RIP: Irwin Kosover

A guest post obituary today from Lee Huttner:


Irwin Kosover died this week at age 80. He was a fixture for many years in Kings County Supreme Court, representing defendants only.His cast of carrier clients included Empire Insurance and Eagle Insurance. He was well known for his no nonsense approach, which made some younger attorneys feel that he was a bully — only to learn over the years that he actually was helping toughen up his young adversaries.

It was well known among the “regulars” in Brooklyn that he hated motions dealing with “serious injury” threshold because he believed all lawyers should make a living. Even though he thought most cases were exaggerated, he usually “lost” the threshold motions. His “file” was a single sheet of paper.

Irwin maintained an office at 26 Court Street for many years. He refused any and all offers to buy him lunch, preferring to eat in the office. He once promised he would let me buy lunch upon his retirement. He knew that day would never come as he knew that he would work to his dying day.

Many attorneys have provided stories about Irwin. I’m sure he would be happy to know that he was respected. A common thread throughout the stories was that he was tough. Young attorneys thought he was mean and abrasive. Irwin would always smile when a young lawyer figured out that it was “shtick” from a tough old fashioned lawyer. One attorney tells how she first met Irwin as a litigant. He was tough and pushed a settlement. He did not want to see her get nothing-but not too much either.

Most of all Irwin loved his wife. When she was suffering from the cancer that eventually took her life, he would say she was his life. When she passed a piece of Irwin died as well. Hopefully they are together again. He will be missed.


11 Responses Leave a comment

  • Dean Delianites 2013.9.3 at 10:50 | Quote

    Irwin was a gentleman. He always called me “babe” or “bubby” when greeting me.
    He would NEVER hurt another attorney.
    He will be missed.

  • Charles Gershbaum 2013.9.3 at 16:57 | Quote

    A courthouse regular, a true character. Kings county will be a little bit quieter and a little bit duller. Irwin has passed, but the stories will live on.
    He will be missed.

  • Kevin Perez 2013.9.4 at 16:03 | Quote

    I am very saddened to hear of his passing. When I first started practicing until the present, Irwin to me was always an old school defense attorney who was not only practical but honorable. I spent many times in JCP conversing with him waiting for the Judge to take the bench listening to his wisdom and especially his jokes. He was a great a guy and the previous commenter is 100% correct: he would never hurt another attorney which unfortunately is a endangered courtesy these days. I will miss our conversations and his humor.

  • Richard Janowitz 2013.9.6 at 13:48 | Quote

    I am also saddened at hearing of the passing of Irwin. When I started practice in 1975, He was there, still the same as of late. He never seemed to change. He was ” OLD SCHOOL”, and unfortunately, who is going to teach the old school methods and ethics to the young attorneys. This is where Irwin will be missed.

  • Charlie Naegle 2013.9.9 at 16:18 | Quote

    Irwin will be missed. In my mind he was everything that a truly principled man should be.

    I can only hope that my grandchildren will have men of that character to look up to when they need a good model.

  • Eric Turkewitz 2013.9.9 at 16:23 | Quote

    Irwin will be missed. In my mind he was everything that a truly principled man should be.
    I can only hope that my grandchildren will have men of that character to look up to when they need a good model.

    And how is it Mr. Charlie Naegle — that a lawyer who went to law school in Texas and practices criminal law in Arizona — you knew Mr. Kosover?

  • Doug Herbert 2013.9.11 at 14:28 | Quote

    Irwin and I did a PC together only a few of weeks ago. As usual, he demanded more than he should, but as usual, a compromise was struck. It was a pleasure to work with Irwin over the years. An institution in Brooklyn has been lost.

  • Richard Slater 2013.9.12 at 13:08 | Quote

    All of the aforementioned comments are “right on.” He was never too busy to explain or educate. I will miss him!!

  • Leonora Bloom 2013.9.17 at 23:13 | Quote

    I was not a close friend of Irwin. But he was a good friend to me. The first time I met him he screamed at me in front of a hundred Brooklyn regulars in then TAP “tell me why I should contribute one god damn dime to this case”. Irwin, you were a legend from the get go. We all knew it. I am so sorry you are gone. I know you are in lawyer heaven, Kings County. God bless you I am still learning from you.

  • Mitchell Pak 2013.10.9 at 13:51 | Quote

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of Irwin’s passing. Although I did not know him that well, he was always willing to impart some old-time wisdom about lawyering, especially in Kings County. While he was a great lawyer, he was also wise in the ways of people – he not only know how judges would act, but why. People like Irwin, who have seen it all in New York, are not easy to come by anymore. All of us who practice in Kings County have lost a good friend and an esteemed colleague. RIP Irwin.

  • carole kosover 2013.11.11 at 17:43 | Quote

    I appreciate all of your comments. The same way as you all describe him as a lawyer is the same way he was as a father and a person – tough, fair, old school, never wanted to hurt anyone, a good man inside,all around, one of a kind! He will be missed by all.

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