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Cynthia E. “Cindy” Kernick

  • On August 8, 2022


On August 5, 2022, Cynthia E. Kernick, age 70, originally of Penn Hills, passed away peacefully in her cherished Hampton Township neighborhood surrounded by her loving family after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Born on June 6, 1952, she was the beloved daughter of the late William A. Kernick, VMD and former state legislator Phyllis T. Kernick, sister of the late William A. Kernick Jr. and aunt to the late Joshua T. Kernick. She is survived by her siblings Sally Ann (Steven) Krahn of Alexandria, Virginia; Thomas W. (Susan) Kernick of Penn Hills; Phyllis J. Kernick (“P. J.”) and Richard O. (Linda) Kernick (“Rock”), both of Hampton Township. She is also survived by nephews and nieces William A. (Nadine) Kernick III, Patrick J. (Melissa) Kernick, Daniel R. (Kristin Sefcik) Krahn, Elizabeth O. (Brian Gullekson) Krahn, Tristan J. Kernick, Graeme T. Kernick, Eleanor R. Kernick and Brendan L. Taylor as well as four great nephews and a great niece. After receiving a Masters in School Psychology from Duquesne University, Cindy went on to graduate in 1985 from its Law School where she served on Law Review as Executive Article Editor. Known as a strong advocate for her clients, Cindy received both national and international recognition for her success in several high-profile intellectual property cases. She protected the Warhol Museum on numerous occasions, had the honor of representing Mr. Rogers and Family Communications against the Missouri Knights of the KKK, and represented Highmark against Allcare where she shut down a patent troll with a unanimous Supreme Court decision. Her case of a lifetime was representing legendary Pittsburgh Courier photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris in a pro bono case other attorneys deemed unwinnable. The case sought the return of photographic negatives of Mr. Harris’ life’s work documenting the life and culture of black Americans in 20th Century Pittsburgh after the elderly, impoverished,and functionally illiterate Mr. Harris had lost possession of his 100,000 negatives to Hill District businessman Dennis Morgan for the exploitive sum of $3,000. Through Cindy’s negotiations after winning at trial, this important photographic historical archive is now housed in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. In 2001, she was ranked No. 19 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s annual “Top 50 Cultural Forces in Pittsburgh.” As an IP attorney, Cindy received numerous awards and recognition including being named the 2016 Duquesne University Law School Woman of the Year; Law 360, one of the 2014 Influential Women in IP Law; Managing IP 2015 Award for Pennsylvania Outstanding IP Litigator; and Managing IP’s 2016 “Top Women in IP”. She was a member of the Allegheny County Academy of Trial Lawyers and the American Bar Association; a former adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; a contributing author to the Patent Litigation Strategies Handbook, “Trial” Chapter; and a partner at Reed Smith. Cindy was generous and giving of her time through her pro bono work and in support of family. Her many interests include a passion for gardening, quilting, support for the arts, and photography. Many of her photographs were taken during her travels, which included bungie jumping in New Zealand, a stay in a French chateau, and a tour of the pyramids in Egypt. Cindy was a life-long supporter of democracy and Democratic causes. In the final months of her life, Cindy’s passion for the law caused her to leave printed and handwritten notes critiquing the Dobbs opinion. A celebration of Cindy’s life will be private and held in the Hampton house and garden that gave her so much joy. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (waterlandlife.org).

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Liz Grinko
Dear P.J. and family, What a beautiful tribute to your lovely sister, Cindy. So many accomplishments in the legal world. And she knew how to balance that life with so many other wonderful interests. I am so very sorry for that Cindy had to leave this world. Too soon. May your memories bring you peace and comfort. Liz Grinko
Sondra Bubeck
Dear PJ and family. We will miss Cindy. It was always a joy to see her. May you remember all the good times and May it help you through these difficult times.