Gail Koff, Ex-Skadden Lawyer Who Pioneered Discount Legal Services, Dies at 65

Gail Koff, a onetime corporate lawyer who wound up serving as the public face of a pioneering consumer law firm has died of complications from leukemia treatment. She was 65 years old.

After growing up in upscale Scarsdale, N.Y., she put herself through law school, as one of the few women in her class at George Washington University, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

On one occasion, she told Newsday a decade ago, a professor said to her, “Miss Koff, would you please stand up so we can all see the dimensions of this case?”

Initially employed by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom after she graduated, Koff also did pro bono work and met, at a New Orleans conference, one of the founding partners of a Los Angeles firm, Jacoby & Meyers, that had begun offering discount legal services to consumers in 1972.

Jacoby & Meyers was looking to go national, and Koff became its third partner, overseeing all of the 14 New York regional offices the firm operated in its heydey. Although the firm’s highly recognizable brand name stayed the same, she became familiar to many through Jacoby & Meyers advertising, the article recounts.

“She said she thought she had been on the wrong side of the table, defending corporations,” name partner Leonard Jacoby tells the newspaper. “She was energetic and charismatic. Meyers always said she was unflappable.”

A New York Times article provides additional details about her life.

Updated on Sept. 3 to link to New York Times article.

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