October 05, 2020

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


Buffalo, N.Y. – Six Phillips Lytle Partners were named to the Buffalo Business First “Legal Elite of Western New York 2020.”

The 2020 Legal Elite includes 141 of the region’s top attorneys as chosen by their peers.

To be selected, an honoree had to be a partner or of counsel in a law firm, an in-house counsel for a company, a public officeholder in the field of legal affairs, a leader of a bar association or related group, or an educator in the field.

Selections were based on internal and external nominations submitted by local attorneys. Two points were awarded for each external nomination (a candidate from outside of the nominator’s firm) and one for an internal nomination (a member of the nominator’s firm).

No more than 15% of the attorneys at a particular firm could be chosen for the Legal Elite.

Phillips Lytle partners included in the Legal Elite are:

  • Kristen M. Birmingham 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.
  • Kevin M. Hogan Hogan is Phillips Lytle’s Managing Partner, having previously served as its Trial Department Administrator and Environment Practice Team Leader. He 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.
  • Kenneth A. Manning Manning has experience in bet-the-company corporate and commercial litigation, including dissolution proceedings, employment termination disputes and controversies involving the sale of goods and services. In addition to personal injury and wrongful death claims involving products liability, workplace accidents, negligence and environmental exposure experience, Mr. Manning has prosecuted and defended class actions in both state and federal courts. Mr. Manning also has experience in challenges to governmental actions, including taxes and assessments, as well as actions for declaratory relief. Mr. Manning also concentrates his practice in the area of education law and is the leader of Phillips Lytle’s Education Practice Team.
  • David J. Murray 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. Schmidt practices in the areas of business disputes and commercial litigation, with a particular focus on employee disloyalty, workplace fraud, business torts and similar corporate disputes. He also practices in technology litigation, computer forensics, white collar/government investigations defense and class action defense. Mr. Schmidt has extensive litigation experience in state and federal courts, and has been appointed by several courts in complex corporate and personal disputes requiring receiverships, or to investigate and remediate fraud. Mr. Schmidt is co-leader of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Team and serves on the boards of several civic organizations.
  • Sharon L. WickAs 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.

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