Tag Archives: ryan mckeen

A Post About Lunch

“Always plan your day around lunch.” – Judge Smith

Coffee at Cafe Mantic

Coffee at Cafe Mantic

One of the great blessings in my nine years of practice has been the willingness of experienced lawyers to share their insights. The practice of law is literally that. It’s a practice. Practice is best with coaches. I’m writing this to share Judge Smith’s advice about lunch.

Why am I writing a post about lunch? Because, when Judge Smith told me to plan my day around lunch – I initially thought he was kidding. I’ve come to learn that he wasn’t. I met Judge Smith at lunch with my bosses.

Lunch is a special time for me. Often, I eat lunch at my desk while working. But at least once a week – I try and get out. Being a father of two young children – I do everything I can to be home for dinner with my family. My days of Young Lawyer networking Happy Hours are long gone. The only professional commitments that I make in the evening is to Inn of Court which meets once a month. I otherwise avoid evening commitments if at all possible because reading “Goodnight Moon” to my son and daughter means everything to me.

Lunch is my opportunity and I try to seize it.

In September, I had a meeting in New Haven. A place I only venture to a handful of times each year. My meeting got out at 11. I texted my brother who works in New Haven and asked if he wanted to grab lunch. He said “sure”. On a perfect September day, we walked to a Mexican restaurant and had lunch. It was a time to connect and reconnect.

There have been lunches with classmates, friends, and colleagues. The life of a practicing lawyer is often a moving target. Hearings run long. Closings get rescheduled. Cases settle. A lawyer’s calendar is always in a state of flux. Clients always take priority.  Sometimes the first thing I do when I get in after checking my schedule is ask myself “what am I going to do for lunch?” Time permitting I’ll email or text a colleague and schedule a lunch meeting. We catch up, we discuss cases, and we discuss practice. I can’t tell you how many of these conversations that I’ve cherished over the years.

This summer after wrapping up closing arguments in hotly contested trial in New London – I grabbed lunch with co-counsel and opposing counsel at a deli near the court. The pulled pork was outstanding. The company was better. Being able to sit down with adversaries after a hotly contested trial where both sides were vigorously represented was refreshing. We talked little about the trial. We mostly talked about our kids and summer. It was great.

If I have a meeting in the northern part of the state, I try to time it in order to have lunch with parents.

At home my meals can feel rushed. My son is 16 months and my daughter is 4. My son needs his food cut. My daughter wants something. It is often loud. My son gets tired early in the evening. DInner feels like the thing we do before bathing, changing, reading and putting our kids to bed before we start getting ready for the next day.

Why am I mentioning dinner in a column about lunch? Because when possible I try to steal a quick date with my wife. Grabbing a 45 minute lunch feels like spending hours together. We’re not cutting food or answering questions about giants. We’re able to talk…..in peace. It feels vacation.

Oh and Chilis. My daughter loves Chilis. My office is a short walk from Chilis. On school vacations she often comes into the office with me. We go to lunch at Chilis. I love this time with her. Someday she’ll have lunch plans with colleagues, friends, and maybe her husband. But for now, going to Chilis with her Dad is awesome. Never miss a chance to do awesome.

Lunches with clients are critical. Getting to know a client and build a relationship over a meal can yield countless dividends.

This summer I went to Cafe Mantic with my wife for our anniversary. I read about it in the New York Times and decided to make the trip on the way home from Watch Hill. I’m glad we did because it was outstanding.

Yesterday, I had a mediation in Willimantic with Judge RIley from 9 to 1. A few weeks ago, I received a call from Manchester Probate court looking to schedule a hearing. I looked at my schedule and asked that the hearing be scheduled for 3. I did this because sometimes a mediation, particularly if it is productive can run long. But I also hoped that a 3 o’clock hearing would give me time to enjoy lunch at Cafe Mantic.

My mediation ended at 1:00. The case resolved. My client was very pleased with the result. I headed down to Cafe Mantic. Opened my laptop – caught up on the emails and messages that I couldn’t get to during the mediation. Prepared for my 3 o’clock hearing. And I quietly celebrated the successful mediation with a salad and some of the best coffee that I’ve ever had. Connecticut is full of great places to have lunch.

Judge Smith was right about lunch.

One

McKeen Law Firm, LLC turns one today. It has been an amazing year. We’ve championed causes at trial, on appeal, and before the General Assembly. Many of our victories have occurred in resolving matters favorably for our clients in ways that don’t grab headlines. We’re proud of our work.

10275325_1673522786205437_4058590963116538613_o

This year I’ve spent a lot of time and money improving my trial advocacy skills. I’ve attended national seminars and have developed an extensive library of the most cutting edge trial materials available. I’ve invested time and resource into putting technology to work for our clients both in the courtroom and in our office.

