Doug Colvard is a lawyer with Fourscore Business Law and primarily practices in the areas of corporate and business law. Prior to joining in 2018, Doug worked for several years in the financial services industry, focusing primarily in the derivatives and prime brokerage space before leaving to join Fourscore. Prior to his legal career, Doug worked at a venture-backed startup, in investment banking, and was an educational consultant.
Doug advises and assists enterprises ranging from start-ups, middle-market companies, and multi-national corporations across a broad range of industries including finance, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, advertising, and software to name a few. Doug also regularly assists closely-held businesses in a wide variety of contexts including business formation and organization.
About Fourscore Law
Fourscore Business Law handles the majority of our clients’ work internally. Our experience serving as outside general counsel for our clients allows us to efficiently work with highly-talented lawyers outside our four walls, when necessary, to deliver an excellent customer experience that entrepreneurs, investors, and business people love. The team is in growth mode, and we intend to retain the Fourscore Principles as we expand.
THE FOURSCORE PRINCIPLES:
Understand who you are. Fourscore is a customer service company. We just happen to be lawyers. Fourscore lawyers build relationships, not client lists. Serving our communities is a way of life, as is living responsible and sustainable lives with our families, clients, and co-workers.
Understand your environment and find a pain point.
Clients and lawyers alike hate the billable hour. Ruthlessly stamp it out of any situation in which it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Lawyers are notoriously slow and unresponsive. Be proactive with communication.
Business people hate it when lawyers (a) make things more complicated than necessary and (b) talk down to them. Do the opposite – use Lincoln’s “fourscore principle” to make the complex understandable. Be approachable.
Do excellent work. Whether we are representing a Raleigh tech startup, a small business in Durham or a venture capital fund investing in a Silicon Valley company, Fourscore lawyers take every opportunity to use our experience, training and common sense to do our best work, every time.
Provide value in unexpected ways. Fourscore Business Law leverages useful technology to increase efficiency in our workflows and make life (and business) easier for our clients. We love connecting clients and friends, helping our community build their work together.
Be mission-driven. Our mission is to be the law firm that changes the public perception of lawyers.
Through our extensive experience working with entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners, we understand that predictable pricing is important and that helping our clients budget for legal services is part of our job. To that end, we offer flat-rate pricing on many projects and when we must bill by the hour, we always provide good faith estimates and commit to keeping our clients up-to-date on their legal spend. Just like Honest Abe. Based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina, Fourscore Business Law serves entrepreneurs and businesses in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wilmington, Charlotte and throughout the Southeast. We also represent venture capital funds and other investors who invest in companies located in New York, Silicon Valley and everywhere in between.
Jim leads the firm’s Securities practice. He focuses his practice on matters involving corporate and securities law. He advises entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors about how to combine the best business and legal strategies when raising capital, commercializing technology and growing and selling their businesses. Jim also assists investors and entrepreneurs in negotiating investment terms and other transactions.
Jim’s transactional work includes public and private securities offerings, venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate partnership transactions on behalf of both public and private companies. He has advised companies in more than a billion dollars of capital raising transactions. Jim has extensive experience with clients in both the biotechnology and information technology industries. Jim regularly counsels boards of directors, company founders, management teams, shareholders, and investors in public and private companies about their relationships with one another on matters that include director fiduciary duties, shareholder rights, corporate governance, securities disclosure issues, management compensation, and conflicts of interest.
Jim’s book Crowdfunding: A Legal Guide to Investment and Platform Regulation (Thomson Reuters 2016) analyzes securities laws through the prism of Crowdfunding capital raising practices. He writes a column about business and legal issues for Triangle Business Journal, which has been republished by several dozen newspapers around the country, including in the country’s primary technology centers, such as Boston and Silicon Valley. Jim has served on advisory boards to two governors about state policies to encourage the growth of technology businesses. He authored a North Carolina a statute that granted tax credits to investors in technology companies and other entrepreneurial businesses and provided advice to drafters of North Carolina’s crowdfunding law. He has been rated by his peers as being “preeminent” in his fields of law.
J.D., cum laude, Fordham University School of Law, 1977. Fordham Law Review.
