Joe Lehnert focuses his practice in the areas of creditor’s rights and bankruptcy litigation. Joe combines his exceptional litigation skills with holistic business advice to help clients navigate a wide array of business disputes, particularly in times of economic distress, downturn, or interruption. Joe’s clients rely on his ability to develop creative, pragmatic strategies to help KMK clients maximize value, mitigate loss, and find new opportunities.
Joe has represented secured and unsecured creditors, debtors, lenders, investors, purchasers, commercial landlords and tenants, and receivers and other court-appointed fiduciaries in state and federal trial and appellate court proceedings, including collection, eviction, foreclosure, receivership, dissolution, and bankruptcy reorganization and liquidation. Joe also advises clients in commercial loan workouts and out-of-court restructurings, including loan modifications, forbearance agreements, and loan sales. By leveraging the resources of a full service law firm, Joe is able to develop effective solutions and strategies to carry out the business and personal objectives of KMK clients.
Joe also represents several mass tort settlement trusts and qualified settlement funds and regularly advises on trust administration and claims processing matters including legal evaluation of claims, analysis of bankruptcy plan and trust distribution procedures and third-party discovery. Joe has represented mass tort settlement trusts and trustees in both state and federal forums including with respect to claimant litigation and bankruptcy appeals.
Joe is significantly involved in KMK’s diversity and inclusion and community service initiatives. Joe is the Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and a member of Service Committee and planning committee for the Law Student Diversity Case Competition, as well as contributor to the KMK Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter. Joe has also served on the firm’s Women’s Initiative, associate liaison committee, and he regularly participates in the firm’s attorney recruitment efforts and summer associate program.
Represented mass tort settlement trustee in bankruptcy court claims litigation involving several thousand claimants, as well as on related bankruptcy appeals to district court and circuit court of appeals.
Obtained summary judgment on non-dischargeability claim in favor of judgment creditor in bankruptcy court and successfully obtained affirmance of summary judgment before the Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant commercial real estate purchaser in breach of sale contract action by seller including award of return of earnest money deposit.
Represented creditor and debtor’s designated responsible person in Chapter 11 evidentiary hearing on senior secured lender’s motions for relief from stay and to dismiss and successfully obtained denial of the motions.
Represented creditor and plan proponent in obtaining confirmation of individual Chapter 11 plan of liquidation.
Represented residential mortgage lender in Chapter 13 evidentiary hearing on valuation of real estate and successfully obtained determination that lender’s claim was fully secured by real estate.
Represented receivers in Court-approved receivership sales free and clear of all liens.
Represented loan and judgment purchasers in subsequent mortgage foreclosures and foreclosure sales.
Represented secured creditors in negotiation and drafting of forbearance agreements both pre-litigation and post-judgment.
Professional and Community Involvement
Tri-State Education and Technology Foundation (TSETF)—Drake Planetarium, Board of Trustees
Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, 2017 Pathfinder
Turnaround Management Association, Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky Chapter Board of Directors
Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program
Cincinnati Bar Association
Oyler School, A.P. Hampton Mentoring Program
American Bankruptcy Institute
League of United Latin American Citizens
DePaul Cristo Rey High School, Rising Professionals Group
Awards & Recognition
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, 2022-2024
Named to Ohio Rising Stars
Named to Cincy Leading Lawyers, 2020-2021
News & Resources
- Fifty-Six Keating Muething & Klekamp Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2024
- KMK Law Congratulates the Participants of the Fifth Annual Diversity Case Competition for First Year Law Students
- KMK Law Congratulates the Participants of the Third Annual Diversity Case Competition for First Year Law Students
- KMK Law Congratulates the Participants of the Inaugural Diversity Case Competition for First Year Law Students
- January 13 & 14, 2023
- 1.14.2022 & 1.15.2022
- KMK Law Legal Update Webinar,
- Volume 5 | Issue 1
- Volume 4 | Issue 2
- Volume 4 | Issue 1
- Volume 3 | Issue 2
- Volume 3 | Issue 1
- Volume 2 | Issue 2
- The Price of “Free Money”: Potential Enforcement and Compliance Pitfalls for Recipients of CARES Act Funding
- Volume 2 | Issue 1
- U.S. Senate Coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Bill Would Temporarily Increase the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) Chapter 11 Debt Limit to $7,500,000
- Legal Alert: Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential Properties
- KMK Law Complex Litigation Blog, 12.11.20 Updated: 12.30.20
- "You Don't Have to Go Home But You Can't Stay Here": Updates to Ohio and Kentucky’s COVID-19 Orders Impacting Bars & RestaurantsKMK Law Complex Litigation Blog,
- KMK Law Complex Litigation Blog,
- KMK Law Complex Litigation Blog,
- KMK Law Corporate & Securities Blog,
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Signs Executive Order Requesting Relief for Small Business Commercial Tenants and Commercial Real Estate BorrowersKMK Law Real Estate Blog,
- Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential PropertiesKMK Law Real Estate Blog,
- Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential PropertiesKMK Law Complex Litigation Blog,
- Ohio Foreclosure Reform Brings Standardization and Modernization to County Foreclosure Processes and Paves the Way for the Expedited Foreclosure of Vacant and Abandoned Residential PropertiesKMK Law Corporate & Securities Blog,
- Revised Ohio Receivership Statute Brings Clarity for Lenders and Prospective Foreclosure Sale PurchasersKMK Law Real Estate Blog,
- Revised Ohio Receivership Statute Brings Clarity for Lenders and Prospective Foreclosure Sale PurchasersKMK Law Complex Litigation Blog,
- Revised Ohio Receivership Statute Brings Clarity for Lenders and Prospective Foreclosure Sale PurchasersKMK Law Corporate & Securities Blog,
What was your first job?
I started my first job when I was 15 years old at a local McDonald’s, where I worked for almost 2.5 years. I worked every shift and learned every position inside the restaurant—from cleaning the restrooms, mopping floors, and draining the grease traps after working the drive-thru on a busy Friday night; to washing the dishes and kitchen equipment following the weekend morning breakfast rush; to working the grill and sandwich assembly line when buses of traveling youth sports teams would unexpectedly show up. I still contend to be the fastest burger wrapper around. At 17 years old, I would leave the Golden Arches to become a messenger clerk in the mailroom at KMK, where I am a Partner today.
How do you spend quality time with your family?
I enjoy taking my wife, Trisha, and our two kids, Javi and Jackie, on spontaneous adventures around town. We load up in the Jeep and make our way to any random part of greater Cincinnati for a fun activity or event—and oftentimes food is involved. Our go-to family food destinations include The Filson at the Banks, Sugar N’ Spice in Over-the-Rhine, Element Eatery food hall in Madisonville, the Harrison Avenue Wild Mike’s, Goodfellas Pizzeria in Pleasant Ridge, and of course our neighborhood Norwood Skyline. Trish’s and my favorite restaurant in town is Ripple Wine Bar in Covington, and we often spend “date night” at a Xavier basketball game or FC Cincinnati match.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
I have ridden on a camel, a donkey, an elephant, and even on the fin of a dolphin—but I have never ridden a horse.
- Commercial & Securities Litigation
- Creditors' Rights Litigation
- Commercial Finance & Reorganization
- Workouts & Restructuring
- Construction Litigation
- Administration of Settlement Trusts & Qualified Settlement Funds
- Mass Tort Bankruptcy
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team
- Distressed Assets Task Force
- Sports & Entertainment
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law, 2012
B.A., Xavier University, 2009, magna cum laude, in the Philosophy, Politics and Public Honors Program