The Rensselaer County Bar Association proudly recognizes its members who have been admitted to the New York State Bar for 50 years at its Annual Meeting and Dinner.
Hon. Raymond J. Elliott, III
Michael W. Kessler, Esq.
Mike Kessler is counsel to the Albany and Troy, New York law firm of E. Stewart Jones, Hacker, Murphy, LLP.
Mr. Kessler was a member of the Law Review and graduated from Albany Law School. He is one of only five attorneys in New York State, and approximately 150 in the United States who is Board Certified in Medical Malpractice Law by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. For many years Mike has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® and New York Superlawyers, including being selected in 2018 as “Upstate New York Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year.” He has also been listed as one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America” by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
Mr. Kessler, who limits his practice to representing individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries, has recovered in excess of $2 million in more than 30 cases, 19 in which the recovery was over $5 million, in 12 of which the amount was greater than $8.5 million, and five where his clients received more than $14 million.
In Auer v. State of New York, (289 AD2d 626 (2001) Mike won a $19.1 million verdict which The New York Law Journal reported was “at least $7 million” larger than any verdict ever rendered in the Court of Claims. On appeal, not only did the Appellate Division uphold the verdict, but it increased that judgment to $19.85 million. Auer was by far the largest personal injury judgment ever upheld by the Third Judicial Department, to that time, one of the largest ever upheld in New York, and one of the very few cases of this magnitude where a Court increased the amount of damages on appeal.
The Albany Times Union described Holt v. AMCH as “the largest award…in a medical malpractice suit in [Albany] county’s history…” The New York Law Journal called Cole v. State of New York “the largest malpractice judgment ever awarded against the State in the Court of Claims.” Mr. Kessler tried a medical case in Pennsylvania for a month before it was settled for an amount reported to be the largest malpractice settlement ever paid in that state to that time.
Mike has been an invited to lecture to legal, judicial and medical audiences in 13 different states, three foreign countries, and five international cities. He has given Grand Rounds for the Department Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albany Medical Center Hospital, He has been invited to lecture at the Albany Law School, the American Association for Justice (AAJ), North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS),New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYTSLA), New York Academy of Trial Lawyers, Brain Injury Association (BIA), Brain Injury Society of New York State (BIANYS) and a number of state and local trial lawyer associations.
Mr. Kessler has also appeared nationally as a guest commentator on personal injury law on Court TV, and his articles have been published, among other places in Trial Magazine, Trial Lawyers Quarterly and most recently in Forum, the publication of the Consumer Attorneys of California. He is a recognized authority and consults regularly on Article 50-A and 50-B of the New York CPLR. His early monograph on this subject correctly predicted the eventual Court of Appeals decisions on the effect of inflation on plaintiff’s recoveries. His post graduate article on the use of scientific literature at trial, “Appropriate Use of Scientific Literature at Trial in New York and Other Jurisdictions: Is ‘Authoritative’ a Magic Word?” was published in the Albany Law Review. Another article on Frye hearings has recently been accepted for publication the Syracuse Law Review.
Mike has made presentations on the life expectancy of catastrophically injured children both at NYU and at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He has spoken on the life expectancy in catastrophic injury cases all over the United States, as well as before the Australian Lawyers Alliance, the Queensland, Australia Law Society, The Pan European Organization of European Lawyers (PEOPLE) Joint Conference, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, BIA, AAJ, NABIS, and BIANYS, the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Birth Trauma Litigation Group and Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Groups of AAJ, as well as to numerous state and local trial lawyers associations. His chapter on this subject appears in the textbook “Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management.”
Mr. Kessler also has presented to a national conference of emergency medicine physicians and was the primary author of the first comprehensive law review analysis of the New York State Medical Indemnity Fund, “The New York State Medical Indemnity Fund: Rewarding Tortfeasors Who Cause Birth Injuries, by Rationing Care to Their Victims,” published in the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology. As a result of this work, in 2020 he was asked to testify before the Maryland Legislature which was considering a similar Fund.
Mike is also a recognized authority on structured settlements, and has been invited to speak on this topic to the New York State Office of Court Administration and the Association of Supreme Court Justices of New York State. His book, Protecting the Catastrophically Injured Personal Injury Plaintiff’s Recovery: The Benefits and Risks of Structured Settlements and Their Alternatives in a Changing Economy, was published by the New York State Bar Association.
