Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Jeffrey P. Gleason
July 1, 2023
Jeffrey Gleason is that rare Buffalonian who has never snapped on a pair of downhill skis. Maybe it’s because the family moved around a lot, in and out of Buffalo, while Gleason’s father climbed the management ladder at National Grid and the utility company shuttled him between markets.
But Jeff always considered Buffalo home – nomadic childhood and winter sports blind spot notwithstanding. He returned to study at the University of Buffalo Law School after four years as an undergrad at the University of South Carolina. And he felt the pull again after working for a large Boston law firm for a few years out of law school. His most recent – and lasting – homecoming came in 2011.
“This is my fourth stint in Buffalo – and the longest one,” Jeff says.
He worked for two Buffalo law firms over the next seven years, before going in-house at a company that provides concessions to stadiums, ballparks, arenas, national and state parks, casinos and more. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit that business—whose bread and butter was catering to crowds in enclosed spaces—particularly hard, and Jeff decided to make another change. He joined Bond’s business and transactions practice in Buffalo in December 2020.
A legal career was never a foregone conclusion for Jeff, whose childhood dreams included becoming a plastic surgeon – a plan inspired in part by a fascination with Michael Jackson that made sense at the time. Later, after he saw the movie, “Jerry Maguire,” Jeff entertained the idea of being a sports agent. In fact, that’s what first gave him the idea for law school (most sports agents are lawyers). But after he had the chance to talk to a real sports agent and heard the war stories, he pivoted.
“I went into law school knowing I wanted a transactional practice,” he says. “Never in my life did I want to step foot in a courtroom. That never appealed to me.”
The way he saw it, transactional or business law – unlike litigation or criminal law – operates in a less-adversarial space where both sides can win.
“I enjoy being inventive and creative to try to find a solution that makes everybody happy at the end of the day,” Jeff says.
He works with a wide variety of businesses, including consumer products manufacturing, high-tech software development, life and biosciences, financial services and the online and casino gaming industry.
“I help businesses when they encounter decisions about what comes next,” he explains.
Many of these aren’t even yet businesses in the traditional sense, but rather just a person or group with an idea needing help formalizing their relationships and creating a company. Some might need guidance about raising capital for business growth. Others might be nearing retirement and need a succession plan for their company. Still others might be weighing the pros and cons of a merger, the acquisition of another business or an offer to sell their business to another.
“From the very beginning of our relationship with Jeff it was clear that he understood our company and marketplace, which was huge for us, given that we operate in a very niche business that requires specific expertise,” says Joseph Perschy, president of Propeller, Inc. “Not only does Jeff provide excellent advice and counsel on matters at hand, but he is constantly thinking strategically about what is best for the company. Whenever I leave something with him, I can safely move on to the next issue knowing that we are in good hands.”
When he’s not working, Jeff joins his wife, Nancy, in trying to keep up with their three small children, ages 2, 5 and 7.
“We are in the thick of it and just trying to keep our heads above water,” he says, with a laugh.
As often as he can, Jeff enjoys sports – he’s a Bills season ticketholder and diehard Sabres and Celtics fan – and another burgeoning hobby: baking.
“I’ve loved to cook ever since I worked in a restaurant in college,” he says. “It’s one of my main hobbies. Since I don’t ski and all that stuff, when I’m stuck inside all winter—what else is there to do? But I had never baked a thing. It had no appeal for me. I don’t like to measure anything. I just go by feel and taste and smell.”
Then came COVID, when loaves of homemade bread were suddenly rising in kitchens around the world.
“I thought, ‘Everybody’s baking, why don’t I try this out, too?’ So now I’m a hobby cook and baker.”