Bernard F. Gaffney Of Counsel




Bernard Gaffney is a skilled litigator and a highly regarded transactional attorney with extensive experience negotiating commercial contracts and litigating various types of commercial, general liability and professional disputes. This broad-based experience makes Bernard invaluable to clients seeking business and professional advice and liability protection. He has represented clients engaged in high-exposure and complex litigation in the United States and abroad.

Bernard has negotiated deals in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East, and has become adept at overcoming cultural, legal and language differences to complete complex transactions on behalf of his corporate clients.

Wholeheartedly supporting Wilson Elser’s extensive pro bono services, Bernard is dedicated to helping ensure universal access to the legal system, especially among those who are poor or otherwise marginalized.

Areas of Focus

Bernard has significant experience in all aspects of civil litigation. He has managed sensitive investigations on behalf of his clients, including matters involving significant liability exposure and various corporate compliance issues. Through aggressive pursuit of discovery in litigation, he has uncovered fraud and misconduct by opposing parties and third parties. He has tried cases in Connecticut and Massachusetts state courts and has taken several jury cases to verdict, including cases involving allegations of medical malpractice as well as hospital negligence. Bernard has successfully defended numerous high-exposure cases and has obtained favorable verdicts on behalf of a Fortune 100 product manufacturer, a national commercial bank, a local hospital, a doctor and individuals harmed by fraud and wrongful conduct.

In addition, Bernard has successfully defended large construction defect claims, including both residential and commercial construction projects and highway defect claims. He also defends environmental claims, such as a recent case involving alleged water pollution in a recreational area. Bernard also has represented diverse clients in appeals before the State of Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Court, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.  

Transactional Law
Bernard has handled all aspects of transactional matters on behalf of his corporate clients, including drafting, negotiating and advising on commercial and legal terms and conditions. He has helped conclude a wide variety of major business deals, such as consortiums and strategic alliances, contracts for long-term purchase and sale, stock purchases, industrial property leases, inventory management, turnkey and construction, and various service agreements. Bernard also has significant experience in technology-related matters, including drafting and negotiating agreements for technology transfer, licensing, nondisclosure and proprietary design.

Representative Matters


  • Defended various medical malpractice and hospital negligence cases for major insurer, doctors and local hospital, taking some to (jury) trial and obtaining defense verdicts.
  • Investigated employee misconduct for corporate clients and obtained various confidential consent decrees in addition to the return and/or the verified destruction of intellectual property.
  • Managed wrongful death claim allegedly caused by corporate client’s product in a foreign jurisdiction, including conducting investigation, preparing evidence for coroner’s inquest and participating in meeting with decedent’s family that resulted in no claim being filed.
  • Successfully defended general contractor in million-dollar construction claim alleging foundational and engineering issues.  
  • Prosecuted will contest of an estate with a value in excess of $1 million. After five-day probate court trial, will was held invalid.
  • Solely handled case on behalf of a plaintiff who suffered serious injuries in a case involving negligence and fraudulent conduct and settled the same on eve of trial for $1.2 million.
  • Represented law firm in malpractice action, obtaining summary judgment after multiple arguments and briefs, leading to favorable decision for client that was upheld by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
  • Successfully defended several high-exposure cases, including cases where third parties (often joined by our motion) paid entire settlement, in one case in excess of $1 million.


  • Drafted and negotiated to completion a consortium agreement between client (a Fortune 500 company) and their chief competitor, allowing the two to bid on a multimillion-dollar oil platform project in the Persian Gulf.  Then negotiated the terms of the platform work in face-to-face negotiations in the UAE with attorneys for the national oil company.
  • Drafted and negotiated to conclusion a comprehensive engineering, IT services and software-development contract with an India-based company for the client.
  • Drafted unique agreements for national insurer in a joint venture with start-up companies that provided new and cutting-edge, online alternatives to the traditional business models.
  • Negotiated, drafted and completed closing on a multimillion-dollar business line of credit and lease for 300,000 sq. ft. commercial/industrial space for commercial client.
  • Have negotiated to conclusion business contracts with a total value in excess of $1 billion.
  • Drafted and completed a multimillion-dollar repowering project in a century-old power plant in Europe.  Traveled with client extensively to view site and conduct face-to-face negotiations with in-house and outside counsel for European power company. Advice and negotiation helped the client limit risk involved in preserving a historic building while removing environmental hazards.
  • Drafted, negotiated and completed contracts for sale of intellectual property.
  • Drafted reseller agreements for national insurance company.