David H. Kernan

Of Counsel Albany, Buffalo

David concentrates in federal and state taxation, employee benefits, executive compensation and tax-exempt organizations.

David’s employee benefits practice includes the design, drafting and implementation of defined benefit pension plans, cash balance plans, 401(k) plans, tax sheltered annuities and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), as well as compliance with tax law and ERISA. His executive compensation practice includes the design and drafting of nonqualified deferred compensation plans and Code Section 409A compliance with respect to nonqualified plans.


Honors & Awards

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Named the Best Lawyers® Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo, 2021
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work, 2016, 2020
  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2010-2011, 2013-2015

Education & Admissions

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1977
  • New York University School of Law, LL.M., Taxation, 1978
  • Middlebury College, A.B., Phi Beta Kappa, 1974
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Tax Court

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Presenter, “How Fiduciaries Can Minimize Litigation Risks with Their Retirement Plans,” Phillips Lytle Seminar, October 2019
  • Presenter, “Is Your Wellness Program Healthy?,” Phillips Lytle Labor & Employment Law Seminar, March 2015

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • NativityMiguel Middle School, Board of Trustees
  • NativityMiguel Middle School, Volunteer Tutor

Past Activities

  • Buffalo West Side Environmental Defense Fund, Board of Directors and Officer
  • Project Jumpstart, Riverside High School, Mentor
  • Junior Achievement of Western New York, Board of Directors
  • Canisius College, Adjunct Faculty, MS Taxation Program
  • New York Employee Benefits Conference, Board of Directors
  • Lawyers for Learning, Mentor

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Taxation
    • Senior Lawyers Division
  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • Monroe County Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Tax Section