Kahn joined what was then known as Berge Fox & Arent in 1955 after serving in high-level positions with the Internal Revenue Service, where he was involved in drafting the 1954 Internal Revenue Code. By 1961, the firm had added his name to the letterhead, changing its name to Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.
Kahn continued to work at the firm until his retirement in 1987.
Kahn was raised in North Carolina and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. In 1940, Kahn earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He moved to Washington later that year to take a job with the IRS.
Kahn joined the IRS just as the U.S. was pulled into World War II. During his two and a half years at the agency, Kahn was heavily involved in issues stemming from wartime taxation and wartime industrial mobilization. After taking time to serve in the military, Kahn returned to the IRS and stayed until entering private practice in 1955.
In a statement, Arent Fox managing partner William Charyk said, “Ed Kahn was one of the great Washington, D.C. lawyers of our time and a nationally recognized master of tax law. Moreover, he was a father figure to many of us. His absolute delight in pursuing his passions with respect to history, politics, mythology, economics and jurisprudence infused the rest of us with respect for the variety of good things that the human spirit can create. Ed was a very great man, an exceptional attorney and someone who meant a lot to everyone at Arent Fox. We extend our deepest sympathies to the entire Kahn family.”