November 21, 2016 at 10:24 am

CLJC Spotlights HTC Alum | Gravelle, Transactional Attorney at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Columbus

Center for Law, Justice & Culture Alumni Spotlight

Jack Gravelle is a partner in Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur‘s Corporate Department, practicing in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, business growth and operation, and corporate securities.

Jack Gravelle

Jack Gravelle

He helps companies expand through investment, acquisitions, divestitures and commercial relationships, and he helps businesses manage risk and comply with federal and state securities laws.

As mergers and acquisitions counsel, Gravelle structures, negotiates and documents stock and asset purchases as well as sales, mergers, reorganizations, spinoffs, consolidations and other major corporate events impacting ownership, including business succession planning. He represents buyers and sellers in transactions across a range of industries, such as energy, manufacturing, technology, retail, banking and telecommunications. Gravelle is well-versed in the sale and purchase of electric power generation and transmission assets.

He also helps emerging, high-growth and sustaining businesses raise and attract capital by providing advice about formation, capital structure and corporate finance and ownership, including angel investment, venture capital, private equity investment, strategic joint ventures, private placements, shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, voting agreements, investor rights and equity compensation. Gravelle provides further counsel on non-competition, consulting arrangements, proprietary rights agreements, licensing, customer and vendor contracts, and general corporate law.

Gravelle advises companies of all sizes regarding commercial investments and contractual arrangements, including wholesale and retail sales, re-seller and distribution, manufacturing and supply, purchase orders, warranties, indemnification obligations, research and development agreements, joint ventures, professional and commercial services, logistics, and licensing.

As corporate securities counsel, Gravelle helps public companies comply with securities laws and the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His securities practice includes follow-on and secondary registered offerings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, minority and majority investments, spin-offs, stock splits, going-private transactions, stock repurchase programs and defensive takeover strategies. He regularly advises public companies about SEC compliance, periodic and current reports, registration statements, proxy solicitations, annual and special shareholder meetings, fair disclosure and transactions in public company stock, including insider trading and restricted securities.

Finally, Gravelle helps boards of directors of companies and nonprofit organizations manage corporate governance. He provides advice about conflicts of interest, fiduciary duties, related party transactions, compliance policies, board resolutions, proxy contests, contentious shareholder proposals, special investigations by boards of directors or committees, and board evaluations.

What brought you to Ohio University?

I came to Ohio University primarily because of the Honors Tutorial College. I also loved the campus and the college-town atmosphere of Athens.

What is your current occupation? Explain what you do in a typical day.

I am a transactional attorney at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Columbus, Ohio, practicing in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, business growth and operation, and corporate securities. I help companies raise capital and grow through investment, acquisitions, divestitures, and commercial relationships. In a typical day, I negotiate and prepare documents for a variety of transactions, mostly related to buying and selling businesses or raising capital by selling stock or other types of equity and debt instruments.

How did you become interested in that field? Was there a particular topic or field of law that got you interested in it in the first place?

Starting in college and continuing through law school, I was interested in many aspects of law in general, including constitutional law, criminal law, and the legal aspects of my political science courses. But I did not become interested in the law of business transactions until I started practicing. I did not know much about what I do now before I started practicing. My interest grew as I learned more about typical corporate transactions.

What’s your favorite part of your position? What are you passionate about?

My favorite part is the variety of transactions and legal work and the daily opportunities for creative problem solving. Each transaction is different. Sometimes the parties involved cannot agree on terms, or sometimes legal or contractual obligations create obstacles, but I enjoy crafting different ways to solve these problems. When the deal closes, everybody is happy. It is satisfying to be involved from the beginning of a transaction all the way through closing, especially when the transaction is vital to the future of the company. I also enjoy working with smart colleagues who are great teachers and mentors.

How did your Ohio University experience prepare you for law school and shape your career path?

Many of my OHIO professors and courses instilled a healthy skepticism in my approach to learning and work. At OHIO I was encouraged to explore competing viewpoints and to question specious logic. It was a great foundation for law school and my career.

What do you think most important things you did as an undergrad to get you prepared for law school?

Law school rewards reading comprehension, critical thinking, and clear writing. My major in political science was great preparation for all three. I did not take many economics courses at OHIO, but in hindsight they were some of the best courses for developing critical thinking. If I could do it over I also would have taken more accounting and finance. Diverse coursework is great preparation for law school.

Do you have any advice for students interested in law?

Law school is an obvious, intellectually satisfying place to pursue an interest in law, but the cost does not make sense unless you actually want to practice law. Students who are interested in law but who do not want to practice can find law-related careers or future academic success that does not include law school. Law school is not a good place to spend three years of your life unless you want to be a lawyer. It is true that many people with a J.D. have careers outside of practicing law, but usually after first practicing for a significant period of time. If you are interested in law but do not ultimately want to practice, then your time will be better spent pursuing careers or academics related to policy, legislation, political science, economics, social work, government, research, etc. Finally, unless you are admitted to a top school, it is best to go to law school in the city where you think you might want to practice.

What is your favorite Ohio University memory?

I can’t pick just one. It was a great time for me, and I fondly remember GoodFella’s pizza, my dilapidated house on Franklin Ave, Bob’s IGA, Strouds Run, Student Alumni Board, driving to Movies 10 in Nelsonville, Bentley Hall, HallOUween, College Green, meeting lifelong friends, and even a few classes and professors.

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