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Karl W. Kristoff


Karl has been engaged almost exclusively in school and municipal law and public sector labor relations work for more than 40 years.

During the course of his work for school districts and municipalities, including his service as General Counsel for the Rochester City School District, Karl has been involved with administrator and teacher certification and tenure area matters, student discipline problems, construction matters, building closings, sales and leases, board and annual meeting questions, student transportation matters, competitive bidding for public contracts, environmental law problems, religious establishment and academic freedom questions, school borrowings, and human rights issues. He also has significant experience with placement of students with special educational needs and appeals from committees on special education decisions, as well as abolition of position matters, public employee collective negotiations, contract administration, grievance handling and arbitration, improper practice cases before the Public Employment Relations Board, public employee strikes and other job actions, certified and non-certified employee discipline and dismissal cases (including more than 50 cases under Section 3020-a), unemployment insurance and workers' compensation matters, and appeals to the Commissioner of Education and the courts. He has been designated by the New York State Commissioner of Education as a hearing officer for cases arising under Part 83 of the Commissioner's Regulations concerning teacher certification.

Karl served on active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a judge advocate and special court military judge. Thereafter, he was appointed to various positions in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard of the United States, including staff judge advocate, assistant adjutant general, and commander for the headquarters, New York Air National Guard. He retired from his state service with the rank of major general.

Karl has also served as an adjunct assistant professor in the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education and at SUNY Buffalo Law School.


B.A., University at Buffalo, State University of New York 

J.D., John Marshall Law School


  • New York
  • Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America, Upstate New York Super Lawyers, and Who's Who in American Law
  • Legion of Merit of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • New York State Conspicuous Service Award
  • Martindale Hubbell "AV Preeminent" ranking
  • WNYESC Dr. Robert W. Heller Distinguished Service Award
  • ECASB Wayne Schlifke Lifetime Achievement Award

News & Insights


  • 'Say Yes Buffalo' Legal Services Program
  • Past council president and current Endowment Committee chair, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Williamsville, New York
  • Member, Governance Committee of the NYS School Attorneys Association  


  • Education Law Association
  • New York State Association of School Attorneys
  • National Council of School Attorneys
  • National and New York Public Employer Labor Relations Associations
  • American Arbitration Association (Construction Industry and Commercial Panels)
  • Charter member, New York State School Boards Association's Legal Partners Program
  • New York State Veterans Affairs Commission
  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • Monroe County Bar Association and Education Committee, Member
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
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Karl W. Kristoff / News & Insights