In our 68th year of existence, we stand on the shoulders of the lawyers who came before us. Their values, work habits and standards of professionalism suffuse the culture of our firm.
Kavinoky Cook, LLP was founded in 1949 by Edward H. Kavinoky, Roger T. Cook, William H. Hepp and Charles R. Sandler. Edward Kavinoky graduated with a B.A from Harvard in 1923 followed by a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard in 1926. He also received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Canisius College and a Doctor of Laws from D’Youville College. He was admitted to the bar in 1926.
Among his many roles as a leader in Buffalo, Edward Kavinoky served as the President of the Jewish Welfare Society from 1935 to 1941 and then as President of the Jewish Federation from 1946 to 1948. He was Chairman of the Buffalo chapter of the American Red Cross from 1950 to 1953. He was a member of the Buffalo Regional State Commission Against Discrimination in Employment from 1941 to 1968. He was Honorary Chairman of Brotherhood Week in 1951. He was a member of the White House Conference on Aging in 1961, Chairman of the Commission on Human Relations in the City of Buffalo from 1966-1974, and a member of the Board of Studio Arena Theatre, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society (where he was President in 1954), a trustee and chairman of the Buffalo and Erie County Library, a Trustee of the 8th Judicial District Law Library and the first lay Chairman of the Board of Trustees of D’Youville College. In 1960 he received the American Lawyer award from the Council on World Affairs. After his death in 1977, D’Youville established a theatre in his name. The Kavinoky Theatre continues today as one of Buffalo’s central cultural institutions. In his eulogy for Edward, Arnold Gardner described him as having “limitless energy and sense of commitment …… What a tornado he was”
Arnold B. Gardner received his law degree from Harvard in 1953 and his BA from SUNY-Buffalo in 1950 where he graduated first in his class, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He served in the U.S. Army as a judge advocate from 1954 to 1956. He then joined the firm. As a student of Abraham Lincoln and a collector of more than 350 books about Lincoln, Mr. Gardner’s interests also included civil rights. He served as a member of the City of Buffalo School Board from 1969 to 1974 and as its President from 1971 to 1972 during its period of desegregation. Later Mr. Gardner served as a Trustee of the State University of New York for 19 years from 1980 to 1999. He was a member of the New York State Board of Regents for 10 years from 1999 to 2009. In its editorial following Mr. Gardner’s death, The Buffalo News noted that, “Over his 80 years, Gardner collected more awards and accolades for his civic deeds than can be mentioned here …..” We list a few of them below.
Mr. Gardner served as President of the Jewish Family Service and Temple Beth Zion. He was a member of the Board of the American Jewish Committee and the New York Holocaust Memorial Commission. He earned honorary doctorates from D’Youville College in 2009 and SUNY in 2010. He received lifetime achievement awards from the NAACP, the Buffalo Urban League, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, SUNY-Buffalo Law School and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society (the Red Jacket Award). Mr. Gardner retired from practice in 2010.
Of the many gifted lawyers who have practiced at Kavinoky Cook, our firm was most shaped by Edward Kavinoky and Arnold Gardner. By representing the highest standards of professionalism, intellect, client service and community involvement, they both achieved a unique level of recognition among their peers in the practice of law, while assuming significant leadership responsibilities in Buffalo and New York State.
Today, Kavinoky Cook, LLP is a rapidly evolving place, adjusting to a changing business and legal environment. Our firm remains rooted, however, in a tradition of quality, intellect and community involvement. We handle matters that much larger firms handle, but we do it with a level of personal attention and partner involvement that is difficult for large firms to replicate.
Some of our current lawyers knew Edward Kavinoky and almost all of us knew or practiced with Arnold Gardner during his 57 years here. We think of them as larger than life and we work hard to carry on their tradition.