Mike Allred is the attorney and one of the closest friends of Jeremiah O’Keefe in Amazon Prime Video’s legal drama film ‘The Burial.’ When O’Keefe deals with financial troubles, it is Allred who introduces him to Raymond “Ray” Loewen of the Loewen Group, who decides not to move forward with buying O’Keefe’s funeral homes after the latter signs his end of the contract. Allred then reluctantly teams up with Willie E. Gary to fight the Loewen Group in court, seeking damages. Intrigued by the character, we have found out whether he is based on a real lawyer and where he is now. Well, here’s what we can share about him!
The Prejudiced Lawyer
Michael “Mike” Allred is based on a real lawyer. Allred was an “intelligent” and “industrious” lawyer who knew the nuances of Jeremiah O’Keefe’s case as the lead attorney in the initial stages. As the film reveals, his grandfather was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and he grew up on a farm in one of the most racist regions in the state of Mississippi. “He’d even been known to state, in his manner of blunt candor, that he harbored racist attitudes,” wrote Jonathan Harr in his The New Yorker article, which serves as the source text of the film, about Allred. Due to the same reason, Hal Dockins, another lawyer hired by O’Keefe, feared Allred’s credibility as far as the predominantly Black jury was concerned.
James E. Graves, Jr., the presiding judge in the case and a Black man, seemingly wasn’t a fan of Allred either. “When Allred stood before the bench to address him in pretrial proceedings, the Judge’s brow would knit, his eyes would narrow, and his comments would grow more caustic the longer Allred talked,” reads Harr’s article. Dockins realized that his client O’Keefe needed a Black man fighting for him, which made him guide the funeral home owner to Willie E. Gary. When Allred had to team up with Willie, he was honest about himself.
“There’s something you should know about me, Willie. I am prejudiced. But I’m trying to work on it. It’s sort of like when an alcoholic goes to Alcoholics Anonymous,” Allred told Willie, as per the source text. Allred initially calculated O’Keefe’s financial damages to around $16 million, only for Willie to demand $125 million from the Loewen Group, which set the stage for the trial. Although it was Willie who won the case for O’Keefe, Allred always remained beside his friend, even after the jury’s verdict that directed the Loewen Group to pay $500 million to the local funeral home owner. When O’Keefe and Willie started negotiating a settlement with the Loewen Group, the former had Allred with him. He was also significantly involved in the negotiations.
Mike Allred: What Happened to Him?
Ever since the verdict in O’Keefe’s case, Allred has stayed away from the spotlight. Despite celebrating the success of the verdict together, Allred fought a legal battle against Hal Dockins over the proper allocation of fees between two attorneys for their services in the O’Keefe case. Allred had been running The Allred Law Firm in the city of Ridgeland in Mississippi. However, as per reports, the firm is currently inactive. At the age of 78, Allred reportedly lives in the city of Crystal Springs, Mississippi. It is unknown whether he is currently practicing law in any capacity.