Alan C. Kohn

Alan C. Kohn

ALAN C. KOHN, a St. Louis trial lawyer, died on September 7, 2019, at age 87. He is survived by Joanne, his wife for over 65 years, and by three sons and their spouses, Tom (Lisa), Jim (Maria), and John (Angie), and by five grandchildren, Ethan, Grace, Alejandro, Kate and Ava.  

Mr. Kohn graduated from University City High School in 1949. He attended Washington University in St. Louis for six years, obtaining his undergraduate degree in 1953 and his law degree in 1955. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of the Coif, and was editor-in-chief of the Washington University Law Quarterly. He taught federal jurisdiction and trial and appeal advocacy at the school from 1962 to 1965 and in 1981. In 2012, he received the law school’s distinguished alumnus award.  

In 1955, Mr. Kohn was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Army and was trained as a code breaker at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. He then served in the Army Security Agency in Germany where he was engaged in electronic intelligence from 1955 to 1957 during which time he also tried several court martial cases.  

He returned to the United States in 1957 where he became the first graduate of the Washington University Law School to become a law clerk at the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from 1957 to 1958 as law clerk for Justice Charles E. Whittaker. He then returned to St. Louis where he practiced law with his father, William Kohn, and his brother, Louis Kohn.

Commencing in 1958, he practiced law in what became the law firm of Coburn, Croft and Kohn. In 1970, he and Courtney Shands, Jr. started practicing law together in what became the law firm of Kohn, Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis and Giljum. In 2014, he left his firm to become of counsel to the law firm of Sher Corwin Winters.

Mr. Kohn tried over 100 cases and argued more than 80 appeals. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and and advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2017, he received the Lifetime Achievement in the Law award by Who’s Who in America (Marquis). He concentrated on the trial of complex business litigation. He was a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation.

He represented numerous large corporations, their executives and large law firms. He represented the Sierra Club in a suit to stop the building of the proposed Meramec Dam south of St. Louis. He represented the American Civil Liberties Union in a dispute over a fee awarded in a cross-dressing case. He defended the National Football League in an anti-trust suit filed by the St. Louis Convention Center. He represented a group of St. Louis residents to stop the expansion of the Children’s Hospital over Kingshighway and into Forest Park. He represented the state public defender office in Springfield, Missouri.

Mr. Kohn’s public service included service as a member and president of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners from 1970 to 1980, as a member and chairman of the Missouri Housing Development Commission from 1975 to 1980, and as treasurer of the University City School Board from 1970 to 1971.  

Mr. Kohn was an avid tennis player. He was on the Washington University tennis team for four years and was captain and first man on the team in his fourth year. He ranked ninth in St. Louis tennis in 1951 and sixth in 1953 and 1959. He and his partner, David Mesker, received gold medals in tennis in 1987 and 1989 at the United States National Senior Olympics, and Mr. Kohn won bronze medals in singles in those years.

In 2018, Mr. Kohn and lawyer Michael Kahn co-authored a book, “The Art of Conflict: Tales from the Courtroom.” Mr. Kohn wrote numerous articles about the practice of law. He also wrote an article about his role in the construction of the first Busch baseball stadium in downtown St. Louis (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 4, 2005, pg. A7); about the moving of the Spanish Pavilion from the New York World’s Fair to downtown St. Louis (St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 26, 2009, pg. A9); about growing up in University City in the 1930s and 1940s (St. Louis Magazine, April 2008); and about his weekly tennis game with Dr. Steve Post and St. Louis tennis icons Ward Parker and Ralph Hart (St. Louis Magazine, May 2007, p. 40). 

A memorial service will be held on Sun., Oct. 20 at 1 pm at the St. Louis Art Museum auditorium. Reception to follow for friends and family. Garage parking available. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, or The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Please visit for more information. BERGER MEMORIAL SERVICE