Jerry O’Connell cites a piece of family history that illustrates a theme in his life: The ability to maximize the value of assets in consummating a transaction.
In 1970, sometime around when Jerry was in the sixth grade and his family was living in Kokomo, he decided he wanted to buy a Schwinn Varsity 10-speed. The model he had in mind was orange and sold for $110. His plan was to add an odometer so he could track his mileage. On some days, in fact, he would pedal 100 miles, once he got the Varsity. One thing about Kokomo, he says, is it’s flat. Anyway, he had an asset he thought he could convert to cash to realize his goal. Or he had access to an asset. His large family happened to have an inventory of old bikes in the garage. Jerry put an ad in the paper: “Bikes For Sale.” The plan was to sell just three. To his surprise, 30 or so people showed up, each intent on scoring a used bicycle. Soon he had people bidding against each other for the bikes. He quickly sold the first three for sizeable amounts. Then he sold every one in the garage, including a few various family members were still using. He made enough money to buy the Varsity, plus the odometer, plus more.
The experience taught him something about supply and demand and maximizing value. He was the fourth of five siblings. From his mother, he learned how to make things last. He likes to take care of things. He is practical. His attitude is: if something works well, why get a new one? He drives a 1997 SUV with 300,000 miles on it and says it’s “like new.” In warm weather he prefers his 1972 Buick Skylark convertible. He doesn’t know why people look quizzically at his ten-year-old tennis racket at the club. He still plays hard with it. He still has the Schwinn Varsity. He jokes that he ought to put an ad in the paper.
By the time he was in the sixth grade, he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. The business aspects appealed to him. “Because if it’s done right, it’s a win/win.” He admires people who are successful but not flashy. Like the football player who scores a touchdown, then hands the ball to the ref instead of doing a dance.
He is one of the few Graydon attorneys assigned to review the Firm’s opinion letters – official legal pronouncements rendered by the Firm on specific points of law addressed to clients or opposing parties, often in a transaction. “It’s one of the most serious legal tasks the Firm performs. So it’s important that I be a prudent advisor. Likewise, it’s our job to help clients achieve their goals within the law. I work hard to make sure I’m not leading a client down a path that is in any way reckless, but help them maximize the value of their assets in a given transaction. At the same time, I try not to be overly cautious. I don’t want to offer advice that’s prohibitive. It’s all about helping clients find ways to get where they want to go.”
Jerry practices in the areas of general corporate law, commercial financial transactions, real estate, and corporate finance. He has extensive experience in counseling clients about corporate matters, financing transactions, real estate acquisitions and developments, lease transactions, tax-free exchanges, and construction projects.
Jerry represents several regional banks in various financing matters, including commercial loans, letter of credit financing, industrial revenue bonds and general real estate matters. He is also involved in real estate issues concerning taxation and tax-exemption applications and represents corporations in both financing and acquisition transactions. A licensed title insurance agent in the State of Ohio, Jerry counsels clients regarding title insurance coverages, particularly in complex and multi-state transactions.
Jerry is certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). His accreditation, along with two other Graydon attorneys, makes Graydon one of only a few law firms in Ohio with multiple LEED APs on staff. Based on the grading and comments of his peers, Jerry is recognized with an AV Rating, the highest rating given to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Banking and Finance Law from 2013-2016.