Hugh Keating worked his way through law school as a right of way appraiser and title abstractor for the Mississippi State Highway Department. A 1974 graduate of the University of South Alabama and 1979 graduate of Mississippi College School of Law, he continued his education with a graduate fellowship leading to a master’s degree in Real Estate and Urban Development Planning from The American University in Washington, D.C., in 1981. After passing the Mississippi Bar Examination, he was promoted to Chief Title Abstractor for the entire State. From 1981-82, Hugh assisted local counsel as the second chair and participated in eminent domain trials across the State. In June 1982, he moved back to the coast to enter private practice. He now serves as a director and shareholder of his law firm, Dukes Dukes Keating Faneca P.A. in Gulfport.
Hugh describes DDKF as having “diverse areas of practice, a diverse client base and respected litigation and transactional attorneys who are committed to excellence and service to their communities.” He handles both residential and commercial transactions as well as litigation related to real property and commercial law, municipal law, contract law, hospitality law, corporate law, creditors’ rights, and HOA representation. Speaking of lessons he has learned in his many years of practice, Hugh says, “There is no substitute for preparation, honesty and civility in the practice of law. . . . Clear and timely communication with the client and the court is essential to growing and maintaining a successful practice. Do not be afraid to blaze new trails. Do not be afraid to tell a client something the client doesn’t want to hear. . . . Know your strengths and weaknesses.”
Hugh has been instrumental in helping to grow the economy and tourism on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, successfully working with clients to obtain legalization of gaming and development of gaming industry properties. As chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Trust Tidelands and as lead counsel in landmark title dispute decisions by the Mississippi Supreme Court, he has worked to protect the public’s rights of use and ownership to Public Trust properties, including the sand beaches in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson County. He represented the City of Gulfport as co-lead counsel in the largest annexation case in Mississippi history. From his long record of leadership, awards, and accomplishments, Hugh considers his tenure as President of the Mississippi Bar Association from 2011-2012 to be one of his greatest honors.
Hugh’s advice to young attorneys includes maintaining a “healthy balance between family, faith, and profession.” He credits his wife, Donna, as his “guardian angel who rescued me from the wilderness.” They have three children and five grandchildren – Erin Whitaker and husband, Jeff, parents of Isabelle (13), Curran (9) and Hughes (7); Dennis Keating and wife, Janin, parents of Tripp (2); and Daniel Keating and wife, Kayleigh, parents of Daisy Jane (10 months). In his free time, Hugh enjoys hiking, walking the beach and bridges across the bays, boating, and being involved with family activities. He coached baseball and softball for 25 years with two teams winning State Championships. An adventurer at heart, Hugh has climbed Long’s Peak (14,256 feet) in Rocky Mountain National Park 4 times, hiked Rocky Top in Tennessee and camped on its summit in -10 degree weather, landed on the glacier at the base camp for climbers of Denali in a 6 passenger plane with skis, cruised the inland passage in Alaska, and walked the Holy Lands in Israel.
Learn more about Hugh Keating by visiting his member profile.