Ken Kirschenbaum

SSI Hall Of Fame: 2009

Current Status
Managing Partner, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC

Why He’s on the List

  • More than 30 years providing legal counsel and guidance to the alarm and security industry
  • In 1979, designed his first standardized alarm contract, a commercial lease (then used for all installations and services) for a client who agreed if the fee was less than $100 he would tell everyone to buy it
  • His standardized contracts have been used by thousands of alarm companies in every U.S. state, contributing to the establishment of laws and legal decisions coast to coast
  • Recurring revenue features in his contracts encouraged alarm company growth and increased value, while the defense provisions enabled alarm companies to retain that growth and value
  • Has used his Web site to bring the legal side of the industry and alarm contracts to even companies that might ordinarily be unable to afford an attorney

Keys to Success

“Commitment and hard work; luck too.”

Becoming Industry’s Legal Counsel

“I wanted to be a clinical psychologist specializing in psychoanalysis, but my image of success came from my father who was a litigation partner for a major Manhattan law firm. I’d visit him, see several associates lined up outside his office to see him and watch his phone ring every 30 seconds. It seemed exciting. When I started my practice and began representing perhaps 20 different alarm companies, my phone rang all the time, too. Thanks to this industry, it still does.”

Most Memorable Moment

“Practicing less than two years, I received a phone call in my office as I was busy packing my files to move into my own office to begin my private practice. It was from a claims rep at California Union Insurance Co. asking me if I’d be willing to represent one of my own clients in a defense case. After verifying that he knew who he was actually talking to, I readily agreed. Of course, I won that case and hundreds after it. I still get excited when hearing from a new client, alarm company or insurance company, asking me to represent them; sort of positive re-enforcement for my self-worth as an attorney.”

How Things Have Changed

“The legal issues have evolved in the same way as the first alarm panel, consisting of some circuits on a wooden board, has changed; it’s a lot more complex. The contracts protect the industry and they are constantly under scrutiny. The industry should be careful to use attorneys committed to the industry. Also, alarm companies have expanded their services, become systems integrators and are no doubt well positioned to prosper in a technological age.”

Something People Might Not Know

Besides his expertise in the alarm law practice, he has been a United States Bankruptcy Trustee since 1977. That experience helped round out his perspective on issues important to the alarm industry. Says if his life had taken a different path he probably “would have invested in a few of the new startup alarm companies that retained his services!”

Reaction to Being Inducted

“I am honored. It’s always great to find out you’re well thought of by those who you respect.”

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