Matt Lake’s view, the Graydon way of life is defined by a blend of attitude, diversity of thinking styles and a sense of common cause.
“We have a mix of people and personalities. But most everyone has the same approach I do – they don’t want to be the center of attention. They want to move the ball forward as a team. We’re all on the Graydon team here, and I think we all care about each other.”
Matt found that out when his daughter, Colleen, was born in 2005 with part of her digestive system outside of her body. His colleagues stepped up. “Don’t worry,” they told him. “We’ve got it covered. Just look after your daughter.” He did, and it all worked out well.
He was reminded of the Graydon team culture two years later when a persistent back pain was diagnosed as a broken vertebra, forcing him to miss six weeks of work.
“All kinds of people called from the Firm to make sure I was OK. They were more than helpful. They made a point of letting me know that the projects on my desk would be taken care of. And they were. So, yeah, this is a great place to be a lawyer.”
Matt grew up in a steel mill town in the northwest corner of Indiana. His father was a railroad supervisor. He would go into work early so he could have time at the end of the day with his wife and three children. When he was on call on the weekends, he would take the company car to the soccer field and watch the game from the car so he could listen with one ear to the scanner in case he was needed at work.
“He always thought things through, always planned, always knew how to help you out,” Matt says. “I try to bring those qualities to my work. I see myself as a problem-solver. I’m good at identifying what the client’s problem is and getting it handled efficiently, so the client can move on and not have to think about lawyers.
“They’re dealing with issues than can easily be all-consuming when all they want is to tend to their day-to-day business. Clients don’t want to spend all their time with lawyers. If they did, they would’ve been lawyers themselves.”
Like his father, Matt makes a point of setting time aside for Katie and his children, Kevin and Colleen. The family lives in Norwood, and Matt says he can be home in 20 minutes on a bad day. He and his wife, Katie, are fond of packing up the kids and spending the weekend camping at Hocking Hills, Mammoth Cave, Clifty Falls, places they can drive to.
At Graydon, Matt does corporate partnership and individual tax work. He says some of his most interesting work is with non-profit organizations. He’s also on the board of a non-profit called Melanoma Know More, aimed at raising awareness about skin cancer.
“You truly are encouraged here to reach out and be engaged in the community. You hear the stories about the older partners, the boards they were on, the things they got started. It’s very neat to work at a place so ingrained in its city.”
Matt has worked extensively in corporate, pass through entity and state tax counseling various business types and has worked with may closely held and family held businesses. He has assisted these businesses from infancy through rapid growth and dispositions or ownership changes. His areas of focus have included entity formation, governance, restructuring, like kind exchange transactions and sales and use tax analyses. He has also developed an expertise in real property valuation complaints and has appeared in front of multiple boards of revision and the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.
Matt has also developed in depth knowledge working with nonprofit clients. He has worked with public charities, private foundations, donor advised funds, community foundations and social clubs assisting in a broad range of topics. He has formed numerous nonprofit entities, obtained tax exempt status from the IRS, restructured entities, merged nonprofits, counseled on various governance issues, worked on donor agreements and obtained multiple real property tax exemptions. While he has worked with a variety of types of nonprofits, he has built a specialty in working with religious organizations such as churches, church schools and related social service agencies.
Matt’s favorite thing about his practice is the diversity of his clients. “Working with for profit and nonprofit clients helps me appreciate the complexities of their issues and the commitments to their goals.” “It is also exciting learning about the many products and services our clients offer and it is rewarding helping them improve their processes and structures so they can excel at delivering their processes and services.
Matt spends much of his time outside work with his wife Katie and their two children. He has volunteered extensively at his children’s school and has coached baseball, volleyball and soccer.