Kaufman & Canoles has supported the Chamber’s mission, vision and values since 1922. For the past 100 years, this local business law firm has not only been serving the Hampton Roads community, they have worked to improve the lives of their clients throughout the region. In 1919, Charles L. Kaufman opened a new law firm in Norfolk. That firm would eventually partner with another well-respected Norfolk firm founded by Leroy T. Canoles. Both founders placed a premium on establishing a set of core values that centered on constantly earning the respect of the clients they served. “When our clients succeed, we succeed.” explains William Van Buren, Chairman of Kaufman & Canoles and a 38 year-member of the firm.
The values established by the founders is evident by the way the firm is celebrating their 100 years of service. Appropriate recognition has been given to those individuals and organizations working to make Hampton Roads a better place to live. Throughout the entire year, Kaufman & Canoles is making a financial contribution to one local charity each week. This $25,000+ investment in local non-profits is in addition to the over $300,000 the firm already invests within the region each year. Mr. Van Buren explained their team takes “a lot of pride in knowing that we have stepped up to fill the void” that is created when other businesses are no longer able or willing to continue to invest in our arts, civic groups, and other community-focused opportunities.
Kaufman & Canoles’ philanthropic initiative is just one of its many core values that have guided the leaders of this firm for the past century. A premium is placed on the well-being of those who make up the firm’s business, both as employees and clients. Van Buren explained, “There are no non-competes, so we must establish an “emotional bond” that ensures the professionals who work for Kaufman & Canoles will remain with the firm for the long term.” That bond includes the leadership’s commitment to a diverse and welcoming workplace. A place where all employees are “happy at work and outside of work because of the environment created around us.” This includes an in-house Diversity Committee that works to develop a diverse team and promotes inclusiveness in all aspects of the firm’s business practices and community involvement.
Remaining in business for 100 years requires more than just exceptional customer experiences, it also involves an understanding of running a business. Most of the staff at Kaufman & Canoles join the firm with a business background and a clear understanding that “businesses who use other businesses within the same community” will drive success for the entire region. “Hampton Roads does well when we all do well,” said Van Buren, and “the Hampton Roads Chamber is part of what connects us.” A prime example of this philosophy is the firm’s intentional efforts to work with local credit unions. These financial institutions not only place a premium on local residence through their typically closed field of membership, they are also a big part of what makes a community unique.
The unique character of our region and the need for more cooperation is not lost on those who lead Kaufman & Canoles. The firm has a long history of leaders who have worked tirelessly to establish an economic impact in Hampton Roads. This commitment to the region is evident by attorneys like Vincent J. Mastracco, Jr., who led the efforts of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Hampton Roads Partnership and Ann K. Crenshaw, past president of CREW Hampton Roads (Commercial Real Estate Women) and president-elect of the Hampton Roads Commercial Real Estate Association. These and the other professionals at Kaufman & Canoles understand the unique characteristics that make our region prime for incredible success. “The region has a great “orchestra.” We just need a great conductor” said Van Buren.
There is little doubt the professionals of Kaufman & Canoles will continue to play a major role within that ‘orchestra’ as the Hampton Roads region grows and changes over the next 100 years. The strength of the core values that have guided this firm since 1919 will continue to be the foundation by which its executives will guide the next generation of attorneys, community leaders, and regional organizers. Charles L. Kaufman and Leroy T. Canoles set a high standard for those who followed, and the firm of Kaufman & Canoles has continued to exceed expectations.
Charles Kaufman & Leroy Canoles