On July 18, 2012, Konrad Kohl passed away leaving an unmatched legal legacy.
One of the state’s premier attorneys, Konrad practiced law in the Metropolitan Tri-County area as a trial attorney for over 50 years, and was President of one of the major law firms in the State of Michigan, Kohl, Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Clark & Hampton, which he founded.
Mr. Kohl practiced mostly in the civil arena, although he has been defense counsel in several major criminal trials, including the defense of the former Governor of the State of Michigan, and the defense of the City of Detroit Police Officers in the aftermath of the Detroit riots in 1967, in what has come to be known as the “Algiers Motel Incidents,” the title of the book written by Pulitzer Prize winning author John Hersey.
On September 7, 2006, the legal profession in general, and our office in particular, lost a gifted strategist, zealous advocate, tenacious competitor, mentor, advisor and dear friend.
Malcolm used to say that his unique style of practice came more from what he learned in the back alleys and bowling alleys of Detroit than law school. This “street-wise” approach to the practice of law combined with his cunning ways, uncompromising focus, and adept ability to reduce the complex to the simple set him apart from his contemporaries in many, many ways.
“Only in courtrooms can elephants fly,” Malcolm would often be overheard telling his clients. For those that were fortunate enough to be with him, or those unfortunate enough to be in opposition, Malcolm was the jurist that could bring this adage to life. His extraordinary accomplishments both in and out of the courtroom were a testament to his ability to allow those legal pachyderms to take flight.
Since 1966, Mr. Harris had practiced in Wayne, Oakland and Lapeer Counties and the surrounding communities in nearly every type of litigation. The primary focus of his practice was tort litigation specializing in tread rubber, propane gas, personal injury, automobile negligence, and medical malpractice. Other areas of his expertise included general business and corporate law, real estate and estate planning. He was instrumental in setting up the Mediation Panel for Lapeer Circuit Court. Fittingly, in 2006, the year of his death, Mr. Harris had been posthumously awarded the distinction of “Super Lawyer” in the first year of such recognition of distinguished legal professionals here in Michigan.
In addition, to being a lawyer, he was an accountant, a member of Army Aviation Association of America, Thoroughbred Owners Association, and a proud Veteran who was honorably discharged in 1955.
There is a simple saying that provides: “We are known by our friends.” Applying the simple truth of those words to our enduring friendship with Malcolm, the law firm of Kohl, Harris, Nolan & McCarthy P.C., is well known, and for all the right reasons. May he rest in peace.