Since Philip S. Kaufmann joined the firm, there has been a quote on the Stark & Knoll website from him that reads: “The best part of estate planning and estate administration is assisting people in setting their future goals in a way to make sure these goals are carried out as a legacy to the life they lived.” For Mr. Kaufmann, these are not just words, but truly how he practiced law for nearly the last 50-years. As a result, the name Philip S. Kaufmann is synonymous with excellence in estate planning, and the reason why Phil has had such an incredible impact on so many lives, whether through his tireless efforts as an attorney or his unselfish commitment to the community.
After graduating from The University of Akron School of Law in 1971, Phil went into practice with his father at Kaufmann & Kaufmann, where he built a reputation of being an advocate for his clients and numerous non-profit organizations in the Akron community. It was also during this time that Mr. Kaufmann grew his niche practice of special needs planning, where he impacted so many lives and families with his untiring efforts to ensure those individuals with special needs were protected, whether it was through guardianships, special needs trust, governmental benefits, or just a friend they could call in times of need. In addition, Mr. Kaufmann assisted a multitude of other individuals and families with countless different matters professionally and diligently.
In 2009, Mr. Kaufmann joined Stark & Knoll, where he would practice for the next 11-years. During that time, he served as chair of the firm’s trust and estate practice group, while concurrently growing the reputation of Stark & Knoll as a leader in the field of estate planning by relentlessly serving his clients, his colleagues, and his community. Mr. Kaufmann’s efforts were recognized by numerous organizations, including being named as a Sir Thomas More Award recipient in 2002 by the Akron Bar Association and Catholic Diocese, as a Best Lawyer in American in the field of Trusts and Estates each year since 1995, as an Ohio Super Lawyer in the field of Estate Planning and Probate each year since 2004, and as the 2018 honoree of the annual Summa Health Golf Outing. He also became a fellow of the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, following his nomination and election to that body of elite, nationally recognized attorneys in his field. In an Akron Legal News article, Mr. Kaufmann recalled that:
“Mike Stark has always been one of the premier estate planning attorneys in Ohio. He was the one who sponsored me for the American College and I wasn’t even a member of his firm then . . . I like to be part of lawyers who are active in the community, I think part of being a lawyer is sharing your time and talents in the community, Kaufmann said.”
With all of the lives that Mr. Kaufmann has impacted over his career, he will truly be missed; however, despite retiring from the practice of law, he will undoubtedly continue to serve his community, as he has done throughout his lifetime, leaving an impact with everything he does.