The investments have and will continue to pay dividends. This summer, I took a matter to trial 6 days after I was hired, and three days after I filed suit. I squared off against 3 lawyers and a small army of assistants from one of Connecticut’s largest firms. Ultimately, the judge found in favor of the defendants on a question of law that no court had ever addressed. While the result wasn’t what I had hoped for, I’m proud of the fight we put up at trial. Opposing counsel – ever gracious – couldn’t believe that I was able to pull off this kind of trial on such short notice.

There have been victories at trial as well. I’m proud of those but wise enough to know that strong advocacy has little to do with result. We’ll continue winning cases in our second year.

We’ve also invested significant resource into streamlining our real estate closings. The goal is to have the client’s walk out saying “that was easy”. The processes that my team has in place continue to yield satisfied clients and have allowed us to lower our fees on closings.

For the second year in a row, I’m very proud to sponsor the McKeen Law Firm Race To Fill the Pantry on November 9th. Such a great race. Hope to see you there.

As my workload has increased my blogging has suffered. I’m aware of this and working on ways to expand the presence of this site and others.

I’m actively exploring ways to grow and better serve my clients. This next year is going to be big. To reflect this, I’ve changed the cover page of several social media accounts to the lion pictured above.

In year two, “we’re running to roar”. We’re ready to hit our stride.

Many thanks to my family, friends, and clients who have placed their faith in my. I could not operate without you. I am forever grateful.

 

McKeen Selected For Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Class

This morning, the Hartford Business Journal announced it’s 2014 – 40 under 40 class. I’m proud to have been selected.

A year ago yesterday, I began building McKeen Law Firm. I didn’t know where my office was going to be, what my firm was going to be named, or when I was going to open. Life had given me a blank slate.

While my name makes the Hartford Business Journal – my success wouldn’t be possible without the support of many people. I’m most grateful to my family for supporting me. When I needed it the most they were they helped and believed in me. Thank you, Allison and Mom and Dad.

None of what I do would be possible without the assistance of Ruth Deslauries who capably assists me on litigation files and Jackie Pentalow who makes smooth real estate closings possible.

Most of all this wouldn’t be possible without my clients. Thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to earn your trust.

Being selected is great. Now time to get back to work. Thank you.

McKeen Moderating Connecticut Landlord-Tenant Law Seminar

“You’re going to look back and think this was one of the best things that’s happened to you professionally.”

It surely didn’t feel that way at the time. Those were the words of a partner to me in my first year of practice. I was in the middle of one of the nastiest and most difficult cases that I’ve encountered in my nearly 9 years of practice. It was a commercial eviction.

I am representing the landlord. The tenant is represented by two law firms. The tenants lawyers file every motion in the book seeking to delay and/or deny my client possession of their property. I obtain judgment for my client but the case isn’t over.

It’s the day before Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to be an easy day in the office. I plan to have lunch with the partners after exchanging gifts. Except I get served with an injunction, ordering me to refrain from serving a writ of execution. The fax machine starts spewing out paper – motion after motion appears on my desk.

The clerk calls – the Judge wants argument on a Writ of Audita Querela at four o’clock. I’ve never heard of a writ of audita querela. The judge wants a brief in 90 minutes. I frantically research the the issue and respond.

Ultimately, I win a dismissal of the tenant’s case on appeal and gain possession of the premises for my client.

Going through the process was terrible. There were all sorts of motions, hearings, discovery, and challenges. My comfort zone as a young lawyer was being tested every day for months on this case.

Landlord-tenant law has been a part of my practice for 9 years. It is a quirky area of practice filled with pitfalls for the unwary. The very nature of summary process has helped me improve my trial and litigation skills – deadlines are quick and trials happen. I’ve represented both residential and commercial landlords and tenants.

I’m looking forward to moderating and being a panelist at Lorman’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Law Seminar in Rocky Hill on September 23rd. Mostly I’m looking forward to listening and learning from an outstanding group of lawyers.

My presentation focuses on abandoned property. It is an area of significant potential liability for landlords.

If you are interested in attending, please email me: ryan at mckeenlawfirm.com. I can send you a 50% off promo code.

All of my speaking fees generated from the seminar are being donated to Achilles International CT.

 

McKeen Law Firm “Race To Fill The Pantry” 2014

“It’s a great event. It’s what we’re about.” – Ryan McKeen

Ryan McKeen at the 2013 "McKeen Law Firm Race To Fill the Pantry."

Ryan McKeen presenting the Glastonbury Food Bank with a check at the 2013 “McKeen Law Firm Race To Fill the Pantry.”

McKeen Law Firm is proud to announce it is sponsoring the 2014 “Race To Fill The Pantry”.

