KNR Celebrates Our 2023 SuperLawyers & Rising Stars
Posted in: Legal Blog
KNR Legal Blog
Columbus, Ohio, March 15, 2013 – At a time when most law firms are feeling the pinch from the requisite belt tightening, Kisling, Nestico & Redick seems to be bursting at the seams.
Barely one month into the year and already the Akron-based law firm has hired four new attorneys and opened a branch office in Columbus, growing the number of offices in the state to nine. This comes on the heels of a 2012 growth spurt where seven attorneys were added and the corporate headquarters underwent a major expansion adding 5,000 square feet to its existing office space located in Fairlawn on West Market Street.
Ask founding partner Rob Nestico the secret to his success and he’ll say it is by staying focused on a niche. In KNR’s case, the specialty is personal injury. Although his team of lawyers primarily represents the plaintiff, Nestico says he likes to hire those with specific skill in defense.
“I’m interested in staying focused by being the best at what we do,” said Nestico, who started the personal injury firm in 2005 with partners Robert W. Redick and Gary W. Kisling. Kisling retired in December but remains on as of counsel.
“We don’t do defense but most of the lawyers here have done defense work,” Nestico said. “That’s the advantage that we have over the other larger plaintiff firms, that most of these lawyers are coming from the defense background.”
To be a good plaintiff’s lawyer, Nestico said, it is important for a lawyer to have an understanding of what the defense does because “it’s not always the defense lawyer that’s not paying your client. It could be the insurance adjuster or it could be the mandate from the insurance company.”
The four he hired this year all have experience working either with defense firms or with insurance companies, or both.
Christopher Corrigan is one of the new hires who joined the firm with an insurance defense background in tow. He and Brian Zaber were the two new additions to the Akron office.
“Having spent many years in a firm that focused on various aspects of insurance law and insurance defense practice, I know many of the insurance adjusters on a personal level,” Corrigan said. “I know how they see their cases and what they need to properly resolve them. These relationships and personal insight will help our clients receive an appropriate settlement in an expedient manner.
“As well, I handled many coverage issues and have been very successful on convincing insurance adjusters, and courts, to provide coverage in matters; even when the insurance companies have been initially obstinate in denying coverage.”
In the past after dealing with the attorneys from Kistling, Nestico & Redick, Corrigan said he was impressed by the way they advocated for their clients’ cases.
“When you completed a case with one of their counsel, regardless of the outcome, you felt that all the attorneys had handled the case the right way,” Corrigan said. “This type of collegiality combined with skillful case handling was a major attraction in coming to the firm.”
Zaber cited similar reasons for joining the firm.
“I had known Rob Nestico for some time and was highly impressed at the growth and success of the firm over the past few years,” Zaber said. “If there was a place to go to advocate for those who couldn’t do so for themselves, it was Kisling, Nestico and Redick.”
While attending law school in the evenings, Zaber worked as a claims adjuster investigating and resolving tractor-trailer accidents that resulted in personal injury claims. Once he passed the bar, he went on to work at the large defense firm Reminger Co. LPA for more than a decade. Nestico said it is this combined skill set that makes the most effective type of plaintiff lawyer.
On top of having a strong defense background, Nestico said it is a passion to help the injured that he also looks for in the attorneys he hires.
“We bring in lawyers and staff that have the desire to want to help people, number one, and, number two, to correct any injustice that they see. With insurance companies they focus on the bottom line, it’s profits over people. We choose the opposite,” he said.
And Nestico said that KNR sets itself apart from other personal injury attorneys by being strong in litigation.
“We started out our litigation department with two lawyers, now the majority of our lawyers are litigators,” said Nestico, explaining that many firms would rather settle claims than take the case to court because “the return on investment is low unless you hit a big case, or you get a big settlement.
“We’ve taken the philosophy that we tell the insurance company that we’re going to litigate cases whether small or big, it doesn’t matter, otherwise they won’t take you seriously.”
Walter Messenger, who joined KNR last year and works in the new Columbus office, echoes Nestico’s sentiment.
“The firm is special in their eagerness to represent people in the courts. This firm goes above and beyond to do everything it can to help injured people,” he said.
Messenger previously worked as a solo practitioner and said being at KNR affords him the opportunity “to be among all the great legal minds” who are on tap to help each other provide clients with the “best representation available.”
With the economic downturn, Messenger said even insurance companies are looking to cut costs and “at this firm we want to make sure people who are injured are fully compensated.”
