Kaufman and Canoles Ushers in New Era with Leadership Transition


Kaufman and Canoles Ushers in New Era with Leadership Transition
Added on April 2, 2024 by Nicole Naidyhorski to Member News

Kaufman and Canoles Ushers in New Era with Leadership Transition

Long-Planned Strategic Shifts Position Firm for Continued Growth

NORFOLK, Va. – April 2024 – In a landmark move marking a new era for Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., a respected law firm with roots tracing back to 1919, Jason R. Davis steps into the role of president and chief executive officer effective April 1, 2024. This pivotal transition, following an 18-month strategic planning process aimed at ensuring a seamless transition of leadership to the next generation, promises to shape the firm’s trajectory for years to come.

Under the guidance of William R. Van Buren, III, president and chairman for the last 16 years,
Kaufman & Canoles has achieved remarkable growth and industry leadership extending the firm’s reach to the Raleigh market and achieving an invitation for the firm to become the Virginia member of TerraLex, one of the leading international networks of business law firms. During his tenure, the firm was honored for its philanthropy and regional leadership as a winner of the prestigious corporate Darden Award. Van Buren will transition to the role of chairman in a strategic shift allowing him to amplify his focus on nurturing client relationships and his robust legal practice, while leveraging his wealth of experience for the advantage of the firm and its clients.

Davis, a longstanding member of the firm’s executive committee and co-chair of the firm’s health care team, is poised to drive the Firm into its next growth phase. His strategic vision encompasses a broad view of expansion opportunities in key markets while maintaining the firm’s core values of excellence and service.

“I am humbled and honored that my colleagues have the confidence to allow me to continue in the footsteps of my mentor and friend,” Davis said. “Under Mr. Van Buren’s leadership, our firm has become a leader in the legal industry, and I expect our growth only to accelerate in the coming years. As chairman, Mr. Van Buren will continue to be a major presence in the firm’s commercial practice and the broader community  and will continue to serve his many corporate and health care clients.”

The significance of this leadership transition is enhanced by the inclusion of L. Scott Seymour and Nicole J. Harrell as members of the firm’s governing executive committee which manages firm finances and oversees standards for client service, the quality of legal services, professional development and civic and professional responsibility. Seymour, the former chair of the firm’s commercial section and current chair of the mergers & acquisitions and business taxation practice groups, was elected to the executive committee, while Harrell was re-elected to continue her position on the executive committee and to serve as the executive vice president of practice management overseeing all the firm’s practice groups. Paul W. Gerhardt, the managing director of the firm’s Richmond office, will continue his service on the executive committee.

Their diverse expertise and backgrounds are integral to executing the firm’s vision under Davis’ leadership. Seymour, with his extensive experience in business taxation and corporate governance, Harrell, a leader in intellectual property protection and franchising, and Gerhardt, a highly respected real estate practitioner, bring critical skills and perspectives to the firm’s executive leadership, ensuring a comprehensive approach to growth and client service. 

“Mr. Davis’ election as president and CEO, Mr. Seymour’s election to the executive committee and Ms. Harrell’s re-election show their unwavering commitment to the success of our law firm and will ensure a smooth transition to the firm’s next generation of leaders,” Van Buren said. “As we continue to expand on our successes in Virginia and North Carolina, we are dedicated to providing our clients with excellent client service and coordinated teamwork managed by some of the best leaders at the firm. I look forward to stepping back from my management role and continuing to be deeply involved in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions and health care practices and its ongoing business development efforts. Throughout the last few years, I have been grateful for the unselfish dedication and wise guidance of Mr. Davis, Mr. Gerhardt and Ms. Harrell and know that the firm will continue to have the good fortune of outstanding leadership as we complete the implementation of our succession plan.”

Davis’ healthcare litigation and counseling practice includes representing and advising hospitals, physicians, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare providers. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from William & Mary Law School.

Kaufman & Canoles is a full-service business law firm, known for its rich history and a deep commitment to improving the communities it serves. For more information, visit kaufcan.com.