The McKeen Law Firm Race to Fill the Pantry, a 5K  course/ 2-mile course/ 1/4-mile children’s race hosted by the Glastonbury River Runners, will take place on Sunday, November 9th, 2014 at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

$5 from every registration fee will be donated to the Glastonbury Food Bank. Runners and walkers are asked to donate a non-perishable food item.

The Glastonbury River Runners were able to collect a trailer full of food for the Glastonbury Food Pantry as well as a check for $1500.00. In addition, I presented the food pantry with a check for $305.00, or $1 for every consecutive day that I ran in 2013.

The course is accessible and registration fees are waived for all Achilles International (Connecticut chapter) guides.

The weather is usually great. I have run my two fastest 5ks on the course. We hope to see you in Riverfront Park on November 9, 2014. Click here to register.

McKeen Law Firm’s Commitment To Potential Clients

McKeen Law Firm, LLC cannot help everyone with a legal problem. We are small.

We only take cases when we know we have the experience, competence, and resources necessary to make a difference.

This means we turn down work. All of the time.

Our commitment is to turning down work in a good way. At McKeen Law Firm, LLC you’ll never get “no, we can’t take your case”.

Clients and potential clients call us for help. We will never turn you away without trying to help you.

We may often be able to put you in the hands of a competent attorney who handles your kind of case. We know lots of good lawyers. We may be able to put you in contact with a no cost legal services provider or point you in the direction of an appropriate non-profit. We may be able to point you to an online resource.

Whatever your problem – big or small – we are happy to speak with you.

CT Lawyer Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Runners

Ryan McKeen founded ctroadsafety.com and is working to make the site a resource for Connecticut cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.

Presenting Food Bank with Check

Ryan McKeen at the 2013 McKeen Law Firm “Race To Fill the Pantry” 5k presenting the Glastonbury food bank with a donation.

Ryan enjoys running in Connecticut. He is a veteran marathon runner. What he sees on Connecticut’s roads scares him – drivers choosing to drive distracted. These drivers needlessly endanger runners, cyclists, and pedestrians.

He understands the rights of runners because he loves running.

The purpose of www.ctroadsafety.com is to educate readers of the rights of runners, cyclists, and pedestrians. Ryan believes awareness is the first step in making Connecticut’s roads and highways safe.

The second step is accountability. Ryan regularly trades his favorite running shoes and the road for a suit and court. Ryan takes great pride in holding drivers who needlessly endanger the public accountable for their choices. He represents injured cyclists, pedestrians, and runners – and their families. It is his passion.

The third step is community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC pledges 10% of any fee it earns representing injured runners, cyclists, and pedestrians will go to charity. After a settlement or verdict, Attorney McKeen and the client will meet and mutually decide on a charity.

Justice is healing and protecting the community. McKeen Law Firm, LLC relentlessly seeks justice.

Ryan can be reached at ryan@mckeenlawfirm.com or by calling (860) 560-8163.

Attorney Ryan McKeen Re-Elected To Planning And Zoning Commission

For the past two years, I’ve served as an alternate on the East Granby Planning and Zoning Commission.

On November 5th I was re-elected to the Commission. 

Serving East Granby is an honor and a privilege. Land use policies, issues and laws are an interest of mine. How we use and regulate land impacts our economy, environment, and well being.

The picture taken below is at East Granby Farms. It is a treasure that the community choose to preserve for future generations.

MCKEENFAMILY492

East Granby Farms

Attorney Ryan McKeen To Serve As Panelist For New Lawyers

The Connecticut Bar Association has invited me to speak at a new lawyers training seminar “Building Your Brand” on January 21, 2014 at the CBA Law Center in New Britain from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

I MCKEEN LAW FIRM 014-2 web‘ll be serving on a panel with Eric Green and Bill Jawitz. Eric is the, Chair of the CBA’s Tax Section and a frequent speaker at the national and state/local level.  Eric also manages his firm’s website, social media, and  PR.

Bill Jawitz is the founder of SuccessTrackESQ and has been working exclusively with attorneys since 2002 to help them run their practices more successfully and become happier in the process. Bill is a frequent speaker at CLEs for the CBA and other organizations. He has spoken on marketing, time  management, law office management, and most recently, how to create your niche.

More information to follow.

Government Shutdown Could Impact Connecticut Real Estate Closings

“This is going to be very disruptive to the mortgage industry and pretty much result in a freeze of the pipeline,” said Craig Strent, CEO of Bethesda, Md.-based Apex Home Loans. “New loans can be taken, but without IRS and Social Security number verifications, [they] will not be able to proceed to closing.” – CNBC

We’re watching this situation very closely. The lenders that I spoke with yesterday were unsure exactly how the government shutdown will impact real estate closings in Connecticut.

Suffice to say the longer the shutdown the greater the impact.

__________________

McKeen Law Firm FIrm, LLC is a Connecticut law firm that practices in the area of real estate law.