B.A., Fordham University, 1971
A dozen initial public offerings and many other secondary offerings – primarily for technology and science related businesses
Dozens of venture capital, private equity, angel and other investments ranging in size from $100 thousand to $20 million
Crowdfunding offerings and advice to Crowdfunding Platforms
Mergers and acquisitions of both private and public companies
Two proxy contests for public companies
Multiple PIPES transactions for small public companies ranging from $1 million to $10 million
Multiple public shell mergers and SPAC transactions
Commercial loan transactions ranging from $5 million to $50 million
License transactions with over $1 billion in royalty and milestone payments
Proxy statements, Annual Reports on Form 10-K and other disclosure documents filed with the SEC for more than two dozen public companies
Advising Boards of Directors and Special Committees about fiduciary duties in major transactions, including M & A transactions, conflicts of interest, and bankruptcy.
Honors and Distinctions*
Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s “Outstanding Service Provider Award”
Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s “Outstanding Service to the Business Community Award”
The Best Lawyers in America, 1995-2018
“Legal Elite,” Business North Carolina, 2007
“Super Lawyer,” North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2006-2007
Professional and Community Affiliations
Council for Entrepreneurial Development (former member, board of directors)
Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (former chairman, Venture Capital Task Force)
National Association of Corporate Directors (former member, board of advisors for the Research Triangle Chapter)
North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Business Law; Corporate Counsel; Intellectual Property Law
North Carolina Technology Association (member, Board of Advisors)
Admitted to Practice
North Carolina, 1985
All state courts in North Carolina
I advise entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors about how to combine the best business and legal strategies when raising capital, commercializing technology, and growing and selling their businesses. I also assist both investors and entrepreneurs in negotiating investment terms and other transactions.
When I started practicing law in a big New York law firm, most of the lawyers there dealt with securities law as a big part of their practice. So, I became a securities lawyer by working with about a hundred securities law teachers. Many of the partners had worked inside the Securities and Exchange Commission. They taught me how regulators look at securities issues, which helps me keep clients out of jail. Most were very practical lawyers, but the partner who clerked for a Supreme Court Justice and taught securities law at Yale taught me the value of understanding legal theory. Having a theoretical framework allows you to get to efficiently plow through thousands of facts to focus on what is most important. In the law business saving time saves money for clients. Over the years I have borrowed tricks of the trade from many lawyers both in my own firm and from other firms. All these tricks of the trade have enriched my theoretical framework. I recently formalized that framework in a book called Crowdfunding: A legal Guide to Investment and Platform Regulation published by Thompson Reuters. The book analyzes securities laws in light of 21st Century technology and business practices.
I have been working on technology and science based transactions since I started practicing law. In most of the deals I did in New York we represented investment bankers and venture capital investors in technology, biotech and the science industries. So, it was natural that when I moved to Research Triangle, NC, I gravitated toward the same industries. Now I represent both investors and companies raising capital. Life is more fun when you get the opportunity to do deals from both sides of the table.
Aside the training I mentioned above, securities law is all about telling the truth. I grew up in a family where truth-telling was sometimes taken to painful limits. My wife, Pam, can tell you how surprised she was when she met her prospective in-laws. So, by nature or nurture or both, being a securities lawyer suits me. But that is only part of the picture. When I help businesses describe themselves to investors, we are writing a story – the story of why that business and the investors belong together. Securities law requires the story to be true. Selling the deal requires creatively incorporating truth into a cohesive story. I think I’m very good at writing these truthful stories that bring businesses and investors together. You can check out my story telling skills here http://www.bizjournals.com/search?q=Verdonik where my columns about business, law, and technology has been published for twenty years.
Benji Jones, Attorney
(Contact Benji via email: btjones@WardandSmith.com)
Corporate attorney Benji Taylor Jones recently joined the Raleigh office of Ward and Smith. She has been a trusted counselor to numerous private and public companies in a variety of corporate and securities law matters for nearly two decades. Most recently, she’s been focusing her practice on crowdfunding and fin-tech financings. Benji played a critical role in the passage of North Carolina’s intrastate crowdfunding exemption (NC PACES). She represented the only platform offering peer2peer real estate loans under Regulation A and the first NC company to conduct a Regulation Crowdfunding campaign under Title III of the JOBS ACT. Benji is on the forefront of crowdfunding offerings in North Carolina.
