Get to Know MCCM Partner - Kevin S. Cooman
Did you ever wonder what made us decide to become lawyers? Maybe you wondered what we do when we’re not practicing law? Welcome to the latest post from our new “Get to Know Us” series, featuring different members of our MCCM team, where we answer those questions. Our next post features Partner Kevin S. Cooman
Why did you become a lawyer?
Using a favorite baseball game analogy, I joke with my colleagues that I am in the “9th inning” of my legal career, with the big question being whether I will play “extra innings” or not. After 44 years of law practice—42 of them at MCCM—I now reflect on how and why I wound up in this vocation.
As a kid, I loved to play board games, perhaps too competitively at times, as my younger sister would attest! But perfect training for the practice of law: a set of rules to follow (I was a stickler for them) and a clear goal: to “win.” By the time the guidance counselor in 7th grade asked me what I wanted to become, I replied: “a trial lawyer.”
But most importantly, the practice of law for me has been a vocation—that is, a spiritual calling to my life’s work. The Old Testament prophet Micah wrote: “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” It was with this admonition that I prepared for this career, which has allowed me to:
- Do Justice: righting some wrongs and helping clients at difficult times in their personal and business lives.
- Love Kindness: a way to treat not only clients and staff with kindness, but also legal adversaries and opposing parties with respect and civility.
- Walk Humbly: lawyers can be the epitome of ego and hubris. I have tried a different path, being open to what I don’t know, don’t understand, or need to learn about a case and its participants. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. In humility value others above yourself.” Philippians 2:3
What do you do?
Primarily I have been a litigator, working to resolve business and personal disputes both in and out of court. This has involved a wide variety of cases: contract disputes, personal injury and malpractice claims, Will and estate contests, and lawsuits against overzealous government regulators, to name a few. Each one has given me the opportunity to work closely with interesting clients who have unique legal problems, requiring me to acquire an understanding of facts and law related to fields I might otherwise have known nothing about.
My experience in seeing how controversies arise has also allowed me to become a better counselor for clients, with insights into how to draft contracts and adopt business practices to avoid lawsuits.
Within our firm, I have worked with my colleagues to create a culture of mutual respect and comradery. Some weeks we can spend more waking hours at the office than at home with family, so it is vital that MCCM be a desirable place to work. I have been blessed to work with incredible attorneys and staff members who have shared this goal, and to mentor many younger lawyers as they acquired the skills and experience to develop their own career paths.
What work has been most satisfying?
This is hard to answer, because I have had the privilege of resolving many cases and situations that made a real difference for our clients. Probably the most visible success was the outcome of our 13-year battle on behalf of the Beechwood Nursing Home against the New York State Department of Health. Contested by the defendants in every way imaginable, the case resulted in a federal court jury verdict establishing the regulators’ unconstitutional violation of our clients’ First Amendment rights, followed by a $25 million settlement payment from the State.
At the same time, my efforts outside the office in leadership of not-for-profit organizations like Allendale Columbia School, Rochester Family Mission, Perinton Ecumenical Ministries/Advent House, and numerous church boards and committees have been extremely rewarding.
Tell us a little-known fact about you.
I come from a musical family and played cello in the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra during its earliest years, and sang the lead in our high school musical. In college I continued this avocation, playing cello in the Bangor (Maine) Symphony Orchestra (great part-time college job), and the Colby College Community Orchestra in Waterville. The demands of law school and law practice forced me to put the instrument aside, except for the occasional “rusty” playing of carols and hymns for Christmas and Easter services. At least the family musical genes were passed on, as both of my sons, Carson (classical composer and pipe organist) and Colby (trumpet performance) received their college degrees in music.
What about your family?
My wife, Sue, and I have entered the happy stage of being grandparents! We have four amazing granddaughters ages 10 down to 3 (Irelynn, Leah, Bella and Mila) from Sue’s children (John and Gina) who all live in Greece, NY, allowing us to spend time attending their activities. To top it off, grandson Felix Edward Cooman was born on March 18 to Colby and Laura in Virginia—another bundle of joy, for whom one challenge will be deciding whether he will follow his dad and be a New York Yankees fan, or his mom as a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Early indications are shown in the photo below!
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McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979. With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.
We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England. They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts. For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.