Forward thinking: MLaw alumnus spearheads Oakland County Bar Association

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By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Keefe Brooks, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and the new president of the Oakland County Bar Association, made a bit of history June 4 at the organization’s Annual Meeting, as did the OCBA itself.

The event took place in the virtual realm for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic and attracted upward of 150 registrants.

“It was strange to say the least to be staring into my laptop and to be delivering remarks to all the participants. But all things considered, it went fine,” Brooks said.

The meeting, which traditionally draws a sellout crowd of more than 300 members of the bench and bar, also was to serve as an awards ceremony for a host of OCBA honorees, including a distinguished list of 40-year pin recipients.

Brooks was among the 40-year honorees scheduled to step into the spotlight that night. But that will have to wait until October 22, when hopefully large public gatherings will return to form.

The founding member of Brooks Wilkins Sharkey & Turco, a business litigation firm based in Birmingham, Brooks succeeds Dan Quick, another U-M Law alum, as president of the OCBA.

A member of the OCBA Board since 2011, Brooks was recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018, when he was saluted for his years of work on behalf of various bar associations and charitable causes in the community.

Brooks believes involvement in bar association and charitable activities is paramount for all members of the legal community. The younger associates in his office are expected to become actively engaged in volunteer work that benefits the community at large.

“I literally don’t give our attorneys much choice,” said Brooks.

“I practically insist on them being active, not in terms of just writing a check but in terms of getting involved with committees. I have a policy with young lawyers that I call ‘The Rule of Threes.’ That is, I want my young lawyers to be involved in three organizations. One would be some aspect of the State Bar and at the local bar level...and, I want them involved in one charity in the community where they can give back.”

Brooks is a past president and director emeritus of “The Generation of Promise Program,” a nonprofit group that gives high school students the opportunity to connect with their peers from other communities.

“The organization takes high school juniors, by application, from Detroit and suburban high schools and sponsors an event, at least once a month, where they have the chance to spend some quality time doing quality things with people who they wouldn't ordinarily meet because of our overly segregated population in Southeast Michigan,” Brooks said.

“I have always had an abiding interest in dealing with remaining vestiges of racism and segregation in Detroit. As a student of the law, I have a pretty good understanding of how our legal system contributed mightily to that. I am a deep believer that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their goals. That’s personal to me.”




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