Career path: Received her Bachelor of Science in Finance from Boston College School of Management; Juris Doctor, Boston College Law School. Was a lawyer at Goodwin Procter, 1989 to 1998, elected partner in 1996. She joined BancBoston Capital in 1998, where she spent six years as deputy general counsel and helped to structure and negotiate the $1 billion portfolio's investments in venture and private equity companies and funds. There, she worked on numerous deals with Jean George and Bob Hower, currently partners at ATV. In 2004, Cunnane became an investment officer of BancBoston Ventures, managing VC and buyout investments in healthcare, technology, and retail. Cunnane joined ATV at the beginning of 2006, a US bicoastal firm.
Talent sourcing: In describing her move to ATV, Cunnane recalls that the firm became interested in bringing on an in-house general counsel and asked her for advice on how to structure the position and what types of candidates to consider. ?At first, it was informational, and I tried to help them think through the skills needed,? says Cunnane. ?They were looking for someone more junior, and I explained why I thought it's good to have someone more senior – with more experience – that could help at a higher level, such as structuring deals.? As time went on, she and the partners at ATV realized that Cunnane would be a good fit for the role she had helped to structure, and the transition was made.
Evolving role: Cunnane says her role has definitely been evolving since she joined ATV. ?That's one of the benefits of being the first in this position,? says Cunnane. Among her many responsibilities are going through fund documents and making sure she's familiar with everything in the partnership agreements; managing aspects of ATV's internal organization, such as human resources; and deciding for which matters the firm should hire outside legal counsel. As she became more familiar with the firm, it became clearer where legal expertise comes in handy, she says. Says Cunnane: ?Legal work does not take place in a vacuum – you'll get much better legal advice if the lawyer understands the business objectives.?
In the family: Cunnane was greeted by a tighter-knit, ?family?-like atmosphere at ATV, which contrasted with the larger, highly-regulated environment at BancBoston. ?I feel much more a part of everything,? Cunnane says of her new position, and she adds that the ATV team has been receptive to her new role. Cunnane is based at ATV's Waltham office, but spends one week of each month at the firm's Palo Alto office. ?Most things can be done on the phone or by e-mail, but I wanted to make sure that I was part of that office as well,? she says. Cunnane also provides legal training sessions for ATV's partners and associates, stemming from her belief that everyone benefits from understanding both the business and the legal aspects of the firm's activities.