Toledo’s Cooper & Kowalski Dissolve Their Firm
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Summary: Cooper & Kowalski, one of Toledo’s largest firms, closes their doors.

Cooper & Kowalski, formerly among the largest of Toledo’s firms, and distinguished not only by 45-years of business, but also for having a majority of women for shareholders, and providing a unique niche for female attorneys, has nevertheless closed its doors, as of July 31, dissolving the business, while most, if not all, its staff have made the move to the competition.


Founding partner Cary Cooper explains that “we got to the point where the numbers [of attorneys] were such and the structure was in place for a larger organization. It got to the point for professional reasons that it was best for the future, particularly for the younger lawyers. It takes a long time to grow a professional business these days, and we came to the conclusion this was the best thing to do. It is a sad outcome but these things happen.”

This of course doesn’t at all explain how the structure collapsed or what went wrong. Nevertheless, many are lamenting the fall, as the firm offered something others did not.

“We were attracting women,” said former partner Richard Walinksi, as reported. “They came and stayed, and gradually got to the point they were the majority ownership. That was great for our firm and gave us kind of a niche. The reputation for hiring women and having an environment where they wanted to stay just drew more women.”

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The firm found its initial success after Cooper and Walinksi founded it in 1969. By 1972, they had five partners, and went by Hayward, Cooper, Straub, Walinski, and Cramer, garnering their initial success by landing some big cases with million dollar settlements.

“Coop and I developed a reputation for handling cases in federal court,” explained Walinski. That became a source of referrals to our firm.”

With such an austere beginning, and with the unique reputation for attracting women and mentoring young lawyers, many are sad to see the old firm go.



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