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John A. Eckstein

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Securities & Corporate Finance Attorney in Denver, CO

Fairfield and Woods, P.C.
1801 California Street, Suite 2600
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303-309-7963
Fax: 303-830-1033
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2009, 2015, 2020 - 2022
Licensed in Colorado Since: 1981
Practice Areas: Securities & Corporate Finance (70%), Business/Corporate (30%)
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Attorney Profile

Director at Fairfield and Woods P.C., John A. Eckstein has more than 40 years of experience as an attorney in Denver, Colorado, and the surrounding areas. His practice is focused on business and corporate law, including corporate finance and securities. Named by 5280 Magazine as one of the Top Five Securities Lawyers for four consecutive years, his high ethical standards and long list of successful results have earned him the highest peer rating possible of AV Preeminent* from Martindale-Hubbell.

Mr. Eckstein attended The University of Iowa, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and American History. He then moved on to Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and graduated in 1973 with a Master of Arts in International Relations before earning his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia.

Admitted to practice in both Indiana and Colorado, Mr. Eckstein’s experience includes securities offerings, regulation and compliance, public policy and governmental relations, and mergers and acquisitions. During his career, he has worked in software and technology, startups and entrepreneurial law, food and beverage, brewing, broker dealing and investment banking. His community service includes time with The Spirituals Project, the Paltown Development Foundation, the Sacred Arts Foundation and Water for People.

A member of the American Bar Association, he has served on the Cyberspace Law Committee, the Committee on Private Equity and Venture Capital, the Committee on Legal Opinions, the Committee of Federal Regulation of Securities and the Business Law Section. Mr. Eckstein is also a member of the Colorado | Association of Corporate Counsel, the Colorado Bar Association, the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Federal Bar Association and the National Association of Corporate Directors.

* AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 70%Securities & Corporate Finance
  • 30%Business/Corporate
Focus Areas

Business Formation and Planning, Limited Liability Companies, Partnership, Contracts

Selections

7 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2009, 2015, 2020 - 2022

White Papers

  • Information for the Small Businessperson Interested in Selling Securities (2021) - I wrote this article originally in 1984, but I have kept this summary article on our law firm's website up to date since 1998. It is a general summary of the federal exemptions from registration under the Securities Act of 1933. It was revised in 2021 for all the many final regulations (loosening previous requirements and expanding the scope of many exemptions) issued by the SEC in 2020.
  • SEC Adopts Final Rules Regarding Family Offices - The SEC in 2011 finalized its Rule defining 'family offices' for the purpose of the exclusion from regulation of such advisers under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. This memorandum tells family offices what to do now to avoid or minimize government regulation of their activities.

About John A. Eckstein

First Admitted: 1975, Indiana

Professional Webpage: https://www.fwlaw.com/attorneys/john-a-eckstein

Representative Clients

  • Altira Group (has had 7 venture funds to date), Ascendant Financial Partners, Ausproof Pty and KonNx Inc., Avenue Living, Denver Press Club, Essential Investment Partners, Flowhub, LLC, FRICO, Greenwood Gulch Ventures, Innosphere Funds I and II, MinVu Ltd Pty and MinVu Inc., O'Fallon Brewing, Prima Capital Holding, Inc. (now part of Envestnet), Rockies Venture Fund I and Rockies Impact Fund, Traemand

Pro bono/Community Service

  • I served on the Board of the Colorado Bioscience Association and related predecessor medical device and biotechnology association boards and groups from 1984 to 2011.  I served as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Colorado Advanced Technology Institute [state agency] from 1990 to 1996 and as Chair of the Board from 1993-1995. I am on the public policy committees of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, of the CBSA, of the CCIA (alternative energy state trade association), and of CTA (IT state trade association), and the Tax Council and the Energy Council of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (state NAM affiliate). I have been on the boards of several high tech incubators and of several advisory committees to technology based industries in Colorado.
  • I have rejoined the board of directors of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, on which board I served previously in the 1980s and 1990s, 2020
  • For three years I have been chair of the board of Paltown Development Foundation, a non-profit organization formed in Maryland and based in Washington DC.  Among other things, PDF operates the website "Colontown" which is the entry point for patients and caregivers in the colon cancer space to enter into any one of dozens of private online discussion groups with similarly situated persons focusing on this critical disease state and permitting participants to take control of the drug and therapies affecting their outcomes., 2018
  • I have been and am still a member of the board of advisors to the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, which is operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (DOE) for itself and MIT, Stanford, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the Colorado School of Mines., 2009
  • I am a member of the board of Water For People, a global NGO in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector with operations in 9 countries. I serve on the audit and governance committees and on a special committee re strategic alliances., 2018

