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Thomas R. Burton, III

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

TRBurton@mintz.com

+1.617.348.3097

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Tom Burton’s zeal for innovation and passion for energy and sustainability have shaped the clean energy industry. He created one of the nation’s first clean energy legal practices. Clients ranging from investors to entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies rely on him for creative and strategic legal solutions, and he has completed hundreds of venture capital and private equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs. He guides the industry’s next generation of leaders through active involvement with start-up organizations and accelerators. The Northeast Clean Energy Council recognized his pioneering role in the Northeast with a Decade of Influence award in 2017.

Tom’s global practice focuses on complex corporate finance matters including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, private equity, securities transactions, and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). He represents high-growth and emerging businesses, including companies in the energy and clean technology, social media and software industries, as well as life science companies, from start-ups to public companies.

In 2004, Tom founded, and currently chairs, the firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice, which has completed more than 500 transactions across energy sectors totaling over $8.5 billion since 2006. Serving more than 250 clients, spanning the ecosystem from emerging companies to large corporations, venture capital and private equity funds, investment banks, project developers, and family offices, the firm is recognized nationally as a leading law firm in the space. Tom is ranked by Best Lawyers in America in the Corporate Law section, and he is recognized by The Legal 500 United States as “rising to the fore” in energy technology for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies.

On the corporate and securities side, Tom has served as counsel in the structuring and completion of over 400 venture capital and private equity financings, representing both the funds providing the capital and the emerging growth companies seeking funding. His work in this area has raised billions of dollars. He organizes venture capital funds and represents them in their portfolio investments. Tom is also a key contributor to MintzEdge, an online resource for entrepreneurs that includes useful tools and information for starting and growing a company. In addition, he devotes a portion of his practice to counseling social enterprise companies, impact investors, and nonprofit companies.

Tom routinely counsels businesses on their growth and development, advises their boards of directors on corporate governance matters, and participates in an array of transactions, from private and public offerings to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and technology transfer matters. Tom also has experience in advising investment banks in private placements and underwritten public offerings of equity securities, and in their role as financial advisor in mergers and acquisitions.

He applies his background in corporate finance to counsel energy and clean technology companies through all stages of formation, financing, and exits. His energy and clean technology clients span markets such as solar and wind, smart grid and energy efficiency, energy storage, water technologies, waste treatment, biofuels, electric vehicles, and green buildings.

Education

  • Boston College (JD, Order of the Coif)
  • Boston College (BA)

Experience

  • Represented enVerid Systems, Inc., an HVAC load reduction solutions company, in its $20M Series B funding with financing led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
  • Represented FloDesign Sonics, developer of a unique acoustic cell processing platform for the industrialization of cell and gene therapy manufacturing, in its sale to MilliporeSigma.
  • Represented Big Belly Solar, the global leader in waste solutions for public places, in their partnership with private equity firm McCarthy Capital.
  • Represented Spring Lane Capital in its investment in Aries Clean Energy.
  • Represented Boston Metal, a company that focuses on producing metal with no pollution, in its $20M Series A financing led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Engine, and Prelude Ventures.
  • Represented Greentech Media, Inc. in the sale of its business to Woods Mackenzie (Verisk Analytics, Inc.).
  • Represented Vionx Energy in licensing technology from United Technologies Corporation and subsequent equity financing.
  • Represented Titan Advanced Energy Solutions, a company that has produced cutting-edge technology to increase battery charge capacity and extend battery life, in a Series A financing deal led by both Schneider Electric Ventures (SEV) and Energy Innovation Capital (EIC).
  • Represented IRI Ventures US in committing to a large eight figure financing.
  • Represented Cambrian Innovation, Inc. in Series B preferred stock financing.              
  • Represented First Solar, Inc. in its acquisition of TetraSun.
  • Represented XL, the leader in connected fleet electrification solutions for commercial and municipal fleets, in its acquisition of Quantum Fuel’s electrification division, as well as its $22M Series D financing and Series A, Series B, and Series C financings and in its Windsail Capital debt financing.
  • Represented NanoSteel in securing a $10M venture loan facility from Nasdaq-listed Horizon Technology Finance Management.
  • Represented Aspen Aerogels in its $82.5M Initial Public Offering.
  • Represented EnerNOC, Inc. in its acquisition of Pulse Energy.
  • Served as counsel to Canaccord Genuity in $32.5M and $37.4M follow-on public offerings for Rubicon Technology.
  • Represented True North Venture Holdings, a venture capital firm focused on early stage energy, water, agriculture, and waste investments, in a $20M Series B financing of an undisclosed company as well as on numerous equity investments.
  • Represented GreatPoint Energy in its $1.25B financing and joint venture with China-based Wanxiang Holdings; selected as Greentech Media’s Deal of the Year.
  • Represented EnerNOC, Inc., now Enel X, in its IPO and follow-on offerings ($97M, $108M, and $97M, respectively).
  • Represented Canaccord in Televent GIT, S.A. follow-on public offerings ($66M and $115M, respectively).
  • Formation of New England Energy Innovation Collaborative (now the Northeast Clean Energy Council).
  • Represented the sale of Beryllium, LLC to U.C.B.