Additionally, Benji advises public and private companies on a broad spectrum of legal issues affecting businesses. She regularly represents clients in public equity and debt offerings, traditional private placements and repurchase programs, public company securities compliance, corporate formation and governance, early stage financing for start-up and growth companies, mergers and acquisitions and strategic contracting.
Benji teaches as an adjunct professor and as a guest lecturer at local area universities and law schools. She regularly speaks and writes on crowdfunding, the JOBS Act, and related matters. While in law school, Benji was on the staff and editorial board of the Columbia Law Review, externed for the Honorable Shira Schiendlin of the Southern District of New York, worked at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton in New York City, and clerked for the Italian law firm of Ughi e Nunziante in Rome.
Columbia University, J.D., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 1998
New York University, M.A., 1996
Southern Methodist University, B.F.A., 1991
Represented first North Carolina company to launch a Title III Regulation Crowdfunding offering
Advised a real estate micro-lending crowdfunding platform in qualification with the SEC and NASAA of Tier 1 Regulation A offering
Counseled a global provider of biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services in its $1.1 billion initial public offering and listing on the New York Stock Exchange
Advised a global CRO business in the staged acquisition of the leading interactive response technology provider for $75 million in value
Counseled a leading international developer of video games and game engine software in significant minority investment by a Chinese internet company
Represented a global biopharmaceutical services company with its $525 million offering of senior notes and a related holding company reorganization and spinoff of a subsidiary to its shareholders
Represented a global solid state LED lighting and semiconductor manufacturing company with the acquisition of a privately held company (valued at approximately US $200 million) and related fairness hearing before the Securities Division of the North Carolina Secretary of State
Counseled a global biopharmaceutical services company in connection with a private equity transaction that reconstituted the company’s ownership and provided liquidity to its existing security holders
Advised a multinational manufacturer and supplier to the papermaking industry in connection with a private placement of $240 million of senior notes and subsequent exchange offer for registered notes
Represented a major convenience store chain with a refinancing of senior credit facilities and tender offer and consent solicitation of outstanding senior secured notes
Advised a venture capital funded agricultural biotechnology company in a $400 million sale to public company in a cash and milestone based transaction
Benji is also a regular speaker and author. Some recent articles and appearances include:
Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones lead Ward and Smith P. A.’s Securities and Fintech groups. These groups include Crowdfunding Blockchain/COINS teams. We are also leaders of the Raleigh Blockchain Working Group of E4 Carolinas a networking group for new energy businesses.
They have represented Venture Capital Funds, public and private portfolio companies and other growth businesses in financing, M & A, licensing and other transaction across a wide range of industries, including technology and bio-science. Both Jim and Benji played a critical role in the passage of North Carolina’s intrastate crowdfunding exemption (NC PACES) and building a state-wide on-line capital raising ecosystem.
Jim has written multiple books about finance and growing technology businesses, including:
Crowdfunding: A Legal Guide to Investment and Platform Regulation
Crowdfunding Opportunities and Challenges
Both books analyze Crowdfunding business practices and technology the impact of the JOBS Act on the venture capital industry and traditional securities laws, including the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
Jim and Benji are Thomson Reuter’s answer people for Crowdfunding issues. They have conducted a series of Crowdfunding webinars for Thompson Reuters, which calls itself the “Answer Company.”
They write a nationally distributed newspaper column about business, technology and legal issues for the American Business Journals www.bizjournals.com that reaches more than four million readers through local business publications in more than forty cities across the U. S.
You can read their blog, Entrepreneur Intersection, check out their YouTubeChannel, and attend workshops, conferences, and continuing legal education course that they present on Fintech, Blockchain/COINS, Crowdfunding, the JOBS Act, and related matters.
ICO Defined – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/initial-coin-offering-ico.asp
Blockchain Defined – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp
Cryptocurrency Defined – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cryptocurrency.asp