly traded stocks seeking to monetize, hedge or borrow against the value of their restricted equity positions, and went on to become a senior legal advisor to the firm’s prime brokerage business, serving Goldman’s hedge fund clients. But he did not limit his focus -- he also served as general counsel to a number of smaller stand-alone businesses within the Goldman family over the years, thereby gaining practical experience advising on the varied governance, securities, transactional and general corporate legal issues to which he now seeks to devote his time. As deputy general counsel at Jane Street, a large privately held “quant” trading firm with 300 employees and offices around the world, John honed his skills advising on everything from immigration and employment to vendor relationships, regulatory and compliance matters and day-to-day trading issues.
John's goal is to provide general legal advice while leveraging his broad and deep experience with sophisticated transactional and securities work, to assist smaller businesses that don't need a full time in-house lawyer but shouldn't have to deal with big-firm rates and turn-around time every time a potential legal issue or question arises, whether it is a routine agreement or a major transaction or corporate event. John has the experience, expertise, and judgment to spot, analyze and solve problems quickly, and the good sense to know immediately when a situation requires the resources of a larger firm or specialized co-counsel (which John will facilitate through his extensive network of former colleagues with diverse and sophisticated practices). When work does have to be farmed out, John will keep costs down by managing the process and making sure the other lawyers focus on the business at hand.
A life-long New Yorker, John has never lived above 14th Street. He has three young children and currently resides in TriBeCa. He is also a certified Kundalini yoga instructor and enthusiastic yoga and meditation student. John has established this solo practice to create a sustainable life-work balance while providing first-rate, sophisticated legal representation to a diverse and interesting client base of entrepreneurs and investors.
|Principal||Berton Law||2011 - Present|
|Counsel||Jane Street Capital||2008 - 2010|
|Associate General Counsel||Goldman Sachs||1997 - 2008|
|Associate||Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton||1993 - 1997|
|Law Clerk||Nevada Supreme Court||1991 - 1992|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|New York State Bar Association||N/A||N/A|
|Harvard University Law School||JD - Juris Doctor||1991|
|Williams College||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1985|
|Doshisha University||Non-degree junior-year Program||1985|
|Stuyvesant High School||N/A||1981|
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