Recognition & Awards

  • JD Supra: Top Author, Readers' Choice Awards – Energy (2017 - 2019)
  • Best Lawyers in America: Corporate Law (2015 - 2021); Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2021)
  • Decade of Influence Award, Northeast Clean Energy Council (2017)
  • Wunder Capital: 100 People Shaping Cleantech on Twitter (2015)
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 United States as “rising to the fore” in energy technology for Venture Capital and Emerging Companies (2014)
  • Included on the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list: Securities & Corporate Finance (2004, 2010 – 2020)
  • Euromoney’s LMG Cleantech & Renewable Energy: Top 100 Lawyers in CleanTech (2013)
  • Euromoney’s LMG Cleantech & Renewable Energy: Top 10 Clean Technology and Renewables Law Firm
  • Watershed Capital Group: #2 US Clean Technology law firm
  • World Technology Award Finalist: Law (2010) (The World Technology Network awards are released in association with Time, Fortune, Technology Review, CNN, and Science)
  • Boston Business Journal: 40 Under 40 (2009)
  • Susan Grant Desmaris Award, Boston College Law School
  • Order of the Coif, Boston College Law School

Involvement

  • Leadership Board, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (2020)
  • Advisory Council, SeaAhead, a bluetech startup platform (2019-2020)
  • Moderator, Virtual Momentum Summit, "Out of Crisis, Innovation is Born" (2020)
  • Presenter, Planning Your Next Round of Financing in light of COVID-19 (2020)
  • Presenter, A Practical Overview of the CARES Act and How It Can Help Your Construction Business (2020)
  • Panelist, The Impact Capital Summit (2017-2020)
  • Chair, New England Aquarium Board of Trustees (2020)
  • Judge, Cleantech Open Northeast Regional Finals (2012 – 2015, 2018)
  • Judge, MIT Clean Energy Prize; Grand Prize (2018), Track Final Round (2014), Grand Prize (2012), and Energy Efficiency and Infrastructure Finals (2011)
  • Board of Directors, Boston Golf Club (2013-2019)
  • Chair, Boston College Law Day (2017, 2018)
  • Selection Committee Member, Big Path Capital’s SmarterMoney+ Review (2016)
  • President, Boston College Law School Alumni Board of Directors (2016)
  • Judge, MIT $100K Pitch Competition (2015, 2016)
  • Presenter, Cleantech Open Northeast CleanWeb Prize by Mintz & EnerNOC, Inc. (2014, 2015)
  • Presenter, Department of Energy Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (2012 - 2014)
  • Board of Trustees, Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism (2008 - 2014)
  • Co-chair, Massachusetts Water Innovation Mission to Israel (2012)
  • Judge, Cleantech Open National Finals (2010, 2011)
  • Judge, MassChallenge Business Plan Competition (2010)
  • Advisory committee member, Flutie Spectrum Enterprises LLC
  • Advisory committee member, UMass Lowell Center for Sustainable Production Cleantech Project: An Agenda for a Healthy Economy

Case Studies

NECEC Emissions Report 2019 Hero Case Study
Read about ideas for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast by 80% by 2050 and related challenges discussed at a summit co-hosted by Mintz, the Northeast Clean Energy Council, and The Brattle Group.

