Joshua L. Stearns


Josh Stearns is a trusted advisor for his clients. Josh has a business and entrepreneurial-focused practice with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, securities, corporate transactions, entity formation, and other general corporate advice. Josh’s business practice also frequently involves commercial real estate transactions, where he advises lenders, purchasers, borrowers and commercial real estate funds on matters related to title, transfers and debt and equity financing arrangements. Josh has represented clients in a wide variety of industries, with a niche for emerging businesses, private equity and venture capital, manufacturing and construction. As a Kentucky native and former student-athlete, Josh has a special interest in the food, beverage and dietary supplement industries where he works with clients on corporate matters, as well as regulatory compliance with the FDA, and other state and international regulatory bodies. Josh also represents clients on the front-end of adversarial disputes to help them stay out of court and keep business going.

As a former student-athlete, Josh understands the importance of clear communication and attention to detail and getting deals done. No matter the circumstance, this is what clients get when they work with Josh.

Representative Experience

  • Represented an environmental, health and safety software company in a $140 million equity sale of to a strategic buyer backed by private equity firm
  • Represented industrial software company in $30 million merger with strategic buyer backed by international private equity firm
  • Represented food and beverage startup in $20 million Series A financing
  • Represented a nationwide tank construction company in an $18 million asset purchase of a welding and fabrication company
  • Represented commercial real estate fund in $20 million restructuring and new equity financing
  • Represented an immediate care company in a $18 million equity sale of to a strategic buyer backed by private equity firm
  • Represented private equity firm and portfolio company in food and beverage industry in $3 million equity and debt restructuring
  • Represented coal mining company in $35 million equity sale to national conglomerate
  • Represented HVAC company in $15 million sale to private equity group
  • Represented industrial automation manufacturer in $4 million asset sale of product line
  • Represented aviation manufacturer in $4 million asset sale of product line
  • Represented general manager in negotiation of a team management contract with a professional sports league
  • Represented regional health consortium in sponsorship and NIL agreements with local collegiate coaches and student-athletes
  • Represented foreign manufacturing company in negotiation of ground lease for the development and construction of a $160 million petrochemical plant
  • Represented bourbon distillery in $3 million SBA financing
  • Represented commercial lender in $12.5 million real estate transaction for strip mall
  • Represented commercial lender in $9 million refinancing for strip mall
  • Negotiated, drafted and implemented the refinancing of a $60 million credit facility on behalf of a coal mining company
  • Represented mining company in a $25 million USDA-backed credit facility
  • Regulatory counsel for private equity company in $110 million equity purchase of animal product manufacturing company
  • Represented international ingredient supplier in domestic product launch, including the negotiation of commercial arrangements, such as supply and distribution agreements, as well as federal and state regulatory compliance related to product labels, marketing materials, websites and social media
  • Regulatory advisor and member of project management team for global medical device manufacturer’s launch of new product line in United States and over 40 international jurisdictions
  • Regulatory counsel for national provider of home and community-based health services in its sale to a global private equity firm

Licensed In

  • Kentucky


  • J.D. University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law
  • Certificate in Accounting, Bellarmine University
  • B.A. University of Louisville


  • Wellspring, Board of Directors
  • University of Louisville Family Business Center, Member
  • Association for Corporate Growth, Member
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association


  • The Best Lawyers in America®: Ones to Watch – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) (2024), Mergers and Acquisitions Law (2024)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Real Estate Investment: Choice of Entity & Structure,” Co-presenter for Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), Kentucky Chapter’s Annual Kentucky Commercial Real Estate Conference, October 2022
  • “Lunch and Learn with Steptoe & Johnson: Protecting Your IP,” Co-presenter for Amplify Louisville Webinar, January 2022
  • “Navigating the Wild West of Name, Image and Likeness in Collegiate Athletics,” Co-presenter for Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Webinar, July 2021

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