Family matter: Law grad continues the legal legacy of his great-grandparents

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Two of Matthew Keane’s great-grandparents were in the University of Detroit School of Law class of 1925, not long after the school first opened.

“I never had an opportunity to meet them, and I know little about their careers besides that they were general practitioners in the Detroit area—however, my grandmother’s constant comments that I reminded her of her parents, and her encouragement that I should pursue law and follow in their footsteps, is foundational in my desire to become a lawyer,” says Keane, who will graduate from Detroit Mercy Law this year.

“Their attendance at UDM also served a role in putting the university on the map for me and ensuring I would apply and consider it seriously.”
Keane knew he wanted to be a lawyer from a young age.

“I was always—and continue to be—competitive, and I loved to argue,” he says. “Family members consistently told me I should be a lawyer, and my reading and writing skills have always been my academic strengths so it felt a perfect fit.”   

A graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School, Keane laid the groundwork for his legal career by earning his undergrad degree in political science from the University of Michigan.    

“I knew it was a pre-law major and I have a strong interest in politics—not necessarily as a career, they just fascinate me—and it also presented a good opportunity to continue to work on my reading comprehension and writing skills before law school,” he says.   

During undergrad, he interned for Warren County Prosecutor Suzanne Faunce, assisting her with a variety of casework as well as with her successful campaign for Warren District Court judge.

“This was a fantastic opportunity because it provided me a chance to do something different,” Keane says. “At the time, Judge Faunce was still Assistant DA Faunce with an upcoming election. I spent two months working on her campaign – going door-to-door canvassing, preparing events, and doing anything else she could possibly require in the lead up to the election. Having even a small part in her victory was a very rewarding experience.”

He also performed a summer internship with Shutts & Bowen in Orlando, and after undergrad did an 11-month legal internship with Bush Seyferth & Paige in Warren to get a feel for the legal field.

“My parents wanted me to be confident this was the right career decision before I committed to law school financially,” he says. “It was fantastic experience, I was given an opportunity to work hands-on in ways that have only been matched by my summer associate position at Dickinson Wright, and I feel it gave me a sizeable advantage when I began law school.”

Keane, whose legal focus has always been towards business, says his 3 years at Detroit Mercy have been a wonderful experience. 

“I’ve been extremely impressed with the quality of professors, and the emphasis the school places on bar and career preparation – the career services department is outstanding,” he says.

“I enjoy the intimate class sizes and the opportunity to actually get to know the majority of my graduating class. Additionally, the Law Firm Practice Courses and Clinics have been an incredible opportunity to practice in a hands-on way.”   
In 2017, Keane did a four-month internship for Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Markman in Lansing.

“Working for Chief Justice Markman was illuminating,” Keane says. “While the commute from Detroit to Lansing was a bit brutal, there is very little I would give up that opportunity for. Largely, my work consisted of providing an initial report to Chief Justice Markman and his clerks regarding new cases presented to the Supreme Court. The highlight of the experience was the chance to see how decisions get made at the highest level.”

Last summer, Keane worked at Dickinson Wright in Detroit, where he was responsible for work similar to that of an early associate.

“I got to tackle projects in the international law, automotive litigation, real estate, probate, corporate litigation, and tax groups, and I absolutely loved the feeling of crafting work product I knew would actually help people,” he says. “The experience was extremely rewarding. DW is an excellent place to work full of great attorneys and better people.”

Dickinson Wright rewarded his hard work by offering Keane—who finished law school at the top of his class—a full time position after graduation.

“My current career goal is to work as hard as I can to be the best young attorney I can be,” he says. “I’d love to make a name for myself in Detroit and be a part of the city’s incredible resurgence.”

A native and current resident of Grosse Pointe, Keane is an avid reader, always “plugged in” on politics and current events, and has several other interests.    

“I’m an obsessive card player, regardless of the game. I love to play golf and racquet sports, although pretty much any sport will do,” he says.

“My community involvement has unfortunately fallen a little by the wayside with the rigors of law school, but throughout my undergrad at UMich I worked with Autism Speaks on a number of occasions, volunteering at events throughout the SE Michigan area.”

In his off time, tennis has been an important part of Keane’s life.

“I played competitively throughout my entire childhood, and my mother was a professional tennis player, reaching the top 30 in the world and playing in the US Open 10 times,” he says.

“After choosing to forego playing in college in order to attend Michigan, it’s become more of a hobby, but playing sports has always been the most effective way for me to clear my head and feel energized when anything starts feeling overwhelming.”

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