Viewpoints

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Energy & Sustainability Connections Newsletter – October 2020

October 5, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

This issue of Energy & Sustainability Connections covers Quaise and its pioneering energy drilling system to unlock geothermal energy, energy policy news from Washington, recent M&A activity & more.
Read more
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Learn about upcoming energy industry webinars, including a webinar on leveraging voter engagement for clean energy growth and the GTM Solar Summit.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Client Feature: Quaise

October 5, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Read about Quaise, an MIT-led startup pioneering a new energy drilling system in effort to unlock geothermal energy and its recent $6 million funding round.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability M&A Activity – October 2020

October 5, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Read about recent M&A activity in the energy and sustainability space, including JOX Energy’s acquisition of EnergyWare and BayWa r.e. U.S.’s purchase of Enable Energy.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Organization Feature: MIT Solve

September 2, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Read about MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that aims to drive social impact innovation and help solve world challenges.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability M&A Activity – September 2020

September 2, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Read about recent M&A activity in the energy and sustainability space, including Falck Renewables and Eni New Energy US’s agreement to acquire Building Energy Holdings US for $32.5 million.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Connections Newsletter – September 2020

September 2, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Energy & Sustainability Connections brings the latest developments in energy investing, legal insights, company activity, and industry events straight to your inbox. This month’s edition includes:
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Event Highlights — September 2020

September 2, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Learn about upcoming energy industry webinars, including the Northeast Energy and Commerce Association’s 2020 Annual Fuels Conference on September 30.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Client Feature: Boston Metal

August 4, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Read about Boston Metal, a company focused on developing an industrial-scale process to produce emissions-free steel, and its strategic partnership with CBMM.
Read more
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Energy & Sustainability Event Highlights — August 2020

August 4, 2020 | Article | By Thomas R. Burton, III, Sahir Surmeli

Learn about upcoming energy industry webinars, including NECEC's Annual Legislative Roundup, BuildingEnergy Boston, and the ESA Energy Storage Annual Conference & Expo.
Read more

News & Press

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In an article published in the July/August Issue of Venture Capital Journal, Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice Tom Burton is quoted extensively on an increase in venture capital and other investing in the clean technology industry.
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An article published by Greentech Media included insights from Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice Tom Burton and Member Eric Macaux on M&A activity in the U.S. solar industry during the first half of 2020.
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Mintz Member and Chair of the firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice Tom Burton and Member Eric Macaux were quoted in an article published by Law360 on disputes related to the New England Clean Energy Connect project, an effort to build a $1 billion power line to ship Canadian hydroelectricity to Massachusetts.
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In an article published by Greentech Media, Mintz Member and Chair of the Energy & Sustainability Practice Tom Burton and Member and Chair of the Project Development & Finance Practice Audrey Louison were quoted discussing the economic impact of COVID-19 on new energy developments and solar companies.
A July 8 article published by The Boston Globe reported that the New England Aquarium is aiming to become a bold advocate on environmental matters, in conjunction with its plans for significant expansion.

Mintz Member and Chair of the Energy & Sustainability practice Tom Burton, Chair-Elect of the New England Aquarium Board of Trustees, recently led the search committee for the aquarium’s chief executive, Vikki Spruill, a longtime advocate for marine conservation. “Board members believe the nonprofit needs to forcefully advocate for conservation measures, and educate the public about what they can do,” Mr. Burton said.

The article also noted that ML Strategies is registered to represent the aquarium with respect to waterfront development on and around Central Wharf.
This Boston Globe column takes a closer look at Vikki Spruill, the New England Aquarium’s new chief executive. Tom Burton, a Member in the firm’s Boston office and leader of the Energy & Sustainability practice, is quoted in the piece. Tom sits on the board of the New England Aquarium and chaired the search committee.
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This column notes that as a society, we are increasingly insisting that corporations generate and measure social impact alongside profit. In this piece, Member Tom Burton and Associate Ben Stone discuss both the opportunities and challenges presented to boards of directors. Tom founded, and currently chairs, the firm’s Energy & Sustainability Practice and Ben previously served in-house in social impact roles.
Mintz is proud to be recognized by JD Supra in its 2018 Reader’s Choice awards. The annual program highlights the most widely read authors and articles throughout the past year. Five Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four different industries.
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Mintz is pleased to announce that Member Tom Burton, founder of its Energy & Sustainability Practice, is among the recipients of the Northeast Clean Energy Council’s “Decade of Influence Award.”
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Best Lawyers named 85 Mintz attorneys to its 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Mintz attorneys Matthew J. Gardella and Samuel M. Tony Starr were named “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective practice areas.
Mintz Member and Chair of the Energy & Sustainability practice Tom Burton led a panel, “Building a Larger Tent to Mobilize Capital & Exert Influence,” at Big Path Capital’s annual Impact Capitalism Summit.
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JD Supra has recognized Mintz in its 2017 Reader’s Choice awards, highlighting the most widely read authors and articles over the past year. Eleven Mintz attorneys were named JD Supra Top Authors in four industries and Mintz was recognized as the Top Firm with readers in the Energy Industry.

