- Corporate Finance
- Litigation Support
- Strategic Advisory Services
- Turnaround and Restructuring
As published in Michigan Lawyers Weekly
Q. What is your area of practice?
A. I am the Practice Leader of the firm’s Intellectual Property (“IP”) Group and the firm’s Chief Economist. I specialize in utilizing my economics and statistical background to assist in providing economic advisory services to litigators on complex, commercial litigation matters with a particular emphasis on automotive recalls and intellectual property litigation matters. I have significant litigation support experience in economic damage quantification, expert witness testimony, and valuation opinions. I have provided expert opinions and/or testified in state and federal courts and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings on a variety of litigious matters including, but not limited to, automotive
recalls, breach of contract, intellectual property infringement/trade secret misappropriation, intellectual property valuation, product liability, shareholder disputes, and statistical analysis.
Q. How long have you been with your firm/ company and how long have you been managing partner/business owner?
A. I have been with the firm since 2012 and became a partner in 2015.
Q. How would you describe your firm’s/company’s mission?
A. O’Keefe is an award winning, results oriented strategic and financial advisory firm specializing in Corporate Finance, Litigation Support, Strategic Advisory Services, and Turnaround & Restructuring. We make decisions based on doing what’s right, not what’s easy. We are engaged to achieve outstanding results in trying situations. We strive for clarity, which empowers us to craft the best solution and present complex findings in a simplified matter.
Q. What is the firm’s greatest strength?
A. Our firm’s greatest strength is our team members who are highly credentialed in their disciplines and possess outstanding analytical skills. We thoughtfully approach each of our assignments, and all of our partners have testimony experience which provides us with a unique framework in analyzing our clients’ needs. Whether we are working with owners of financially distressed companies, insolvent middle market companies, valuation opinions, or economic damage quantification, we have the ability to develop unique strategies to assist counsel, or the company.
Q. What areas do you see as having the most potential for growth in 2021 and why?
A. COVID-19 has presented many challenges for the business and legal communities. During these uncertain economic times, we anticipate that our turnaround and restructuring practice professionals will be busy assisting companies with performance improvement opportunities. As the courts and legal community continue to navigate through this pandemic, we also anticipate that our litigation support professionals will be called upon to assist counsel with their economic damage quantification/expert witness testimony needs.
Q. As a managing partner, what trends in management do you see as most likely to lead to substantive change in the business/legal profession?
A. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, firms are finding it more difficult to meet with their referral base. Many individuals are still working at home, not getting together for marketing activities, or are mandated to not conduct meetings in the midst of the pandemic. As a result, firms need to find innovative ways to reach out to their referral base and find ways to keep employees engaged. With advancements in technology and the proliferation of social media, it is imperative that management is proactive in providing an environment for marketing activities and professional growth in this dynamic environment.
Q. How is technology changing the practice of law or your business?
A. For many of our large cases, we receive a voluminous amount of documents that are data intensive. These documents are provided to us electronically which allows our professionals to work more efficiently and to manage their professional/personal life balance by providing access to the data from anywhere. We are utilizing new, innovative software programs and methods to help us break down and analyze big data more effectively. These new programs allow us to interpret the complexity of the financial issues that could otherwise leave dollars on the table.
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge the business/legal profession will face over the next five years?
A. Professional service firms, such as accounting and consulting firms, will struggle to find new talent as there has been a steady decline in graduates for several years. In addition, corporate cultures will have to adapt to the various generational differences of the shrinking professional work force. Succession planning is another area that will challenge management for the foreseeable future. Historically, we have dealt with many troubled, family owned small and middle market companies that did not properly prepare for the inevitable change in management. We see that as a growth area for O’Keefe, as our professionals have significant experience in making the tough decisions necessary to maintain and grow market share in middle market companies.
Q. What do you see as the greatest opportunity the business/legal profession will face over the next five years?
A. O’Keefe is well positioned to deliver creative solutions, especially in times of an economic downturn like we are currently experiencing. With double digit growth in online sales there will be an increase in retail bankruptcies to reduce brick and mortar costs. Economic downturns will affect virtually all of O’Keefe’s practice areas. As companies face the economic pressures and try to protect their share of the market, our litigation support professionals will assist the legal community with developing litigation strategies. Automotive suppliers will face recall and warranty litigation as OEMs continue to pass down costs. Our corporate finance and turnaround and restructuring practice areas will assist companies with plans to maximize the opportunities available to the various business stakeholders. Finally, as consolidation of suppliers continues, our team is prepared to provide the due diligence necessary for buyers and sellers to maximize the opportunities that will present themselves over the next five years.
Q. What is unique about your firm’s culture? What sets you apart?
A. Our firm has a diverse group of professionals who work in a collaborative environment where professional growth is not only encouraged, but demanded. The culture at O’Keefe is very team oriented, with an emphasis on encouraging collaboration to develop creative strategies to maximize the results for our clients. We work hard, but also value work-life balance. Unlike many firms, all of our partners have testimony experience which provides us with the experience in understanding how our opinions will be challenged on litigious matters. Our team is comprised of professionals from various C-suite positions and industries which positions us for opportunities others may pass on because many of us have owned businesses, and we understand the challenges of the middle market business owner.
Q. The local/legal community is well-known for its commitment to “giving back”. What community/charity/ pro bono work does your firm/company’s do that you are most proud of?
A. As a firm, our professionals personally donate their time and resources to charitable organizations, including but not limited to Celani Family Foundation, Winning Futures, Racquet-Up Detroit, Michigan State University, The DAC Foundation supporting initiatives in Detroit, The Hundred Club of Detroit supporting families of fallen police officers, Myeloma Swing for a Cure, Capuchin, Michigan High School Athlete of the Year, Boy Scouts of America, Ronald McDonald House, Oakland University, Michigan State University, Matrix Human Services in Detroit, Old King Solomon Baptist Church, Academy of Sacred Heart, Cleary University and the Parade Company. In addition, for a small firm we engage 2-3 college interns all year to provide mentoring and support before they enter the workforce.