Bar/Professional Activity

  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section, 1977 – present, Committee of Federal Regulation of Securities, 1982 – present, Committee on Legal Opinions, 2005 – present, Committee on Private Equity and Venture Capital, 2008 – present, Cyberspace Law Committee, 1998 – present
  • National Association of Corporate Directors, Member, 2002 - present
  • Licensing Executives Society- Denver Chapter, President, 1993 - 1999
  • Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) (NREL), Advisory Board, 2008 - present
  • Federal Bar Association- Colorado Chapter, President, 1986 - 1987
  • Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Public Affairs Council, 2004 – 2018
  • Denver Association of Business Economists (DABE), 2002 - present
  • Colorado BioScience Association, Board of Directors, 2003 – 2011. Public Policy Committee, 2003 – 2012,  Co-chair, 2009 - 2011
  • Colorado Biotechnology-Medical Technology Roundtable, Chair, 1983 - 1996
  • Securities Law Committee, 1981 - present
  • Real Estate, Banking, and Business Section, 1981 – present
  • Colorado Bar Association, Board of Governors, 2008 - 2010, Professionalism Coordinating Council, 1996 - present  Chair, 2007 - 2009
  • Colorado Association of Corporate Counsel, President, 2012 - 2018
  • Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, Board of Directors, 1989 - 2008, 2020 - present
  • Association for Corporate Growth, 1998 – present
  • American Council on Germany, Denver Warburg chapter, 1998 – present
  • .In 2020 I gave virtual presentations to clients (and affinity groups of which clients are members) on the specifics and impacts of many new amendments and proposed amendments to existing SEC rules affecting the activities of broker dealers, family offices, municipal advisors, venture capital, investment advisers, and angel investors.  These presentations re 2020 SEC rules and amendments included Regulation Best Interest, expanded definitions of 'accredited investors', changes to Regulation D affecting Rule 506(b), changes to the Volcker Rule affecting family office investing in equity pools, expanding the impact of Rule 701 to cover stock purchases by 'gig' workers, changes to Rule 15c2-12 affecting aftermarket disclosures by political subdivisions that do bond offerings, and the like., 2020
  • Colorado, Indiana
  • I was appointed in 2011 by the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court to serve on his Commission on the Legal Profession and I continued on the Commission at the request of the new Chief until I resigned in 2015; I was a member of the working group which devotes its attention to relationships among lawyers and judges, and also was a member of the working group which is focused on the problems of mid-career lawyers. I am the immediate past president of the Colorado Association of Corporate Counsel, which was founded in 1971 and brings together the practicing corporate lawyers from law firms and larger corporations in this state. I stepped down in 2011 from the Board of Directors of the Colorado Bioscience Association but continued to serve on its Public Policy Committee until 2013 and still serve on the board of its PAC. I have also recently left the Board of Governors of the Colorado Bar Association. I am a past Chair of the CBA Professionalism Coordinating Council (2007-09), I have also been Chair of the Denver Bar Association's Professionalism Committee (2005-07), and I have served as a member of on both groups for many years. I have been a member of the ABA Business Law Section since 1977 and am occasionally active in the Committees on Federal Regulation of Securities, on Legal Opinions, and on Private Equity and Venture Capital.  I volunteered with the Federal Bar Association for many years and served as the President of the Colorado Chapter in the mid 1980s; I served as the chair of the Licensing Executive Society's Denver Chapter in the mid 1990s.  , 2021

Educational Background

  • J.D. University of Virginia 1975; MA Johns Hopkins University SAIS 1973; BA University of Iowa Political Science / History 1970

Newsletters

  • My memoranda regarding the 2011 SEC definitions of venture capital fund for the "exempt reporting adviser" exemption from registration as an investment adviser under the 1940 Investment Advisers Act, as required by the Dodd Frank Act, and regarding the 2011 SEC definitions of 'family office' for the exclusion from regulation under the Dodd Frank Act, are on our law firm's website. , SEC Definitions of Venture Capital Fund Advisers and Family Offices, Venture Capital; Family Offices
  • My memorandum regarding the final SEC definitions for the Dodd Frank exclusion of family offices from the investment adviser definition in the 1940 Investment Advisers Act is on our website., SEC Family Office Exclusion from Investment Adviser Registration, Investment Advisers

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Admitted to practice in the State of Colorado, 1981
  • Admitted to US Tax Court, 1977
  • Admitted to practice in the State of Indiana, 1975