An Energy Law Pioneer

February 6, 2017

This article profiles Tom Burton, founder and chair of Mintz’s Energy Technology Practice, which focuses on advising clients on building businesses in the clean energy sector.
This Q&A is conducted with Mintz Member Tom Burton who is founder and Chair of the firm’s Energy Technology Practice. The interview is conducted by Marcus McInnis, Director of Operations for Lockheed Martin’s Cybersecurity Innovation Center. 
Fifty-three Mintz attorneys have been named Massachusetts Super Lawyers for 2016 and thirty-one have been named Massachusetts Rising Stars. The findings will be published in the November 2016 issue of Boston Magazine and in a stand-alone magazine, New England Super Lawyers. 
Thomas R. Burton III and Sahir Surmeli, Co-Chairs of the Energy Technology Practice at Mintz, will serve on a panel of judges at the 2016 Cleantech Open Northeast Regional Finals. Mr. Burton and Mr. Surmeli will join a panel of six judges.
Best Lawyers named 73 Mintz attorneys to its 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America. Mintz attorneys selected for inclusion in this year’s list span 44 practice areas. 
Mintz attorneys represented Greentech Media, Inc. in its sale to Verisk Analytics, Inc., a leading data analytics provider. Greentech Media is an industry-leading information services provider for the next-generation electricity and renewables sector.
Mintz Members Thomas Burton and Breton Leone-Quick helped author SEC Compliance Best Practices, 2016 ed., in which “expert lawyers offer guidance on the various regulations and latest trends” pertaining to the SEC and their impact on companies and their counsel.
Mintz Member Thomas Burton III and Paul Dickerson, former COO for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency, authored this Houston Chronicle article on the lasting and growing presence of renewable energy in the United States.

Events

Speaker
Apr
30
2020
Webinar Reference Image
Speaker
Jan
8
2020

Cleantech San Diego Roundtable Lunch with Mintz Energy & Sustainability Practice Members

Cleantech San Diego

Mintz - 3580 Carmel Mountain Road San Diego, CA 92130

Speaker
Aug
21
2019

Tell Your Story Day

Cleantech Open Northeast

Mintz, One Financial Center, Boston, MA 02111

Speaker
Jul
17
2019

2019 Impact Capitalism Summit

Big Path Capital

The Nantucket Hotel & Resort, 77 Easton St., Nantucket, MA

Panelist
Jun
11
2019

The Collaborative Conference

Classy Inc.

The Warehouse at Flynn Cruiseport Boston, 1 Black Falcon Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

Speaker
May
21
2019

Technology for Better Water

Gradiant Corporation

Mandarin Oriental, 5 Raffles Ave Marina Square, Singapore

Speaker
Apr
3
2019

2019 MO Summit

Big Path Capital

Cambria Hotel, 15 Page Ave., Asheville, NC

Speaker
Dec
5
2018
Speaker
Nov
30
2018

2018 Boston Navigate Investor Corporate Customer Connect

NECEC

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02210

Speaker
Oct
10
2018

Horizon18

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, MA

Seminar Reference Image
Panelist
Jul
18
2018

Impact Capitalism Summit Nantucket

Big Path Capital

Nantucket

Moderator
Jul
18
2018

Impact Capitalism Summit Nantucket

The Nantucket Hotel & Resort

Panelist
Moderator
Jul
19
2017

Nantucket Impact Capitalism Summit

Big Path Capital

Nantucket Hotel & Resort 77 Easton Street Nantucket, MA

Speaker
Moderator
Mar
2
2016

Sustainable Investments in 2016 and Beyond

Citi

Citi Executive Conference Center, 153 E 53rd Street, 14th fl., New York, NY

Moderator
Nov
19
2015

Boston Cleanweb Tech Night

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)

63 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA

Moderator
Oct
21
2015

Cleantech Global Showcase: GloSho’15

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

JW Marriot, LA Live in Downtown LA, Los Angeles, CA

Speaker
Aug
9
2015

12th Annual AREDAY Summit

The American Renewable Energy Institute

Snowmass Village, CO

Speaker
Moderator
Jul
16
2015

Impact Capitalism Summit 2015 New England

Big Path Capital

Nantucket, MA

Speaker
May
26
2015

Energy Tech 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Mintz Levin

The Lounge at District Hall 75 Northern Avenue Boston, MA