And he has built a reputation in fighting insurance coverage disputes on behalf of injured victims. He was named by Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He also is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum as a result of resolving two cases each for over $1 million.
Messenger said that since he started working at KNR in Columbus, the firm has already had to expand its office space. He said he sees great opportunity in the capital city.
“We originally were going to start the office with myself and a paralegal and quickly more lawyers and staff were needed to sustain our new clients and level of customer service,” said Paul W. Steele III, who in 2007 came to work at KNR in Akron but now heads up the Columbus office.
Steele was no stranger to the Columbus market. He began his legal career as a law clerk at the law firms of Rich, Crites & Dittmer and Crabbe, Brown & James. He also worked as a public defender in Hamilton County. At KNR, he focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, dog bite, insurance bad faith and dram shop claims.
Steele said that Messenger was the logical choice to bring into the fold.
“Walter was a great addition to our Columbus team. He had his own practice on North High Street and was looking to get back into the court room more and spend less time on the day to day management of a practice,” Steele said. “His experience and knowledge made him a perfect fit to handle our litigation needs in Columbus and the surrounding areas.”
Steele said the firm hired newly licensed Antonio L. Magnone because “unlike most recent grads Antonio already had some exposure to the personal injury arena from working at a law firm while in law school.”
Nestico said that Magnone possesses the drive he looks for when hiring an attorney. “Antonio Magnone may be a young lawyer who just passed the bar, but he possesses the quality and that desire to want to work hard and he is willing to learn.”
Magnone said while he attended law school at Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law he clerked for a general practice firm that handled a lot of real estate and personal injury cases. He said once he passed the bar he wanted to relocate to a bigger city and join a firm that would allow him to have more responsibilities as a licensed attorney.
After a month or so of job searching and researching firms in Ohio, I applied to KNR because they were seeking an entry-level attorney to assist in their growing personal injury practice,” he said. “The firm looked very successful and established and the job description was almost exactly what I was looking for. After my first interview with Attorney Redick, I knew that this firm was the right fit for me.
“It was such a comfortable environment, and it almost seemed too good to be true for a newly licensed attorney like myself,” Magnone said. “My feelings were reaffirmed in my second interview with Attorney Nestico, and I took the job as soon as he offered it to me.”
Steele said what separates KNR from some of the competition is “that we are in this business to help everyone. We talk to prospective clients who are struggling with the insurance companies but because they were not severely injured, many firms are not interested in helping.”
He said it is the level of customer service that also sets the firm apart.
“We strive to keep our clients informed and actively monitor their recovery and treatment. These two things have caused KNR’s expansion into Columbus to grow quicker than expected,” he said.
“In the few months we have been operational in Columbus, we have already started receiving current and former client referrals and are already keeping an eye on possible additional office space,” Steele said. “The upcoming months will be interesting to watch as things will continue to expand and evolve.’
Michael Mailis also shares the same type of enthusiasm as his Columbus colleague counterparts. Nestico said KNR recruited Mailis last year to work in the Youngstown office.
“Although Mike had worked as an insurance adjuster early in his career, his best quality–apart from the fact that he is very intelligent–is he is very, very aggressive,” Nestico said. “I knew that this is a lawyer I wanted to have working here.”
Maillis began his legal career as a Stark County public defender in January of 1996. He later served as a Youngstown city prosecutor and an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor where he was assigned to try major felony cases. As a prosecutor Michael built a reputation as tough but fair. In 2002, he began working at Perantinides & Nolan Co., LPA, an Akron-based AV-rated medical malpractice/personal injury plaintiff’s firm. Maillis joined Kisling, Nestico & Redick in 2013.
“I have been a Youngstown resident my entire life, being born, raised and educated locally. My parents, my wife and my in-laws were all raised locally,” Mailis said. “I love this community and think the best days of Youngstown are ahead of it. For that reason the invitation to join such a respected and growing law firm was an easy choice for me.
“Rob Nestico, Rob Redick and Gary Kisling are men I respect. Also, John Reagan the head of the trial division at Kisling Nestico and Redick is well regarded among lawyers. I saw joining Kisling, Nestico and Redick as an opportunity to serve the community I love and to work for people I respect.
“That is exactly why I am here.”
KNR currently employs 35 lawyers and over 100 support staff. Along with its sister offices in Youngstown and Columbus, the Akron-based firm has satellite offices in Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton, Cincinnati and Canton. There is a second Akron office as well.
If you would like more information about this news story or if you or someone you know is the victim of a personal injury accident, please contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick at 1-800-HURT-NOW or visit www.knrlegal.com.