John is a member of the firm’s Business Law Group and Family Business Law group. John’s primary practice is comprised of two separate but related areas: (i) counseling family-owned and closely held businesses; and (ii) buying and selling businesses, and in many cases, acting as a general counselor for the business on an ongoing basis after the transaction is completed.
Counseling Family Owned and Closely Held Businesses
John’s work in this area is extremely varied and from the broadest standpoint, John acts as a virtual in-house counsel to these businesses. In this “in-house counsel” role, John learns about the business, the owners, the objectives, and outlook of the owners, and then combines this information with his legal knowledge and the expertise of colleagues at Barley Snyder to provide counsel to the business on legal and business related issues. John has been involved in specific family-related matters such as succession planning, developing both advisory boards and boards of directors with outside directors, developing family councils, facilitating family meetings, navigating owner disputes, and negotiating and implementing Shareholder Agreements (Buy-Sell Agreements). Of course, John also advises on general business issues such as contract review and negotiation, real estate purchases or sales, employment issues, strategic planning, and general business strategy.
Barley Snyder is also one of the founding members and a current corporate sponsor of the S. Dale High Family Business Center at Elizabethtown College. John leads the firm’s efforts at the Center and is a frequent speaker and a regular resource for the CEO Roundtable and Emerging Leaders Groups at the Center.
Buying and Selling Businesses
John regularly represents clients buying or selling businesses. This representation can include very complicated transactions involving mergers of entities, multi-level financing and equity arrangements, earn-out provisions, and floating purchase prices or straightforward deals as well as advising clients on the proper entity to form for a purchase, negotiating and drafting letters of intent and term sheets, guiding the due diligence portion of the investigation, negotiating and securing financing, analyzing financing options, determining value, and leading the team of advisors in the negotiation of the deal.
John finds working with family businesses and their owners extremely rewarding. Barley Snyder has a tradition of representing generation after generation of family businesses. Family business owners have a very different outlook and approach to business than the Fortune 500s. The family business owner does not base his or her decisions on what will maximize profits for the next month (and his or her bonus), but rather makes decisions keeping in mind that he or she is just holding the business in trust for the generations to follow. These owners make decisions that will benefit the business in the long run to ensure the business survives from generation to generation. John understands this approach and acts as a partner and strategic advisor with his family business clients.
In addition to his legal work and when he is not chasing his three sons, John is actively involved in the community. Since John arrived in Lancaster, he has made community involvement a high priority and believes the community is made stronger through dedicated volunteers and that a stronger community results in a strong and more stable business environment. The central Pennsylvania region is proof of that.
- Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in Harrisburg, 2020, Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law (2013-2024)
- Lancaster Family YMCA “Volunteer of the Year” (2004)
- Pennsylvania Rising Stars
- Inaugural recipient of “Wall of Fame” of the High Center for Family Business
- American, Pennsylvania and Lancaster County Bar Associations
- Family Business Center Webcast – Succession Planning for Family Businesses
- “The Expected Impact of COVID-19 on M&A: A Look at the ‘New Normal’”, Barley Snyder Webinar Series (June 2020)
- “Recent Developments in the M&A Market”, Barley Snyder Business Seminar (October 2016)
- “Succession Planning”, High Center for Family Business (May 2016)
- “Business Succession & Wealth Transfer: Considerations of Death, Taxes and Achieving Family Harmony”, Barley Snyder Business Seminar (October 2014)
- “Diamonds in the Rough: Working With Troubled Borrowers”, Barley Snyder LendiCon Seminar (May 2014)
- “Is an M&A the Right Course for Your Business?”, S. Dale High Center for Family Business: Mergers and Acquisitions Panel (January 2013)
- “Guiding Wealth through Generations”, S. Dale High Center for Family Business, “Keeping it in the Family” (November 2011)
- “Succession Planning: Today’s Planning, Tomorrow’s Success”, Barley Snyder Business Seminar (October 2011)
- “Who’s in Charge Here: Succession Planning for Business”, Barley Snyder Business Seminar (May 2006)
- Director, The Wenger Group Board of Directors
- Captain, U.S. Air Force (1986-1992)