Mr. Kessler is admitted to practice in New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a Diplomate of the National College of Advocacy. He is a member of AAJ and served as Chairman of their Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group as well as on the Executive Board of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group. He is a Charter Member of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and served on its Board of Directors. He was previously elected to the House of Delegates of NYBSA and was a Director of the Capital Region Affiliate of NYTSLA. He is a member of BIA, NABIS, and served on the Board of Directors of BIANYS.
Mike is also a proud member of the Association of Surfing Lawyers.
Michael W. Kessler
Mark R. Sonders, Esq.
After graduating from Albany Law School in 1973, I began my legal career as local counsel for the Legal Aid Society in Troy where I remained until 1977. Following a few brief stops at various firms in an effort to develop my trial skills, I was fortunate to be hired by Frank Holloway and Steve Kiernan in 1980 at what was to become Bouck, Holloway, Kiernan & Casey. I remained there, eventually becoming a managing partner with John Casey and Tom O’Connor, until the firm merged with Hiscock Barclay (now Barclay Damon) in 2004.
Following more than 35 years as a civil trial lawyer, I retired from active practice at the end of 2007. After a failed attempt at retirement, I was again fortunate and became associated with Jim Hacker and Dave Murphy at the end of 2009, when I began my new career as a mediator and arbitrator. When Hacker Murphy merged with Stewart Jones to become E. Stewart Jones, Hacker Murphy, I followed Jim and Dave to E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy where I have continued to enjoy serving the bar as a mediator and arbitrator.
Robert S. Stockton Esq.
John Darling, Esq.
John Darling knew from an early age that he wanted to be an attorney. He told his teacher at Grafton School #5 when he attended one of the last one room school houses in Rensselaer County. He attended local schools- Tamarac High School, HVCC and SUNY Oneonta (where he met his wife, Julie) and graduated from Albany Law School. His law school experience was interrupted by 5 months active duty in the United States Army in his second semester of his second year. He had won the draft lottery in the Vietnam era – Sept 14. He returned to finish receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1971.
He served in the Army National Guard for the next 6 years as a Communications Chief – 1st Battalion 210th Armor. During this same time John worked for the Honorable John J. Sweeney, his first mentor, who shared his knowledge of title searching and real estate matters. Other mentors were Charlie Cohen, renowned title searcher, who was highly regarded by his peers in real estate matters and who was always available to share his expertise with all, and Clarence Simmons for his wisdom in Estate Administration. While John maintained a general practice, he was most interested in estate planning, administration and estate litigation.
Throughout his 50 years of practice John has always been flexible and available for his clients and his philosophy has always been to help others in need whatever the ability to pay. Payment has been brownies, chicken for the freezer and firewood. His kitchen table or front porch would become his office to accommodate odd work schedules, or farm chores, or fear of driving to Troy. He still makes house calls!
For over 20 years John was the Director of the Rensselaer County Bar Referral Service from his office in Troy. He served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Troy, Deputy Counsel to the Majority in the Rensselaer County Legislature, and worked in the New York State Worker’s Compensation Inspector General’s Office. He is the past President of the Rensselaer County Supervisor’s Association and served as Supervisor of the Town of Grafton for 12 years.
John is currently a Trustee on the Board of the Grafton Community Library, and continues to practice in the areas of Estate Planning and Real Estate. He enjoys life in the country with Julie, his 4 children and 10 grandchildren.
Robert Redmond, Esq.
Robert W. Redmond is a current resident of Ballston Lake, New York. He is the son of the late Roseleen, nee Sauer, Redmond, and Robert T. Redmond, a Lieutenant in the Army Air Force killed in World War II, and the stepson of the late George F. Ralph. He is the father of Ryan and Jocelyn.
After graduating from Holland Patent Central School in central New York in 1962, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Ithaca College in 1966, followed by a Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School in 1971. Robert was subsequently admitted to practice in New York and in Federal Court for the Northern District of New York in January, 1972, followed by later admissions to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court with jurisdiction in the states of New York, Vermont and Connecticut, and before the Supreme Court of the United States.
