In 2012, Smith Kane Holman lost a highly respected partner and admired friend with the passing of Bill Kane. He was just 51 years old.
Bill was an imposing figure both physically and at work in the courtroom, where he represented each of his litigation clients—from everyday citizens to major US corporations—with an exceptional level of commitment and skill. In court, he preferred a cool and dignified demeanor. But when the situation required, Bill could streetfight with the best of them. He was a formidable litigator who earned the respect of every client, opposing counsel, and judge he encountered.
Bill never had the birthright advantages that many of his legal peers did. He grew up as the youngest of 4 siblings in the Lawndale section in lower Northeast Philadelphia, raised from age 8 by his widowed mother and his grandmother after the early health-related death of Bill’s father. But Bill had the exceptional drive, work ethic, and intelligence that can take a man to great places if he aims for them.
Bill put himself through college and law school at Temple University by night, while working as a PR representative for First Pennsylvania Bank by day. Marriage to his high-school sweetheart Maria Pizzoferrato and the births of their two children—Terry and Justine—during these busy years fueled him onward. Upon graduation, Bill accepted an offer from the major Philadelphia law firm of Duane, Morris, & Heckscher. And from the moment he arrived, everyone knew he was a superstar. Restless and ambitious after 7 years, Bill left the prestige and position at that firm to chart his own legal career path, garnering innumerable successes, accolades, and admirers everywhere he went.
At his core, Bill was a neighborhood guy, and family and faith were everything to him. He enjoyed summer rounds of horseshoes with his old buddies, backyard family cookouts, playing with his infant granddaughter, and gatherings around the living room television to watch the Eagles. For most of his adult life, Bill left his Center City office each evening and drove up Roosevelt Boulevard to his old Lawndale neighborhood, to his own young family and his extended family who surrounded them.
For those of us who knew him personally, Bill was a wise and humble soul who many of us turned to for advice of all sorts. Although he rarely shared details or showed signs of them, significant illnesses plagued Bill for many of his years as a lawyer, and forced him to take a few respites from the active practice of law. His passion for the law and litigation, however, always kept him coming back stronger than ever.
Bill’s tragic and untimely death on May 29, 2012 left all who knew and loved him with a tremendous sense of loss. Bill Kane was the definition of exceptional—both personally and professionally. He will always be an unforgettable role model for the members of this firm.