John Keefe has more than forty years’ experience helping clients solve complex disputes through litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation. He is known as a problem solver — someone who can wade into a messy conflict and help clean it up.
John is widely recognized as one of Canada’s foremost experts in commercial arbitrations. A trailblazer in the development of arbitration and mediation legislation in Ontario, John is a community leader and a longtime member of arbitration panels for leading institutions, including the Canadian Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce and ICDR.
Parties choosing arbitration want it to be efficient, proportionate and fair. What they don’t want is a mini-trial or an arbitrator who will just split it down the middle.
One size does not fit all.
With John as arbitrator, the process is designed to respond to the specifics of the dispute. He will use creative methods to streamline the process without compromising its integrity. Parties receive a fair hearing. They win if they should win and understand why if they lose.
John goes beyond traditional mediation processes to find better ways to successfully resolve complex disputes. He understands that disputes are about more than just money. They are about people who believe that they have been wronged. People who want and need to be understood.
Mediations should be designed to fit the dispute. For example, in complex cases John will meet in advance with counsel and the parties — to understand the facts and to ensure that the mediation is effective and efficient.
Managing conflicts is not the core specialty of most business leaders. It can distract leaders — and those in their organizations — from more productive business functions.
Known for his practical and strategic advice, John has been assisting public and private organizations to “clean up messes” for more than 40 years.
John is a trusted strategic advisor to CEOs, boards and audit committees of public and private companies, sought out in times of crisis and high-profile mandates. He also advises prominent international organizations, as well as government agencies, on their most sensitive and highly confidential disputes. He has conducted internal investigations involving corporate misconduct, ethics breaches, securities fraud, regulatory investigations, employee theft, bribery of public officials and sexual harassment.
Over the course of a distinguished career, John has acted as counsel and arbitrator for a wide range of private and public companies in Canada, the U.S. and internationally, as well as for and against government agencies and international organizations.
Domestic and international arbitrations have always been a significant focus of John’s commercial litigation practice. A partner at Goodmans LLP for more than 30 years, John acted as counsel and arbitrator in numerous domestic and international arbitrations, including those that fall under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the American Arbitration Association, UNCITRAL Model Law, the Zurich Chamber of Commerce, and the Ontario and British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Acts.
A leader in the Canadian arbitration community, John is a longtime member of several arbitration panels, including the Canadian Committee of the ICC and ICDR. He is also the past director of the Advocates’ Society. Early in his career, John attended Harvard Law School’s well-known Negotiation Workshop. In 1996, as chair of the Advocates’ Society’s Arbitration and Mediation Committee, John served as a member of Ontario’s Bench and Bar steering committee that introduced mandatory mediation for all civil actions in Ontario. He was also instrumental in introducing the Harvard Mediation Workshop to Ontario’s legal community.
John is regularly recognized by legal publications as a leading practitioner in corporate commercial litigation and international commercial arbitration. He is ranked in Best Lawyers in Canada; the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory; the Lexpert/American Lawyer Media Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada; the Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada; Chambers Canada and Chambers Global; Euromoney’s Guides to the World’s Leading Litigation Lawyers and Experts in Commercial Arbitration; and in Who’s Who Legal: Canada.
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