In 1940, a young lawyer named Charles Kramer left the employ of Harry Gair, a prominent New York City personal injury lawyer, to build his own practice. He rented a two-room suite at 70 Pine Street, and for several years honed his craft on his own. Then, in 1944, he hired a young man who had just been honourably discharged from the Marine Corps. Henry Dillof became Charlie's law clerk - a form of apprenticeship that prepared young lawyers for the Bar exam. Two years later, Henry passed the Bar, and became Charlie's Associate. And in 1950, they formed the firm of Kramer & Dillof.
Over the next 25 years, other attorneys joined the partnership, and the firm's reputation for excellence in representing injured plaintiffs - particularly in complicated medical malpractice cases - grew nationally. In 1978, another young attorney joined the firm as partner: Thomas Moore.
Tom Moore recalls:
When I met Charlie Kramer in 1978 he was a living legend. He was literally a pioneer in medical malpractice litigation, an extraordinary trial lawyer, a true gentleman, and a consummate teacher.
To truly understand Charlie's gift, you would have to meet him. He was diminutive and soft-spoken, but uttered his words with pristine clarity and in commanding fashion. The secret to Charlie's success as a trial lawyer was that he always made himself the least important person in the courtroom. The focus of the jury was on anything but him. This would enable him to make a powerful point in the most subtle manner, leaving an overwhelming impression on the jury. It was as if they wanted to make sure that he understood the significance of what he had just elicited from the witness. His inimitable style made Charlie a master at cross-examination.
Charles Kramer passed away in March, 1988, and the torch was passed to Tom Moore, who became senior partner. And the values Charlie Kramer espoused are still evident in everything the firm does today.
"There is an absolute commitment to excellence, to integrity, and to respect that permeates everything we do," says Partner Matt Gaier. "The preparation and trial methods that Charlie Kramer pioneered are timeless. We serve the law and our clients with the highest ideals and most effective representation. It is a legacy of which we can be very proud."