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • I was named one of the top 4 securities lawyers in Denver in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 by "5280: The Denver Magazine". This is a peer nominated list., 2019

Honors/Awards

  • 5280: Denver Magazine, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 "Top Five Securities Lawyers" list; Colorado Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Black Book, Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in High Tech in Denver/Boulder, Five Star Investment Adviser (small business planning), AV rated (Martindale-Hubbell); also assorted awards for service to assorted trade associations and, among others, high technology and biotechnology industries in Colorado, 5280: Denver Magazine, 2019
  • I unexpectedly received this annual award in September 2011. The plaque reads "Exemplifying the intellect, integrity and moral courage of St. Thomas More in service to God, family and profession." , St. Thomas More Award, Catholic Lawyers Guild of Colorado, 2011

Transactions

  • Advised re structuring and disclosure of privately placed $165 million tax exempt draw down loan facility and concomitant issuance of $35 million tax exempt draw down bonds, 2020
  • Led disclosure on private placement of debt of regional transportation authority, 2019
  • Led disclosure on private placement of debt by regional municipal authority ($100 million +), 2020
  • I have a list of representative recent transactions on our firm website under my biography.
  • Negotiated and closed sale of minority interest in national consumer services provider (tech heavy) to global family owned consumer retailer, 2018
  • Led the legal team in the negotiations, drafting, formation and funding of new regionally focused early stage venture capital fund and affiliates with concomitant joint venture involving publicly traded Japanese corporations, 2017
  • Represented multimember rural public power supplier in reorganization and $100 million plus revenue bond refunding, 2018
  • I was the lead lawyer representing the management team and common stockholders in the stock sale led by preferred stockholder Broadridge of its well regarded Denver based investment advisory firm to Envestnet.
  • Led the legal team in drafting, negotiations, formation and funding by family offices of first time early exit venture fund focusing on Colorado based companies, 2016
  • Represented multigenerational family in private sale of well known equipment and implement dealership in Northern Colorado to large multistate manufacturer's intermediary, 2017
  • I serve as legal counsel to individuals, private funds, family offices, and investors for whom publicity is typically not favored. By way of example, in the recent past I served as lead counsel and closed a stock sale transaction on behalf of three owners of an energy business totalling in excess of $120 million in cash proceeds - the investors were three funds with less than $10 million total invested; I closed two smaller similar transactions that same month for the same client. No press releases were issued for any of these. 
  • represented controlling owners in sale of Arizona and Wisconsin corporations, together with control of a West Virginia refinery, to a public Northeast US headquartered company., 2017

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • I speak every 3-4 years to this convention on federal securities issues affecting local government securities issuers;  this is a hot topic for all governments since Dodd Frank Financial Reform became effective in 2010 and the SEC cracked down on governments issuance of securities and the trading aftermarket in 2014-17 , Lecturer to annual convention, Political Subdivisions and the SEC: Post Issuance Disclosures under SEC Rule 15c2-12, Special District Association of Colorado, There Are 1500 Special Taxing Districts In Colorado; This Is Their Trade Association, 2020
  • With a view to reducing the number of lawyers who get into trouble practicing in the securities law area, this year I am presenting a one hour program on securities laws for general practitioners to lawyers in Grand Junction, Durango, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction (all confirmed) [the dates of additional presentations are pending for Lakewood, Pueblo, Vail], Lecturer, Common Securities Law Issues for General Practitioners, Colorado Supreme Court, 8 Local Bar Associations In Colorado, 2017
  • In June 2018 I co presented (with Tim Peterson of Murphy & McGonigle, Washington DC) a lengthy paper and program to in house counsel and senior executives of municipal bond and debt issuers on the subject of SEC enforcement trends involving municipalities, municipal investment advisers and municipal securities brokers since 2010. The program covers the history of SEC enforcement against municipal issuers since 1934, the changes in the law brought about by the Dodd Frank Financial Reform Act in 2010, and surveys a number of announced SEC actions before and after the election of President Trump in 2016. This program is available on video until mid 2020 from CLE in Colorado, an affiliate of the Colorado Bar Association., "Regulating Municipalities by Prosecution: SEC Enforcement since Dodd-Frank", Securities Lawyers, CEOS And CFOS Of State And Local Governments, 2018

Industry Groups

  • Broker Dealers
  • Family Offices
  • Investment Advisers
  • Issuers of Securities
  • Litigation Expert Witness
  • Mergers And Acquisitions
  • Venture Capital
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Office Location for John A. Eckstein

1801 California Street
Suite 2600
Denver, CO 80202

Phone: 303-309-7963

Fax: 303-830-1033

Last Updated: 7/21/2021

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