Colleagues, friends pay tribute to KNR co-founder Robert RedickOct 05, 2020 Press Release
Legal News Reporter
Published: October 2, 2020
A thoughtful, knowledgeable and honest lawyer who enjoyed challenges, engaging in spirited debates, mentoring employees and spending time with family and friends—that’s how partners and colleagues at Kisling, Nestico & Redick (KNR) describe plaintiff personal injury attorney Robert Redick.
One of three co-founders of KNR, Redick passed away on Sept. 3 following a long illness. He was 57.
“Robert truly loved the practice of law and the intellectual challenges it presents,” said KNR Managing Partner John Reagan. “Perhaps most importantly, he loved serving his clients and he worked tirelessly on their behalf.”
KNR co-founder Rob Nestico said Redick was “more like a brother” than a business partner.
“We both wanted to be lawyers since we were little kids,” said Nestico. “When we started this firm with Gary Kisling our goal was to make a difference in the lives of our clients and we worked very hard to do so. “We had good days and bad days, but we never argued or questioned one another’s decisions. We always functioned as a cohesive unit. Even after Robert became a non-equity partner, he continued to work just as hard for the success of the firm. He is and will continue to be missed.”
Born in Lima, Ohio on April 27, 1963, Redick received his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He began his career as an insurance adjuster, later becoming the national claims director at Agency Rent-a-Car.
In a 2019 interview with the Akron Legal News, Redick said he left Agency Rent-a-Car to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an attorney. “Time was marching on and I decided that if I was going to do it, I had to act now,” Redick said.
He started taking evening classes at The University of Akron School of Law and working during the day at a small plaintiff personal injury firm in Akron to support his wife and children.
When he passed the bar exam in 1999, Redick became an attorney at the law firm.
As it turned out, his time at the firm provided much more than legal experience, it led to his meeting the two men who would go on to become his lifelong business partners.
KNR co-founder Gary Kisling had been in practice for around 25 years when he met Redick.
“I was a minority partner at the other firm and wanted to have more say in the decision-making process,” said Kisling. “Robert, Rob Nestico and I thought we could build a better law firm.
“Robert liked the management side of the law and had a lot of experience managing adjusters at a major corporation,” said Kisling, who retired in 2012. “Rob liked the marketing side of things. Together we made a great team.”
When they founded KNR in 2005, the firm had one office in Akron and three paralegals. Today it’s one of the largest personal injury law firms in Ohio, with 11 locations, 28 attorneys and 94 support staff. “When we first started the firm, we didn’t have much business,” said Nestico. “It was then that we had some of our best times together. We set up a dartboard in my office and we played darts any time we had downtime. Robert introduced me to golf and once we started growing, we began organizing annual office golf outings. “Gary had the most legal experience so we put him in charge of litigation,” said Nestico. “Robert trained the paralegals and my tasks were branding the firm, bringing in clients and keeping business flowing.
“We set out to make a difference and put our clients first and I think we definitely achieved those goals.”
In his earlier interview, Redick told the Akron Legal News, “We decided to continue focusing on representing plaintiffs because assisting injured clients in getting settlements that allowed them to try and put their lives back together was very satisfying work. “Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to help families who are coping with the loss of loved ones. Seeing how appreciative they are of our work really makes you realize the impact you’re having every day.”
His dedication to his clients earned him the distinction of being named a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum in 2012. One of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States, membership is limited to attorneys who have won multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. “Robert’s background in claims provided him with a unique understanding of the insurance industry,” said Reagan. “He knew how insurance companies evaluated cases, valued bodily injury claims and investigated the cases. He was able to use this knowledge to benefit his clients.”
KNR partner Ken Zerrusen was one of the first lawyers hired at the firm. “Robert and I spent quite a bit of time together inside and outside the office,” said Zerrusen. “He was a good example for other lawyers. He was honest and direct so you always knew where you stood with him. He was not only a tremendous attorney, he was a tremendous person.”
Redick was a member of the Akron Bar Association, where he served on the grievance committee. He was also a member of the Stark County Bar Association and the American Association for Justice and was an Ohio Association for Justice trustee.
While Redick formally retired from KNR in September 2019, he began transitioning his role at the firm during the summer of 2018, reassigning his cases and administrative duties.
He told the Akron Legal News he would miss working on cases and helping the community. “Mostly I’ll miss the people,” said Redick. “The people at KNR are the finest anywhere and their dedication and hard work have made us what we are today.” He said his hope was that KNR would continue to expand and give back to the community.
Redick and his wife Lela moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In his 2019 interview, he said they planned to spend more time with their two children and their granddaughter Avery.
“Lela has really earned it,” Redick said in the interview. “When I started law school, she took over all the responsibility of raising our daughter Alex and our son Andy, who were very young at the time. “I could not have done it without her.”
KNR Director of Operations Brandy Gobrogge said attorneys and staff at the firm are saddened by Redick’s loss and continue to mourn his passing. “Robert was my mentor, my friend and my family,” said Gobrogge. “When I started at KNR 10 years ago, there were 9 attorneys and two offices. We’ve had so much growth since then. I worked very closely with Robert on management and leadership. He taught me so much. I don’t think I would be where I am without him. He mentored many of us here. I miss him every single day. He was so full of life and had so many interests. He loved to travel, take cruises with his wife, go to concerts and much more. He lived life to the fullest.”
Senior partner Josh Angelotta said Redick was a mentor from the outset. “My background was insurance defense and Robert’s background was managing claims on the defense side for a rental car company,” said Angelotta. “He provided me with important insights on how to transition my practice to the plaintiff’s side as he had done. “Robert was a high energy guy and an extremely knowledgeable lawyer, with a great sense of humor. He was well-read, well-spoken and the kind of guy you could enjoy talking to in the office or over a beer at the end of the day.”
“Robert lived a well-balanced life. He loved spending time with his wife and two kids and when he became a grandfather he was very happy,” said Kisling. “He loved to argue and tell and listen to jokes. He was a master at trivia. He knew the answers to the most arcane things. “He had an upbeat outlook on life, but a cynical sense of humor. He really enjoyed solving problems.
“Robert liked working with people and helping them along in their careers. He was good at identifying weaknesses and not shy about telling someone they weren’t meeting their potential. He also enjoyed letting them know when they were doing a good job,” said Kisling.
“Robert was a rock-solid guy,” said Reagan. “He was a loyal friend and business partner and a great manager, who used his dry wit to bring humor to a very stressful occupation. He created a very supportive and fun environment in which to practice law.”
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 3 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waynoka Lake Lodge in Sardinia, Ohio.
Redick is survived by his wife Lela, children Andrew Redick and Alexandra (Ricky) Whitaker and granddaughter Avery Whitaker.
To pay tribute to his memory, KNR has established the Robert Redick Memorial Scholarship. Anyone interested in donating should make the check payable to the Robert Redick Memorial Fund. The mailing address is 3412 West Market St., Akron, OH, 44333.