Keith M. Carwell
More than 20 years ago, Keith Carwell’s daughter was interviewed for a newspaper story. She was asked, “What does your dad do for a living?” His daughter Mary, then in the fourth grade, said, “My Daddy helps people.”
“That about sums it up,” Keith says. “People come here with very real problems and no idea how they’re going to solve these problems, and we help them. That’s what I enjoy about practicing law. We are in the solutions business.”
Keith’s work primarily involves corporate, real estate, zoning, and financing matters. His legal work was largely responsible for helping create the modern hospital campus for the Bowling Green-Warren County Community Hospital Corporation as well as establishing the new corporation which would ultimately own and operate it. Keith started the legal work by combining many parcels of land into one property owned by a single entity, a newly formed non-profit corporation and a holding company that owned the building and another health care-related facility. The property also had to be rezoned. As the hospital has grown, Keith has remained the main attorney who handles all real estate, zoning and financing matters as the corporation acquires more property and continues to expand. This has included assisting with the initial bond issue for construction in excess of $24 million in 1977 up to a recent bond issue in excess of $77 million in 2008 which financed a major addition. Today, the hospital corporation is one of the city’s largest employers and a significant boost to the quality of life in the entire community.
Working with businesses from the ground up has become an area of particular interest for Keith. Besides the hospital organization, he represents corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies on choice of entity, formation and operational issues as well as preparation of agreements among shareholders or other owners. He has assisted both sellers and buyers in the negotiation and acquisition of retail, manufacturing and service businesses.
Keith also handles foreclosures, bankruptcies and workouts of individual and commercial debtors on behalf of financial institutions and other creditors. He serves as a mediator and as an arbitrator in matters relating to his areas of practice.
Keith is one of the few attorneys in Western Kentucky who has experience with industrial revenue bonds. He served as local counsel to several Japanese firms when they first located in the Bowling Green area, performing the title work and assisting bond counsel in his role as local or general counsel with the bond work necessary to finance the projects. “Those companies have brought many jobs to the community,” Keith says. “I’m happy that our firm could play a role in assisting them in locating here.”
Serving as a corporate and real estate attorney is a drastic change from Keith’s initial direction. He intended to remain in Washington, D.C. after law school but his then fiancé, now wife of 35 years, convinced him that they would enjoy the quality of life offered in Bowling Green. He joined a new firm, ELPO, which was then comprised of four attorneys in Bowling Green, his home town. He has enjoyed helping ELPO grow to one of the largest and most respected firms in Western Kentucky and the daily challenges of a broad and widely varied practice experience. “There is no compartmentalization in our firm,” Keith says. “We work together and help each other answer questions and work through issues with our clients. We socialize together. I have friends in big firms who have never met the other partners face-to-face. I never regret for a minute coming home to Bowling Green.”