William R. Gravely

A Corporate Law Consultant, William R. Gravely was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on November 13th, 1947. He was called to the bar in Ontario in 1976 and in New York in 1984, as well as to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Court of International Trade in 1993. He was called to the bar in Bermuda in 1996. Mr. Gravely holds degrees from the University of Waterloo, where he earned a B.A. In 1971, and Osgoode Hall, where he graduated with an LL.B. In 1974. He was awarded the Clara Brett Martin Memorial Scholarship.


Mr. Gravely articled with Fraser & Beatty from 1974 to 1975 and joined the firm as an associate after being admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1976. In 1981, Mr. Gravely he became a partner at Fraser & Beatty, now Fraser Milner Casgrain, and practiced as a corporate department consultant until September of 1995. While practicing law in Ontario, Mr. Gravely also lectured in Corporate Law at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Bar Admission course. He co-chaired “Establishing a Business in Canada and the United States – Aspects of Doing Business Across the Border,” which was sponsored by the New York Bar Association, Quebec Bar Association, Law Society of England and Wales and L’Association National des Conseils Juridiques de France. He continues to be a Member of the Ontario Bar, Bermuda Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Gravely’s experience in Ontario includes all aspects of corporate practice. He acted as lead counsel for the Ontario Jockey Club for 15 years in general corporate and regulatory compliance, lead counsel for Volvo GM Canada from inception to 1995, lead counsel for Kord Group of Companies from 1976 to 1995, lead counsel for the Dairy Bureau of Canada in marketing, advertising, the Competition Act, the Food & Drugs Act and other regulatory compliance and various “partnering” transactions, the most substantial of which was structuring the Canadian heavy truck joint venture transaction between Volvo Lastvagnar AB and General Motors of Canada Limited for Volvo Sweden.

Mr. Gravely joined the Bermuda law firm Milligan-Whyte & Smith in September of 1995. He worked in the corporate department as a Senior Corporate Attorney until late 2002. His practice included a broad range of corporate duties, from general corporate and commercial work to handling a broad range of “in-house” matters for foreign corporations based on Bermuda, international joint venture transactions, project financing, corporate restructurings, international acquisition and merger transactions, designing special share and corporate structures for international tax planning, special purpose transactions, insurance and reinsurance matters and finance/securitization projects. From 2002, he provided ongoing consulting advice and services to the Bermuda law firm Lynda Milligan-Whyte & Associates, including managing a large corporate project for a well known European collective investment group that suffered substantial losses through several of the Madoff feeder funds.

His international experience extended to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) when Mr.Gravely assisted the Managing Partner of a large Dubai law firm to expand its corporate law department. His duties included providing guidance on a wide range of general corporate and commercial matters, drafting a wide variety of general and specific corporate documentation, assisting to develop corporate laws applicable to the new Dubai International Financial Centre, handling a wide variety of Dubai and UAE joint venture projects, the preparation of educational materials on international joint ventures with a particular focus on UAE based joint ventures, becoming liaison and contact person for new major client transition including Johnson & Johnson, Mars and other large multinational companies transitioning into Dubai and the Firm, presenting the DIFC built-out plans, assisting Essam Al Tamimi in preparing successful RFP response for the DIFC telecom build-out and advising the Real Estate Department on large Dubai and UAE based land development joint ventures.

Mr. Gravely returned to Bermuda in 2005 for a 2-year term to practice with Mello Jones & Martin. At the request of the Corporate Department head, who left to complete a Masters Degree at LSE, he assumed the role, practicing primarily in the areas of multi-jurisdictional IPOs, private debt, equity financings, implementing “poison pill” structures for NYSE listed companies that were Bermuda based and multi-jurisdictional joint ventures. The larger transactions included acting for Macquarie Bank in a large satellite acquisition and financing transaction involving 4 legal jurisdictions and being retained by Hogan & Hartson/Brussels to assist in the world acquisition by Kingdom Hotels of the Fairmont Hotel chain worldwide, with focus on Bermuda acquisition structure. He was also retained by a large US law firm to form part of the project team to acquire and finance, through a Bermuda corporate structure, the Russian government Sputnik satellite operations. This project involved complex structuring, drafting acquisition and financing documents and being a lead provider of acquisition and financing opinions to 5 different jurisdictions involved, including opinions on government agency selling and retaining ownership portions. At Mello Jones & Martin, Mr. Gravley worked closely with and acted as Bermuda counsel to major Oslo law firms Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm, Mellbye & Bech and the Simonsen on a large number of Bermuda-based acquisition and financing transactions, ranging from Sakhalin oil field ventures to ship acquisition transactions, international joint venture transactions, Oslo Bors IPOs and more. Additional responsibilities at the firm included training both students and new corporate lawyers and preparing the firm’s brochure on International Joint Ventures/Structures, as well as acting as a resource, assisting and training senior corporate attorneys and partners to expand the type of work handled by the firm. From 2004 to 2005, Mr. Gravely was retained by a Bermuda-based company to act as its lead counsel in a multi-jurisdictional litigation battle with Brascan, now Brookfield Asset Management, involving control and ownership of a large Bermuda-based reinsurance company. Litigation proceedings were launched by the parties in the U.K., Bermuda, the U.S. and ultimately in Canada. Mr. Gravely’s tasks included liaising with the client’s litigation counsel in New York, the U.K. (London), Bermuda, retaining Ontario litigation counsel, developing and coordinating the corporate strategy and implementing it consistently in all jurisdictional litigation. The case involved the control and ownership of Imagine Reinsurance.

For further information on William H. Gravely’s background, please view his more detailed curriculum vitae (–> link to .pdf). Browse our and staff profiles or learn more about our full range of services. Contact us to speak with a professional.