Each year, Midwest Real Estate News elects a new class to its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Here’s a look at one of our new inductees, J. Kieran Jennings, managing partner with property tax law firm Siegel Jennings in Cleveland.
J. Kieran Jennings, managing partner with Cleveland law firm Siegel Jennings, has built a long career on helping his clients reduce their property taxes. He’s helped them, too, navigate the often-complex world of state and local tax litigation.
And this work? It’s made a positive difference in the bottom-line profits of Jennings’ clients.
“Other than debt service, property taxes are typically the largest annual expenses that investors face,” Jennings said. “We help to minimize those expenses, so investors only pay their fair share. As an attorney, I enjoy the challenge of solving problems for people. We are typically involved from due diligence, upon acquisition, during ownership and through disposition.”
During his career of nearly three decades, Jennings has successfully tried cases before administrative boards, tribunals, courts and appellate courts. This includes appearing before the Ohio Supreme Court.
Jennings also has experience in managing real property tax appeals throughout the United States and Canada and assists clients in due diligence property acquisitions, tax planning and structured agreements between taxpayers and taxing jurisdictions.
Part of the reason for the success that both Jennings and his firm have enjoyed? It’s about looking at the big picture.
“My greatest challenge has been managing the pace of our growth,” Jennings said. “We are selective about who we work with. Our clients meet certain criteria. They need to have a long-term view on relationships and results. We are not about getting short-term results. We fight for our clients and advocate for fair tax policies for all taxpayers.”
Jennings also works on bettering himself and serving his profession.
He is the vice president and a member of the executive board of the American Property Tax Counsel, a national organization of which Siegel Jennings is a founding member. Jennings also sits on the board of directors for the Northern Ohio Chapter of NAIOP.
Because of his experience and industry knowledge, Jennings regularly conducts seminars and workshops on numerous property tax issues for industry groups like the National Retail Round Table, The Ohio Society of CPAs, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, International Association of Assessing Officers, National Business Institute and Lorman Education Service.
In 2016, Kieran was awarded the CRE (Counselor of Real Estate) credential by The Counselors of Real Estate, an international group of high-profile real estate practitioners. This is a significant achievement: Of the more than 150,000 practitioners in commercial real estate today, fewer than 1,100 currently hold the CRE credential. Jennings currently serves as the chairman of the Central and Northern Ohio Chapter of The Counselors of Real Estate.
“I have been successful because our team is made up of diverse yet like-minded people,” Jennings said. “We are relentless problem-solvers who enjoy helping others. When assisting a client, no job is too small for our team. When a client has a need, we solve the problem. It is a way of living to serve others, and it is a mindset that has made us successful.”
When he’s not working for his clients, Jennings enjoys spending time with his family and dogs. But he does admit that the real estate bug never leaves him, even when he’s supposed to be relaxing.
“I cannot seem to stop looking at property,” Jennings said. “Even when I am just driving down the street, I might be thinking about adaptive reuse for a troubled property that I am passing.”