Keith H. McCown, Esq
Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient
Management Attorney Award, 2021
Keith H. McCown has been a partner with the law firm of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP since 1987, and has been actively involved in the field of labor and employment law since his first professional job with the National Labor Relations Board in 1975. Keith is part of a core of attorneys at Morgan, Brown & Joy with deep experience in traditional labor law, but his practice includes representing employers of all types and sizes, non-union and unionized, private and public sector, involving all manner of employment and labor law issues and litigation.
Keith repeatedly and happily mentions his long friendships with Union attorneys and Union representatives. These relationships are important for finding common ground, even in rancorous situations. He confides that in some instances, as a Management attorney advising key decision-makers, he can be in a position of influence that is superior even to Labor representatives in achieving good results for the employees, not just for the employer.
Keith is the 5th of 6 boys, all born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. Keith spent his entire childhood and young adulthood in Ohio, where he attended Cleveland State before transferring to Oberlin College. Keith feels that much of his life after Oberlin was determined by a series of important “flukes.” During senior year, a friend convinced Keith to take the federal Civil Service Examination just for companionship, and because it was “easy and free.” That exam led to a completely by-chance job offer as an investigator with the NLRB in Cleveland, where Keith worked from 1975-1977.
This series of flukes continued, or maybe it was fate. In deciding about law school, Keith chose the Boston area because it was known as a good city for students, and he opted for B.C. over B.U. because a co-worker told him that the parking was easier. Keith then met his wife, Sandra Einsel, while at B.C. Law. Sandra was a graduate student in the B.C. School of Education. They met completely by chance while running one day near B.C. at Holiday season in 1978. Keith got up the nerve to ask Sandra out when she made a wisecrack about how she could make some “mean Christmas cookies.” That chance encounter has led to 41 years of marriage. Keith and Sandra have two kids: Aaron, who is 32, and Eva, who is 28.
About 15 years ago Sandra casually convinced Keith to join their church choir, and this has become one of their primary interests outside of work. Keith enjoys the community of the choir, and shedding lifelong inhibitions about singing in front of an audience, even an occasional solo. And Sandra and Keith are still making some mean Christmas cookies.
Keith is a frequent lecturer and trainer. He has served as an adjunct law school professor and has designed original workplace training materials about many employment and labor law topics. In his specialty, he is included among “Best Lawyers in America’’ and New England and Massachusetts “Super Lawyers.”
Keith mentions many mentors along the way: Paul Lund at the NLRB in Cleveland, who taught Keith to be an honest, decent, and hardworking public servant; a history professor at Cleveland State who advised Keith to transfer to Oberlin; as well as many people in his professional work who have helped him attain the position he holds today.
We are happy, honored, and proud to give Keith the Labor Guild’s Attorney Award for Management.