With a practice focused on fund formation and investments, Bernard combines broad experience and market insight to advise clients on all aspects of planning, forming and investing in private equity funds, both domestically and internationally.
Bernard advises both sponsors and institutional investors in structuring, negotiating and investing in private equity, venture capital and infrastructure funds, as well as the formation of and investment by funds of funds. Clients he has represented in fund investments include BDC Capital, HarbourVest Partners, Investment Management Corporation of Ontario, Northleaf Capital Partners, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Saskatchewan’s Public Employees Benefits Agency and Sun Life Financial. He also advises fund sponsors in all aspects of planning, forming and negotiating their U.S. and Canadian private equity funds. Bernard also regularly advised several Canadian Banks and governmental pension plans in their investments in private equity funds worldwide.
Bernard’s recent work includes advising HarbourVest Partners in the formation of its venture fund of funds under the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI) and advising Amplitude Ventures Inc. in the launch of its venture capital franchise and the formation of its life sciences fund. He has advised Northleaf Capital Partners, HarbourVest Partners, Teralys Capital, as well as several Québec-based institutional investors in several investments under the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan and under the new VCCI plan.
Bernard Kwasniewski is referred to as an ‘outstanding’ lawyer who is ‘best-in-class on an international level.’ He is experienced advising on the formation of a wide variety of funds and further praised for ‘his strong reputation in the investment fund space.’
—Chambers Canada, 2021
Recognition and Awards
Chambers Canada—Leading lawyer in investment funds: fund formation
The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in private equity
Who’s Who Legal—Global and National leading Canadian lawyer in private funds
Lexology—Client Choice Award: Private Funds
Best Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in private funds law
Bernard is on the Corporation Law Sub-Committee of the Ontario Bar Association and he is a member of the Business Law Section within the Canadian Bar Association. In addition, he is involved in drafting revisions to the Limited Partnerships Act (Ontario), as part of a sub-committee of the Ontario Bar Association.
Education and Bar Admissions
LLB/MBA (Bronze Medalist), 1992
Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business, York University