Kevin P. McKernan

Kevin P. McKernan

This week's National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Kevin P. McKernan of Staten Island, New York. Kevin is a born and bred New Yorker. He has lived there his entire life minus his college days at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Born to an insurance executive and homemaker, Kevin is very grateful for his parents, as well as mentor William Murphy, former Staten Island District Attorney. Prior to the law, Kevin held a wide variety of jobs, which he credits for helping with successful voir dire. These include store clerk, cashier, bartender, and camp counselor.

Kevin has been practicing law for over 42 years. Kevin’s practice is in Staten Island, New York. He started his legal career as a prosecutor. He rose to the level of Bureau Chief of Investigation and Senior Trial Attorney at Staten Island’s Office of the Richmond County District Attorney’s office. The movie To Kill a Mockingbird inspired him to pursue law.

Kevin is a member of the New York and New Jersey State Bars and local Bar associations. He serves as the Vice President of the New Jersey Municipal Court State Bar Association. Kevin graduated from Notre Dame and earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He is a member of both of these Alumni Associations, in addition to the Kiwanis Club, the Warren Jacques Committee, Chamber of Commerce and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Kevin also sponsors several Bread of Life food drives, Kiwanis charities, Ancient Order of Hibernians charities, many road races, in addition to regularly funding financially needy children to summer camp. His hard work and selfless contributions have culminated in several awards, including the Hubert H. Humphrey Community Award, Fordham Law School’s Alumni Sullivan Murphy Award for the Distinguished Practitioner of Law (“For Total Commitment to Justice and Peace For All), and the University of Notre Dame’s O'Regan Award.

At the heart of everything Kevin does, is his love for people. Part of Kevin’s success was a community drive. When he was working his way through Notre Dame as a bartender, his regulars took him in and always made sure to take care of him financially. Kevin has paid it forward with his passion for community involvement. When asked about his favorite win, rather than talk about the facts of a daunting case, he proudly describes a recent positive update from a former 19 year old client charged with a cab robbery who has now gone on to graduate from college and is gainfully employed.

Between work and his charitable contributions, Kevin likes to spend time golfing, running, reading, and socializing. Having the time to participate in all of these activities and with his son is one of Kevin's most cherished aspects of the law. Kevin remarked, “I enjoy the flexibility of being self-employed, making my own schedule really allows me to be able to continue my work with the same passion as when I started, as well as having the time to devote to the community and now in this time represent several estates of COVID-19 victims pro bono."

For any new lawyers seeking advice on how to make it in the legal profession, Kevin would offer this guidance: "Be patient, our lives are difficult, but these challenges can be overcome and the rewards cannot be measured”. When asked about the NCDD, Kevin expresses gratitude over a recent CDL driver win due to the knowledge he learned from NCDD which helped him invalidate the accuracy of a blood test. "The NCDD has offered me a great opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with distinguished and experienced colleagues in my field, allowing me to learn from the best. Everyone checks their egos at the door and discusses situations in depth objectively, without being argumentative." It is interesting how Kevin mentions ego. Anyone that knows Kevin, understands that ego is not what drives him. He is truly all about others. During this time of Covid-19 and surviving at ground zero, New York City, Kevin has set aside all normal concerns to reach out and help his community legally with PPP loans and other disaster related assistance. When our country was founded, the three most respected professions were ministers, teachers and attorneys. Over time, attorneys have become one of the least respected professions. It is selfless leaders like Kevin McKernan who bring not only honor to himself, but to the profession. Kevin understands the anonymous quote, “Happiness does not come through selfishness but through selflessness. Everything you do comes back around.” The NCDD is honored to have such a longstanding member and role model as Kevin McKernan. Thank you Kevin for everything you do.

*Interesting Irish factual history. Kevin is named after his grandfather Patrick McKernan (hence the P. in his middle name). Patrick fled to New York to raise funds for the Michael Collins Irish Independence rebellion after he was discovered.


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