C. Matthew Keen has been elected Managing Shareholder of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. (Ogletree Deakins), effective February 1, 2016. Keen was elected during the firm’s annual Shareholders Meeting and succeeds Kim F. Ebert, who has served in the role since 2010. Ebert will return to his full-time practice in the firm’s Indianapolis office.
Keen joined Ogletree Deakins’ Raleigh, North Carolina office in 1987 and has spent his entire career with the firm. He has held a number of leadership roles, including serving as a Managing Director, a member of the Board of Directors since 2010, and member of the Compensation Committee. Keen’s client-focused philosophy is built on understanding his clients’ businesses, needs, and objectives, and providing responsive, practical advice with exceptional value. Keen’s approach has earned him recognition by The Best Lawyers in America each year since 2006, and as “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America in both 2012 and 2014. He has also been named in the top tier of the leading employment lawyers in North Carolina by Chambers USA since 2006.
“I am privileged to follow in the steps of the firm’s three outstanding Managing Shareholders who served before me. It is an honor to lead the firm forward on a path of continued growth and success, with the vision of being the premier global labor and employment firm,” said Keen. “We will strive to achieve our goal by living each of the fundamental client service principles outlined in our Client Pledge.”
In his nearly 30 years of practice, Keen has litigated employment matters in state and federal courts, represented clients before the National Labor Relations Board, and advised clients on equal employment opportunity and wage and hour issues. He has successfully litigated cases to defense verdicts in employment discrimination cases. He has also litigated matters involving ERISA, noncompete agreements and trade secrets, workplace injuries, and various contract and tort claims. In addition, Keen has successfully represented clients in dozens of labor and employment arbitrations.
“Matt Keen lives the virtues of the firm—our culture, our open governance, and our approach to client service. During my tenure as Managing Shareholder, I worked closely with Matt in his prior roles as a Managing Director and as a fellow member of the Board of Directors, and I am very excited to support him in his new role,” said Ebert. “It has been an honor for me to lead the firm since 2010, and I look forward to returning to my practice, where I can help our clients achieve their business goals.”
Ogletree Deakins prospered immensely under Ebert’s leadership, experiencing phenomenal growth both in terms of size and revenue. Ebert led the firm’s international expansion into Europe, Mexico, and most recently, Canada, as well as a domestic expansion that included new offices in 11 U.S. cities. During Ebert’s tenure, revenues at the firm increased by 75 percent and attorney head count by more than 300.
“I commend Kim’s leadership and dedication to the firm,” said Keen. “Kim strategically guided the firm to new heights and earned the deep respect of clients and his peers at Ogletree Deakins and other labor and employment firms.”
Also under Ebert’s leadership, the firm championed and staffed award-winning Professional Development, Diversity, and Inclusion and Knowledge Management (KM) departments. Both advanced the firm’s strategic goals of teamwork and collaboration by attracting and retaining highly-regarded lawyers and professionals. Since its inception, the Professional Development, Diversity, and Inclusion team has developed robust programming for a female attorneys’ initiative, an African-American business resource group, and an LGBT business resource group, among numerous other initiatives. In addition, Ogletree Deakins is a founding member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
The KM department has significantly advanced the firm’s knowledge-sharing culture, including the development of state-of-the-art technologies and processes that provide simple access to firm-wide information and experience, enable lawyers to work more efficiently, and ensure the quality and consistency of Ogletree Deakins’ services. The KM team has also built a number of client-facing technologies that help clients effectively track matters and agency discrimination charges, in addition to processes that ensure a collaborative and accurate plan and budget for matters.
Ogletree Deakins earned many high-profile accolades under Ebert’s tenure, including being named a “Law Firm of the Year” for five consecutive years by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”; receiving the most mentions in Corporate Counsel magazine’s annual “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies” survey for three consecutive years; and earning recognition as an Employment Law Practice Group of the Year by Law360 for three consecutive years. The firm also received the Women In Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Gold Standard Certification, was the recipient of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA) prestigious Thomas L. Sager Award, and dramatically increased its score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index.
Ebert returns to his practice where he has defended employers in virtually all areas of labor and employment law for more than 30 years. As a labor lawyer, Ebert has negotiated more than 100 collective bargaining agreements, handled more than 200 arbitrations, and successfully helped employers develop positive employment practices and resist union organizing by all of the major labor organizations in the United States. Ebert also regularly represents employers in investigations and administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other federal and state agencies. As a litigator, Ebert has served as lead counsel in defending employers both at the trial and appellate levels in class, collective, and other multi-plaintiff actions, as well as in individual lawsuits. He also has significant experience handling litigation resulting from corporate reorganizations and acquisitions.
Ebert has earned an enviable number of accolades during his career. He is a three-time Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year,” has been recognized as one of the Nation’s 100 Most Powerful Employment Lawyers by Human Resource Executive magazine for three consecutive years, holds a perennial ranking in Chambers USA, and is a fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
© 2016 Courtesy of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. – a member of the EACCNY