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Christopher Thorne

Lecturer on Law

Winter and Spring Terms 2024

Christopher Thorne
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Chris Thorne is an authority on Private Equity Finance, Business Law, Systems-thinking, and Negotiation. He is an experienced global CEO who has worked in leadership roles in a number of industries. Chris serves as Executive Chairman and CEO of Broadline Capital, the global alternative investment firm. Formed two decades ago, Broadline Capital primarily focuses on growth capital, late-stage venture, and sustainable investments for purpose-driven companies. 

Chris has applied his approach to negotiation and collaborative problem-solving to a remarkable range of business deals, mergers and acquisitions, and investments involving both public and private corporations – including some of the most creative deals in the history of their category. Chris was inducted into the Ohio Supreme Court State Bar in 1995 upon passing the Bar on the first attempt, and has been recognized with the Highest Possible Attorney Rating (10.0) for multiple consecutive years in a global attorney ratings and review system.  

Previously, Chris served leadership roles at McKinsey & Company, the global strategic consultancy, where he managed numerous high-impact strategic and operational engagements for Fortune 500 companies. After excelling there, he left the firm to pursue his entrepreneurial vision and launched his first high-tech company, which became a category leader. As its founder, chairman and CEO, Chris pioneered one of the world’s first profitable SaaS business models while creating fundamental advances in inter-enterprise technologies. His SaaS company has generated efficiency gains for many thousands of food manufacturers, distributors and retailers by converting paper-based processes into paperless digital transactions across the entire supply chain. After scaling the company and initiating a roll-up, he served as president of the combined company. Subsequently, the resulting company successfully sold to Roper Technologies (NYSE: ROP) for more than half a billion dollars. After achieving a quality exit for himself and his investors, Chris formed Broadline Capital – taking skills he developed at McKinsey and as a high-tech CEO, and applying them toward strategically and financially supporting innovative companies. 

Chris first joined the teaching staff at Harvard Law School in 1991 as a Teaching Fellow with Roger Fisher in the popular Negotiation Workshops. Thirty years later, he was recruited back and appointed to the Harvard Law Faculty to share in the classroom what he has learned from three decades of deal-making and business-building. 

Chris holds three Harvard degrees. In addition to his Doctor of Law (J.D.) with Honors from Harvard Law School, Chris received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (final-year honors) and his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University (graduating Magna Cum Laude). When he was a student here, Chris initiated positive changes across the university while serving as president of the university-wide student government. He founded the Harvard Negotiation Law Review (founding Editor-in-Chief) and served as Executive Editor for the International Law Journal. Chris also received the John Harvard Scholar award for academic achievement of highest distinction, published the Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard, and was a Division I athlete who competed in three intercollegiate sports (soccer, wrestling, and rugby). Raised in the outskirts of a small rural Midwest town (Granville, Ohio), Chris has worked, invested, and conducted research in dozens of countries spanning five continents.