With over 40 years of business and finance law experience, George Tetler has earned a reputation as a highly effective and analytically sharp business lawyer. Financial institutions, investors, boards of directors, business owners and nonprofit organizations throughout New England seek George’s help with mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financings, capital investments, restructurings and business planning matters.
George serves as special counsel to boards of directors, financial institutions and corporations in complex internal investigations and compliance investigations. Regional and community banking institutions regularly engage George in merger and acquisition transactions, bank holding company formations and regulatory and compliance matters.
He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and his deep background in insolvency and bankruptcy matters is invaluable to clients in structuring business and financing transactions, both inside and outside of bankruptcy. George’s breadth of experience and practical, common sense approach to complex business transactions and business issues enable him to devise successful solutions to advance his client’s business objectives.
George is a leader in the business community of Central Massachusetts, focusing his efforts on economic development and educational and cultural matters.
- Secretary and Councilor, American Antiquarian Society
- Trustee, Worcester Art Museum
- Treasurer and Director, Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Inc.
- Trustee, Nativity School of Worcester
- Member, Advisory Board, The Venture Forum
- Director, Worcester State Foundation, Inc.
- Director, Worcester Educational Collaborative
- Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy
- Fellow and Life Member, Worcester County Bar Foundation and Massachusetts Bar Foundation
- Former Chair and Commissioner, New England Commission of Higher Education (the first non-academic to hold the position in decades)
- Former Chair, Worcester Business Development Corporation
- Former Chair, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Former Chair of the Board of Trustees, Worcester State University
- Former Chair, Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Inc.
- Former Chair, United Way of Central Massachusetts, Inc.
- Former Chair, Music Worcester, Inc.
- Former Chair, Worcester State Foundation, Inc.
- Former Member, Worcester’s Economic Development Coordinating Council
- Named to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s inaugural list of top 20 Massachusetts Go To Lawyers for Business Law
- Best Lawyers in America, selected by his peers for inclusion in the fields of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (since 1989); Business Organizations, including LLCs and Partnerships (since 2014); Corporate Law (since 2014); Banking and Finance Law (since 2020); Commercial Finance Law (2023 and 2024) and Mergers & Acquisitions Law (2024)
- Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers
- Selected to Massachusetts Super Lawyers since 2004 for Bankruptcy: Business
- Recipient of 2017 Rev. William Campbell S.J. Magis Award recognizing volunteer service to the Nativity School of Worcester
Articles + Talks
- “Real Legal: Silicon Valley Bank Closure Impact on Lease Security,” The Real Reporter, March 25, 2023
- “Advice: Silicon Valley Bank closure impact on lease security,” Worcester Business Journal, March 17, 2023
- “Asset Acquisitions – Important Considerations,” Contributing author, Buying and Selling a Privately Owned Business in Massachusetts, 2021
- “Questioning the Duty of Loyalty,” Corporate Board Member Magazine, Third Quarter 2016
George is a frequent lecturer on business, commercial and real estate law topics before various professional and trade groups such as the Massachusetts Bankers Association, American Institute of Banking, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., the Massachusetts Bar Association and the Boston Bar Association.
- “The Commercialization Process: Trends and Future Challenges,” Worcester Life Sciences Summit, Worcester, MA, October 24, 2023 (Moderator)
- “Business Succession Planning in Tough Times: Know your Options,” Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, November 10, 2020
- “Strategy for COVID-19 Financial Relief: Restructuring Your Business Loans“, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, May 7, 2020
- “Future Jobs: Intrapreneurs & Entrepreneurs – Where Do You Fit: How Do You Do It!” The Venture Forum, Worcester, Massachusetts, February 11, 2020 (Moderator)
- “Start Me Up Legal Conference,” Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and Bowditch & Dewey, Worcester, Massachusetts, March 27, 2019 (Moderator of Exit Strategies Panel)
- “Legal Best Practices When Considering a Purchase or Sale of a Company,” Worcester Business Journal Building Business Value Forum, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 25, 2018
- “Worcester: The Foodie’s New Paradise,” The Venture Forum, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 15, 2018
- “The ABCs of VC: Investing in Central Mass,” Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Game Changers Business Conference & Expo, Worcester, Massachusetts, October 20, 2017
- “2nd Annual Economic Development Summit: Developing for the Health and Life Sciences,” Bowditch & Dewey, Worcester, Massachusetts, November 2, 2016
- LL.M. Taxation, Boston University School of Law
- J.D., American University Washington College of Law
- B.A., Denison University
- Phillips Exeter Academy
Structuring and closing a complicated business expansion
In 2016, a regional company with retail holdings wanted to efficiently grow its business in the Northeast. Under a tight timeframe (“There were lots of Saturdays and late nights.”), George helped the firm’s client quickly acquire about 40 stores in three states, a deal involving approximately $110 million in assets. The complicated transactions included structuring and implementing a bid proposal process, financing, acquisition with sale/leaseback and a real estate component involving environmental issues. In the course of the assignment, George led a team of professional advisors inside and outside the firm, and the deal closed on schedule.
Getting a high-stakes real estate deal done
When the developer of a significant, vacant downtown property needed a quarterback for his professional advisory team, he turned to George. “I put together a complex financing structure,” George noted, which included New Market Tax Credits with a Historic Tax Credit component for the $42 million renovation and adaptive reuse of a registered historic building. “I remember conference calls with 20 parties, along with drafting, negotiating and reviewing approximately 500 documents – all under the pressure of tight deadlines.” The deal closed in the spring of 2015, and the former newspaper office building now serves as the campus of a community college serving Western Massachusetts.
Sale of an interest in an expanding bank
As part of a recent, $63 million transaction involving a Boston-based community bank, a pair of pension-fund shareholders in a bank holding company had to divest their interest on account of the Volcker Rule. According to George, “I advised the sellers and reviewed the stock purchase agreement, helped assemble the other transaction documents and handled the regulatory review and compliance aspect of the deal.” The sale/acquisition and addition of new capital closed in the summer of 2016.