Preeminent family lawyer Stephen Kolodny passed away on May 30. A true giant in the field of family law, all who knew him will miss his intellect, knowledge, heart, and compassion.
Stephen Kolodny: Irreplaceable, Knowledgeable Advisor and Friend
(June 25, 1940 – May 30, 2020)
The Managing Partner at the KolodnyLawGroup in Beverly Hills, California, Stephen Kolodny’s long list of accomplishments included being the recipient of Boston University School of Law’s Silver Shingle Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession, and being a Founding Diplomat and Executive Vice-President of the American College of Family Law Trial Lawyers.
Steve was also an advisor and editorial contributor to Family Lawyer Magazine and our good friend. He was outstanding in all three roles, so my wife and business partner Martha Chan and I feel his loss keenly – both personally and professionally.
Steve helped us start Family Lawyer Magazine in 2011 and had been on our Advisory Board ever since. He contributed greatly to the quality of the magazine, but his generosity did not stop there: he helped us personally as well.
Whenever we made a request of Steve he’d take care of it, which always amazed and humbled us knowing just how busy he always was. We made a conscious effort not to make too many requests because we knew Steve had a very hard time saying “no” to people or causes he believed in. He didn’t drop anything, he just added it onto his jam-packed schedule – we know this because we’d get emails from him at 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m.
Smart, Tenacious, Inspiring
Steve was smart – really smart – and he was tenacious – really tenacious. I feel very sorry for any family lawyer who was an opposing counsel on a tough case with Steve – and complex, tough cases were where his brilliance always shone the brightest.
I know we won’t stop thinking about Steve as our go-to person for advice about anything to do with family law but where we’ll really, really miss Steve is having him in our corner as our confidante, supporter, and friend because he was a rock.
I interviewed Steve for Family Lawyer Magazine in 2011 to learn what made him tick. He was very forthcoming about how his unbelievably strong work ethic drove him and how there was some collateral damage along the way. He didn’t expect many younger lawyers would follow in his footsteps but quietly – and sometimes not so quietly – he wished out loud that they would. He worked tirelessly to educate and inspire family lawyers to be the best they could be.
Co-founder of the National Family Law Trial Institute, Steve relished the opportunity to make family lawyers better litigators. Divorce Marketing Group supported Steve’s love of the Institute, working with him and others to promote registration and fill the course. We are committed to keep on supporting his dream and spreading the word about the Institute.
– Dan Couvrette is the CEO of Family Lawyer Magazine and Divorce Marketing Group
Stephen Kolodny: Ferocious Litigator, Tireless Advocate, Inspiring Mentor, and Hero
The Faculty of the National Family Law Trial Institute celebrate the life of Stephen Kolodny. Steve was our mentor, hero, and inspiration. Regardless of our own age or experience, each of us aspired to become a better person and a better lawyer because of Steve. He was a friend whose loyalty had no limits.
In 1989, Steve and his lifelong friend, Lynne Gold-Bikin, began their commitment to teaching family lawyers how to litigate family law cases. Under their leadership and guidance, the National Family Law Trial Institute became the preeminent family law advocacy course in the country. Along the way, Steve challenged each of us to be the very best version of ourselves. He taught by example and always gave more than he received.
Although Steve was a ferocious litigator and a tireless advocate for his clients, it is his heart and compassion that we will miss the most. Steve’s contributions to our profession and his dedication to teaching other family law attorneys are the lessons that we will each carry forward. Our lives are forever blessed for having been given the opportunity to work with Steve and to call him our friend.
Rest in peace dear friend. You will be with us always.
– Sherri Evans is a Faculty Member at the National Family Law Trial Institute
Please feel free to add your memories of or tributes to Steve in the comments section (below), and go to www.dignitymemorial.com/en-ca/obituaries/mission-hills-ca/stephen-kolodny-9203019 for information about his service and to pay tribute there.
The Art of Advocacy: A Q&A with Stephen Kolodny
An interview with preeminent trial lawyer Stephen Kolodny about his commitment to passing on litigation skills, giving back to the community, and his best advice for young lawyers.
Training Family Lawyers for Trial
Stephen Kolodny talks to Family Lawyer Magazine about the Houston Family Trial Institute and giving back by training family lawyers for trial.