Theodore I. Koskoff (1913-1989)
(Ted) Koskoff was an immigrant’s son with an immigrant’s faith in the Constitution; he revered the legal process.
– Barry Werth, Damages
Born in New Haven, Connecticut on June 23, 1913, THEODORE I. KOSKOFF, was the youngest of seven children born to Israel and Hattie Koskoff.
After establishing our law firm in 1936, Ted’s long career in the law was an important one, both for him, the firm and for the legal profession. A nationally known trial lawyer, Ted graduated from Boston University’s School of Law, and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
A former President of the American Association for Justice, Ted was widely known for the passion he brought to the practice of law. His unique approaches to a broad range of cases were known to clients and lawyers throughout the country, from the “Dare-to-be-Great” entrepreneur Glen Turner to Lonnie McLucas of the Black Panther Party. Even defense attorney F. Lee Bailey was defended by Ted Koskoff.
Ted was the leading figure in a national drive for certification of specialists in civil and criminal trial advocacy. Chairman and founder of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he helped determine the standards for trial specialization and, in fact, wrote those standards. His pioneering efforts in the field of legal ethics are reflected in newly developing standards for the legal profession that are more responsive to the needs of both lawyers and the public.
Ted Koskoff’s influence was both as an innovator and as a teacher and lecturer to future leaders of the legal profession. He was the leading spokesman within the profession for continuing education and the highest standards of professionalism and competence. He was also a founder and past President of the Roscoe Pound Foundation, a founder and former chairman of the ATLA-sponsored National College of Advocacy.
Ted was a primary force behind the establishment of the National Advocacy College educational programs at the University of Southern California, Harvard, Georgetown Law School and Suffolk Law School. He was a true advocate for his fellow man in the Halls of Justice.
Ted was a man of spark and passion who was fond of saying: “There are no geniuses in the courtroom, only drudges in the office.” But Ted could be both. He was always meticulously prepared for the courtroom by long hours with the books and his partners and associates at Koskoff, but once he was in court he often reacted with the spark of genius. His inspiring personal view about the lawyer’s contributions to society has become the credo of our law firm.
Ted Koskoff played, and his ideas continue to play, an important part in the development of trial law in America. In this way he touched many millions. To many thousands more, his learned counsel and personal example taught important lessons in life and the law.