October 01, 2019

Tracey L. Mancini
Marketing Communications Manager
(716) 847-8340

– Managing Partner Kevin M. Hogan Recognized among Legal Elite Leaders –
– Associate Timothy P. Kucinski named Rising Star –

Buffalo, N.Y. Seven Phillips Lytle Partners were named to the Buffalo Law Journal “Legal Elite of Western New York 2019.”

Phillips Lytle Managing Partner Kevin M. Hogan was named a Legal Elite Leader. This recognition is given to the attorneys who run area bar associations, the University at Buffalo School of Law, and the region’s largest law firms.

Having previously served as the firm’s Trial Department Administrator and Environment Practice Team Leader, Mr. Hogan concentrates his practice in the areas of environmental law, intellectual property, and litigation. An effective and efficient legal advisor, he counsels clients on environmental compliance at both the state and federal levels with respect to investigations and enforcement proceedings by state and federal agencies, and on environmental issues arising in corporate and commercial transactions. An experienced litigator with a track record of successfully resolving disputes, Mr. Hogan defends clients in environmental cost recovery claims, toxic exposure lawsuits, and engineering and professional malpractice claims. He also represents clients in disputes involving patents, licenses, trademarks, and other intellectual property. Mr. Hogan is a skilled negotiator who also serves as a court-designated mediator in the Western District of New York.

Other Phillips Lytle partners included in the Legal Elite are:

  • Kristen M. Birmingham – Ms. Birmingham’s practice involves a comprehensive range of transactional corporate matters with a particular emphasis on private and public company merger and acquisition transactions for both domestic and international clients across numerous industry sectors. Ms. Birmingham counsels business entities and their principals on matters relating to formation and organization, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, employment and consulting agreements, supply and distribution agreements, sales representative agreements, non-competition agreements, confidentiality agreements, general commercial contracts, terms and conditions of sale, general corporate governance matters, and Hart-Scott-Rodino filings.
  • Christopher L. Hayes, Special Counsel – Mr. Hayes uses his in-house and litigation background to effectively guide clients through the dynamic landscape of data security and privacy. He is former in-house data security and technology counsel at a Fortune 500 financial institution and an experienced litigator. As senior in-house counsel, he provided practical legal and business advice on all aspects of data breach investigation and response, technology evaluation, licensing and acquisitions, data security practices, policies and procedures, and third-party/vendor risk management.

    Mr. Hayes helps clients defend against cyberattacks and data disclosure incidents through policy and procedure review, conducting tabletop and other key training exercises, analyzing and implementing measures to assess and mitigate third-party vendor risk, and navigating regulatory compliance with various federal and state rules and regulations. When attacks or data incidents occur, he counsels clients from start to finish – from the moment clients first become aware, through all aspects of, investigation, containment, mitigation, and internal and third-party (including regulatory) communications, and post-incident with lessons-learned and root cause analysis.

    Mr. Hayes is a certified CompTIA Security+ professional

  • James D. Donathen – Donathen has practiced in the area of workplace law and litigation for over 30 years. He handles federal and state discrimination lawsuits and agency charges under Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, and the N.Y. Human Rights Law, and investigates and litigates employee disloyalty matters, including covenants not to compete, trade secrets, confidential information, and theft of product. In addition to defending civil and criminal Attorney General and other investigations, Mr. Donathen also represents employers in union elections, labor arbitrations, LMRA litigation, and NLRB and PERB proceedings. He defends OSHA workplace accident and other health and safety citations, and fends off wage and hour and employee misclassification claims and lawsuits under the FLSA. Mr. Donathen handles the defense of whistleblower claims under SOX, OSHA, and other federal and state laws. He provides preventative advice and practical business solutions in all of these areas.
  • David J. Murray – Mr. Murray’s practice primarily involves counseling business entities. He concentrates in acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, joint ventures, corporate finance, corporate governance, public and private securities offerings, private equity and venture capital investments, and other business transactions. He is also active in several aspects of the firm’s health law practice.
  • John G. Schmidt Jr. – Mr. Schmidt concentrates his practice in the areas of business disputes, commercial litigation, employee disloyalty, federal practice, business torts, elder fraud, technology litigation, computer forensics, white collar/government investigations defense, FDCPA defense, and class action defense.
  • Sharon L. Wick – As Phillips Lytle’s Family Wealth Planning Practice Group Leader, Ms. Wick concentrates her practice in the areas of trust and estate administration, estate planning, and estate and gift taxation. Areas of estate planning experience include wills, a variety of trust vehicles and planning for retirement benefits. Ms. Wick is also experienced in assisting owners to plan for closely held businesses and in a variety of charitable giving techniques. She is the New York State Bar Association Trust and Estate Law Section Chair and a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. In addition, Ms. Wick is a frequent presenter on trust and estate-related topics for a variety of audiences

Associate Timothy P. Kucinski was named to the Rising Stars List. Mr. Kucinski focuses his practice on corporate law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, international and domestic business transactions, and corporate governance. He advises and provides counsel to not-for-profit clients on corporate governance and transactional issues. Mr. Kucinski is also a member of, and provides corporate support to, both the firm’s Data Security & Privacy and Crisis Response & Management Teams

Phillips Lytle LLP is a premier regional law firm that is recognized nationally for its legal excellence. With offices across New York State and in Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C.; and Canada, our attorneys serve a multinational client base, including FORTUNE 1000 companies, global and regional financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations, middle-market companies, startups, entrepreneurs and individuals on important matters affecting their businesses and personal wealth. For more information, visit