Samuel M. Shafner


T: (781) 821-0410

Boston office


Practice Areas:

  • Commercial Transactions
  • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Employment
  • Financial Services & Lending
  • General Corporate
  • Intellectual Property
  • International
  • Internet E-Commerce
  • Securities & Private Equity
  • Technology

Bar Admissions:

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • State of New York


  • Martindale Hubbell AV Rated

Professional Memberships:

  • Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA (Member, Board of Assoc.)
  • New England Investors Committee for Capital Innovation (President)


  • Boston University Law School; J.D., Law Review, 1978
  • Columbia University, NYC; B.A. English 1975

Large Law Firm Experience:

  • Burns & Levinson, LLP
  • Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault

Samuel Shafner is a business, corporate and securities lawyer and has served clients in those areas for over 25 years. The majority of those years were spent as a partner and practice group head at Burns & Levinson, one of the larger law firms in Boston. His practice consists of serving clients from young startups to major publicly traded companies in both routine and extraordinary business transactions, as well as in launching new businesses, strategic partnerships and investments, acquisitions and divestitures, securities law, corporate governance, and all manner of business and transactional legal work. A large portion of Samuel’s clients are international, most of whom are located in Canada, Western Europe and Israel.

In addition to his legal work, Samuel is a frequent writer and public speaker at conferences all over the world on such topics as venture capital, strategic corporate investing, private venture capital activity, fund formation and limited partner relations, exits (M&A/IPO) and cross-border business finance. He speaks or leads panels at about five such conferences per year, on average, and has done so for over a decade. He is best known for his work with helping young enterprises to launch well, scale smoothly and exit profitably, as well as counseling large international public companies in structuring and operating successful strategic venture capital divisions to monitor potentially game-changing developments within their business sectors. In 2013, Samuel was the only American asked by the European Venture Capital Association to attend and speak at its Brussels conference initiating its corporate strategic venture group, and is a frequent speaker at conferences in France, Germany and Canada as well as the United States.

Recent Speaking Engagements and Conference Panel Participation

  • December 8, 2014 (Boston, MA): Panel participation at the “Capital Access: SBIR VC Advantage” conference held in Boston Common Hotel.
  • October 7, 2014 (Boston, MA): Invited and hosted numerous venture capital fund managers and strategic corporate investors, and spoke for an hour, at a venture conference for the Chilean gov’t and universities.
  • July 10, 2014 (Boston, MA): Hosted and led panel of angels and family offices.
  • April 29-30, 2014 (Lausanne, Switzerland): Participated on two panels in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the oldest med-tech conference in Europe.
  • December 2013 (Boston, MA): Moderated strategic corporate investor panel at New England Venture Summit.
  • October 2013 (Montreal): Led a panel at a sustainability venture conference, to which I invited cleantech corporate venturing officers of 3M, Siemens and Shell Oil, and venture fund managers from Braemar and McRock).
  • October 2013 (Boston/Belgium): Hosted event in Boston, sponsored by the Flemish government, for US life sciences expanding into Europe.
  • April 2013 (Montreal, Canada): Moderated a fund of funds panel, and invited all of the US investors. (You-tube of Samuel’s opening address is available on line.)
  • February 2013 (Brussels, Belgium): Samuel was the only American asked by the EVCA to speak at the initiation of Europe’s corporate venturing group. He was the US representative on a multi-national legal panel addressing issues relevant to corporate strategic venturing in Europe.
  • February 2013 (Boston): Created and presented a webinar for several dozen law firms, across the US, entitled: “A Field Guide to Angels, Venture funds, Strategic Corporate Investors, and Non-Dilutive Funding.” Slide deck available upon request.
  • November 2012 (Boston): Webinar: Created and co-presented a webinar for a national webinar production company on “What VC-Funded Companies Need to Know about Gov’t Funding”. (Webinar available on the ExecSense web site and on
  • June 2012 (Boston, MA): Chaired a life sciences venture conference in Boston, sponsored by the Quebec government, and led an investors’ panel, all of the panelists of which he invited.
  • March 2012 (Montreal): Led a panel of strategic investors, most of whom Samuel invited, at an international venture capital conference.
  • February 2012 (Toronto): Led a panel of early-stage venture investors, many of whom Samuel invited.


  • Effective Strategic Venturing Global Corporate Venturing Magazine (January 2014)
  • Creating an Effective Corporate Strategic Venture Capital Program Focus Newsletter (Fall 2013)
  • What VC-Funded Companies Need to Know about Government Funding (SBIR, STTR) Execsense Webinar with Powerpoint (orig. shown 2012; avail. for purchase at
  • Attracting Offshore Limited Partner Investments to U.S. Venture Capital Funds. ExecSense Webinar with Powerpoint (orig. shown 2011; avail. for purchase on and at
  • Near-Term Prospects for Institutional and Government Investments in Venture Capital Funds
    Focus Newsletter (Fall 2010)
  • Negotiating and Signing NDA’s with Potential Acquisition Targets or Strategic Partners – a First Aid Kit
  • Unpublished White Paper (originally distributed 2009)
  • The Fly in the Ointment – Consequences of an Unregistered “Finder” in Financing or M&A Transactions
  • Business & Securities Law Conference Handbook (MCLE, October 2008)
  • Response to SEC’s Hallmark Capital no-action letter (re: “finder” broker/dealer registration) VC Experts Buzz (September 2007)
  • Drafting Ancillary Agreements for Mergers and Acquisitions Transactions
  • Handbook accompanying Sterling M&A Lecture Series for Lawyers (Boston 2003)
  • What VCs Want to Hear: Writing a Winning Executive Summary. Mass High Tech (March 2003)
  • What VC’s Want to Hear: Writing a Winning Executive Summary. Mass. High Tech Journal (March 2003)
  • Venture Capital Negotiating Suggestions. Unpublished White Paper (originally distributed 2001; updated regularly since then)
  • Commission Splitting between a Registered Broker/Dealer and an Unregistered Investment Adviser
  • 11th Annual New England Securities Law Conference (Boston 2001; Mass. Bar Institute)

Recent Press Quotes and Interviews