In a lengthy career that encompassed both the private practice of law and government service, he held various appointed and competitive positions in the administrations of Governors Nelson Rockefeller through George Pataki, working as staff attorney for a legislative commission and in the Departments of Civil Service, Motor Vehicles and Labor, from which he retired as a Senior Attorney in September, 2001. In private practice, he was a member of both the Rensselaer County and the Saratoga County bar associations. As a general practitioner, he represented clients in all courts of record in New York, including local town and village justice court, city, county, family, surrogate and supreme court, and in federal court, up to and including the Supreme Court of the United States in which he successfully defended a landmark civil rights decision that he won before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
In the political arena, Robert served as Town Democratic Chairman in the Republican stronghold of Clifton Park in the mid-1970’s and twice ran unsuccessfully for the position of Town Justice before winning election as Town Councilman in 1979, the first Democratic member of the Town Board in anybody’s memory. He also devoted his time and attention to various civic activities, including service on the boards of directors of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Area Chapter of the Jaycees and the Community Action Program for Teens and Interested Neighbors (CAPTAIN). He was designated Jaycee of the Year by the local chapter in 1977. At the NYS Department of Labor, he was instrumental in, and received recognition for, the creation of the Wee Care at Labor, Inc. daycare center and subsequently served as a member of its board of directors.
Outside interests included membership in the Out of Control Ski Club, the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club and the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, from which he received the Most Improved Runner award in 1993. For many years, he served as a coordinator, and later as a director, of the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany.
At the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas on November 14, 2004, he married his soul mate, Roberta Louise Blood, whom he met in the ski club, and commenced upon a life of caring and sharing that included all aspects of a journey well traveled. Together, they enjoy the variety of experiences afforded by trips to destinations in North America and abroad, as well as cultural opportunities closer to home like local theatrical productions and the Saratoga flat track.
Charles Wilcox, Esq.
Charles Wilcox is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and Albany Law School. He is a United States Veteran – honorably discharged as Captain.
Upon his discharge from the Army, he started a private practice in Albany, New York, before shortly joining the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office as a part-time Assistant District Attorney under then District Attorney Con Cholakis. Within his first year in the District Attorney’s Office, he was appointed a full-time Assistant District Attorney, thereafter serving as Chief Assistant District Attorney under District Attorney Pierce Russell. Chuck was elected Rensselaer County District Attorney after District Attorney Russell’s retirement and served two terms as District Attorney, after which he entered private practice with his brother, Bob Wilcox (also a RCBA member) and his father Roy Wilcox – an honorary partner. Chuck and his brother practiced together as The Wilcox Firm for over 24 years in a general practice with a focus on criminal and civil litigation in state and federal courts throughout the region and beyond.
Chuck also served a stint as a part-time Assistant Public Defender with Public Defenders Jerry Frost and John Turi, and as a court appointed Law Guardian, Guardian Ad Litem, and Referee appointed by several area judges.
Chuck retired to spend his winters in South Carolina after practicing law for over 43 years, 14 in the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office and 29 in private practice. He returns to his home in Averill Park on Glass Lake every Spring to enjoy the cooler weather from Spring to Fall.
Peter R. Kehoe Esq.
A graduate of LeMoyne College and Albany Law School. Peter’s career covers a remarkable amount of public service, starting as an Assistant Attorney General under NY AG Louis Lefkowitz. He later become First Assistant District Attorney under Rensselaer County DA Con Cholakis, and the served as Acting Rensselaer County District Attorney and Rensselaer County Public Defender. He was Town Attorney for the Town of Grafton; Corporation Counsel for the City of Troy; Chairman of the Troy Planning Commission and Chairman for the Troy Charter Revision Commission. He was a Law Clerk to Troy City Court Judges Henry Bauer, Matthew Turner and Christopher Maier. He was Counsel for the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency. Mr. Kehoe was a partner in the law firm of McGovern, Kehoe, and Mitchell for 25 years, and was Adjunct Faculty in the Business Law at Siena College for 30 years. Currently, Mr. Kehoe is special counsel to the Rensselaer County Attorney’s Office and the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency. From 1974 to date, Mr. Kehoe has been the Executive Director and Counsel at the New York State Sheriffs’ Association.
Thomas V. Kenney Esq. Jr.
Tom attended Troy public schools, including Troy High School, and went on to the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. He attended two years at Albany Law School, which was interrupted by his 6 year term of service with the Army National Guard. He was able to finish his third year of study in 1969. He started his career at an accounting firm in the tax department, then moved to Counsel’s Office at the Department of Civil Service. He and Tom O’Connor then started a general practice partnership. After that, he worked at Martin Shudt for a little over a year. In 1979, he started in private practice on Second Street in Troy, where he stayed until he closed his office in February 2020. While in private practice, he also served as Deputy Corp Counsel for the City of Troy, Town Attorney for the Town of Hoosick Falls, and assisted the towns of Brunswick and Pittstown with zoning and planning. The NYS Bar Association and this Bar Association have recognized Tom for his pro bono service. He also served as president of this Bar Association.