Financial wizard: Lawyer sports strong business background

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Howard & Howard attorney Jeff Hoover enjoys helping entrepreneurs reach and protect their dreams.

“When you help entrepreneurs sell their company, you’re helping them through a truly life-changing event,” says Hoover, who specializes in business and corporate law, mergers & acquisitions. “At times, deals get very stressful on entrepreneurs and my job is to take as much of that stress as I can off their shoulders. Then, when you sit at the closing table and get to see their joy when the deal is done and you have helped them secure their financial future, it’s really a great feeling.”

Hoover has handled a couple of memorable deals in the past two years. In November 2013, he was involved in the sale of a large automotive supplier that generated revenue of several hundred million dollars per year.

“This was a third-generation business and was truly run by an entire family,” he says. “The most rewarding part of the transaction was that it allowed the existing owners/operators to retire while protecting the next several generations.”

In another deal earlier that same year, Hoover and his colleagues completed the sale of the aerospace division of MAG, a multi-national machine tools builder. The culmination of two years worth of work, the transaction involved spinning-off both the automotive and developing technologies businesses of MAG and selling the aerospace division, and included subsidiaries in approximately 15 different countries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

These deals are the kind of exciting legal work Hoover could only dream of when he graduated high school, convinced a law career would eventually be in his stars.

Aiming for a marketable undergrad degree, he followed in the footsteps of an older sister who is a CPA, and earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University.

After graduation, he took a job at a bank. Quickly deciding the retail side of banking was not his long-term goal, he returned to EMU for an MBA focused in finance, with the aim of working in the corporate finance side of banking. Courses in business law and mergers and acquisitions rekindled his desire to go to law school and to specialize in this niche.

Working full time and not quite ready to quit his job, Hoover drove from his home in Howell to the Grand Rapids campus of Cooley Law School for weekend classes. After his first semester, he took the plunge and started full time at the Lansing campus. In his final year, Cooley got approval to provide a full-set of classes in Auburn Hills, and Hoover took as many classes as possible at that location. On the dean’s list all three years of law school, and earning several advocacy and writing awards in both intra-school and national moot court competitions, Hoover earned his juris doctor, magna cum laude, in 2007.

Named among Michigan Rising Stars and DBusiness Top Lawyers, Hoover is one of many attorneys at Royal Oak-based Howard & Howard with a strong business background.

“My financial degrees have helped me on almost every deal I’ve worked on, and are very important in helping me understand the best structure of a deal based on the financing and economic aspects of the deal,” he explains.

“They also allow me to sit down with clients and thoroughly understand and discuss all aspects of their business, strategic plans, financial performance, and ultimately their goals as business owners. It gives me a bit of an edge with new clients and allows me to provide a little bit better service to existing clients.”

A native of Howell, Hoover now lives in West Bloomfield, where he enjoys family life with Libby, his wife of 9 years, and daughters Oliviah, 4, and 18-month-old Jameson. A football and baseball fan, he also enjoys sailing his 30-foot sailboat on Lake St. Clair.

Last June, Hoover – whose mother died of a traumatic brain injury in 1990 after being struck and killed by a drunk driver – was elected to the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI) board, an organization providing much needed support services to victims of brain injuries and their families.

“All of the organizations I’m involved with carry special meaning for me,” says Hoover, who also serves on the board of directors of Winning Futures, that provides mentoring to highly at-risk high school students, and on the President’s Leadership Council for the Detroit Cristo Rey High School.

“With Winning Futures, our mentors truly change the lives of thousands of students and help them realize what they can ultimately achieve in life,” he notes. “And Detroit Cristo Rey sends 100 percent of its graduating class to college virtually every year.  These are kids from the inner city of Detroit, who come from disadvantaged homes, and face daily struggles I can never imagine.

“My father was my mentor and guiding light when I was in high school, college, and after – I don’t know where I would have been without him. Most of these kids don’t have father figures or mentors. My father died of cancer a year and a half ago and that drove the mission home for me even more.”

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