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Edmund M. Kaufman, In Memoriam


Irell & Manella mourns the passing of Ed Kaufman, one of the builders of the firm, who died peacefully on December 20, 2012 at the age of 82.

“Ed practiced law with the same passion and brilliance he brought to everything he did; he never lived nor worked by half measure," said long-time Irell & Manella Partner David Siegel. "Many of us at Irell were lucky to work with him on deals and litigations; we learned and laughed a lot as we did. He was a brilliant lawyer who was always willing to tackle the hardest problems (the more challenging, the better for Ed), a firm leader who had a tremendous influence on the history and growth of our firm – and a wonderful friend. We will miss our partner.”

Ed joined Irell immediately following law school in 1959, became the sixth partner of the firm in 1964 and retired at the end of 2000. He was among Irell's first corporate practitioners, having helped establish the practice group. During the course of his career, Ed was involved with more than 300 significant merger and acquisitions in addition to financing and other corporate transactions. Some of his clients included Teledyne Inc., Thrifty Corporation, Wickes Companies and Barry's Jewelers.

One of the firm’s early leaders, Ed played a key role in shaping the firm's success for decades, including serving as co-chair of the executive committee. He loved practicing law and mentoring the younger generation of lawyers, which included many future firm leaders and significant clients. There is a diverse community of people who worked for and with Ed – all of whom respected and admired his intellect and his skill.

Ed earned his LL.B in 1959 from Columbia University Law School, where he was a Kent Scholar and served on the board of editors for the Columbia Law Review, and his B.S. from the University of California at Los Angeles. In 2005, Irell established a permanent endowment at Columbia University Law School to fund a new leadership prize for first-year law students in honor of Ed and two other long-time firm partners that also graduated in his class.

Ed served on the board of directors for the Structural Research and Analysis Corporation, the United PanAm Financial Corp., Pan American Bank and the Associates of the University of California Press. He was also on the board of directors and a member of the executive committee for the Los Angeles Music Center Opera for many years. Ed was a founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and was a patron of the Opera Buffs, an organization in Los Angeles dedicated to assisting young singers.

Ed was an avid tennis player, an extensive traveler and a collector of contemporary art and crafts and modern first edition mystery novels. When Ed retired from Irell after 41 years, he started working full-time at his book store in San Mateo, “M” is for Mystery…and More, specializing in mystery books, a subject he was always passionate about. 

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