Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Beatriz Trejo delivers keynote speech at CSU Bakersfield’s ‘Chicano Commencement Celebration’

May 17, 2017 | 9:28 am


Beatriz Trejo, Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation attorney, was recently honored to deliver the keynote speech at the CSU Bakersfield “Chicano Commencement Celebration” held May 14 at the Icardo Center.

Trejo earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Cal State Bakersfield and her master’s degree in political science from Cal State Northridge. She returned to Bakersfield after earning her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law in Ohio.

She is currently the president of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, Bakersfield Chapter. She also supports local programs focused on advancing Latinos and Latinas in Kern County, including Latina Leaders of Kern County and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Academy. Recently, she was selected as the 2017 winner of the “Young Workers’ Compensation Lawyer of the Year” by the State Bar Workers’ Compensation Section.

CSUB celebrated its first “Chicano Commencement Celebration” in the spring of 1980.

“It is a celebration of the Latino struggle in higher education and of growing academic success of all underrepresented communities,” said Dr. Thomás Martinez, professor of public administration at CSUB.

Trejo delivered the speech in front of more than 200 graduates, and over 3,500 in attendance. Her complete speech is below:

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Primero que nada, le quiero desear un muy feliz Dia de las Madres a todas las madres presentes, incluyendo a la mía quien es esta aquí hoy. A las que apoyaron as sus graduados y a las que hoy celebran su propia graduación.

I’d like to thank Omar Correa, the Chicano commencement planning committee, and Cal State Bakersfield for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. This is a tremendous honor.

By now you’ve heard it from your family, faculty, significant others, SnapChat and Instagram friends, but I will say it again: Congratulations — #TurnUp.

For those of you that don’t know me, and haven’t had a chance to google me, I am an attorney here in Bakersfield who sat in your seat 14 years ago. I am like you from the future. I really doubt google says that last part.

I was informed by the commencement committee that there are 215 graduates in attendance today and we have over 3,500 people in the audience. That means each of you brought an average of 16 guests.

Let’s think about that for a minute. That means that only half of your cousins got tickets.

But seriously, this means that each and every one of you has an entire community that not only supports you but is proud and wants to see you succeed. As Latino college graduates You have beaten the odds. You fought and struggled and today you celebrate this great accomplishment.  You beat the odds that were stacked against you when it came to high school graduation rates, college enrollment, retention, and now graduation.

You as educated Latinos you now carry all of our hopes and dreams for this community, mine included. Your success reflects on all of us. Our hope is that you will bring about change, change here in Bakersfield and our communities and neighborhoods.

Whether you like it or not, you will now be held to a higher standard than others. I don’t think this is news to anyone here. For the Latina women here today, this goes double for you.

I have a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a juris doctorate’s degree, three years of experience working in higher education, and five years as an attorney, yet not a week goes by that I am not mistaken for a secretary or an interpreter. Please don’t misunderstand me for these are perfectly fine professions, but not once has anyone assumed that I was the managing partner of my firm.

A while back, I was at a mediation with two senior partners. Once we reached a settlement, we all sat down together and I began reviewing the terms of the agreement, to which I told our opposing counsel that there were terms in the document we would not agree to. With a look of dismay, he turned to my boss and asked ‘is this your paralegal?’ After I explained to him my role he agreed to our proposed changes. I think this was more shocking to my boss than it was to me. Unfortunately, I see this much too often. The challenge for me that day was balancing professional decorum and civility with pride and ego.

You too will have those challenging days, days when someone will challenge your ability not based on your performance but based on what you look like. It is the hard days the days that challenge you to very core that will determine who you are; your character will be defined not just by what you achieve but also by how you react in the face of that challenge.

Our lives are shaped by the cutting edge of our experiences. I want you to keep this in mind, your struggles and challenges have made you a better candidate for success.

Fourteen years ago while sitting where you are sitting now I had a plan, I knew exactly what my life would be both in my personal life and in my professional life. I cannot tell you how happy I am that those plans failed. I would not be speaking to you today had those plans came to fruition.

About a decade ago I was living in L.A., freshly introduced to the world of student debt working a job that was not very challenging; needless to say, I was very frustrated with this situation. I assumed right after graduating with a master’s degree, doors would open and I would find the career of my dreams. This did not happen. I took this as a failure on my part. This is when I learned the piece of advice I want to pass on to you – there is no such thing as a failure, only a change of plans.

To give you an example: I know there are some of you that perhaps failed a class in your time here at Cal State, but you did not allow that failure to be an option, you kept going. You took the class again, you changed majors, or you were able to compensate with other classes. But for you failure was not an option, you simply had a change of plans.

As for me, I took my career failure and began to look into other careers. Somehow, I got the brilliant idea that I could go to law school because frankly, I didn’t know any better.

I enrolled at the University of Akron school of law in northeast Ohio. I was one of only three Latinos in the entire entering class. There were so few minorities at this school that the Asians and Latinos had to unite in order to have enough students for a student club, so we had the Asian-Latino law student association. Not only that, but there were no good Mexican restaurants in Akron, Ohio  and it snowed 5 months out of the year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Ohio. But if someone would have told me on the day I graduated from Cal State Bakersfield that five years later I would be in Ohio, unemployed, and digging my car out the snow in order to make it to class, I would have said, ‘You have the wrong person.”

The same goes for you. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans and by no means should a change in plans be considered a failure.

Having a plan is great, but just know that you will likely have several changes of plan throughout your life, but each change of direction is only getting you closer to where you need to be. Where you are needed and where you can provide the most benefit to those around you.

And as you start your journey into the post-grad era of your life remember that your path will be unique and there is no point in comparing your path to others. With social media it is so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others or creating an alternate version of your life for others. In the end no one cares what you had for lunch and anyone that knows you, knows that you are not that pretty without a filter. #Truth True identity is not found in any app in your phone. Your identity is something that you are constantly earning; it is an ongoing and ever evolving process.

So for those of you graduating with a plan, good for you, you are on the right track, and for those of you graduating without a plan, good for you, you are on the right track. Remember that this is a world of infinite possibilities. Do not feel that your next step is the most important step you’ll ever take. It’s not. It is simply another step in the evolution of you.

Do not feel rushed to feel that sense of accomplishment. It took me 14 years and in invitation to speak at the Chicano commencement before I realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Los planes son geniales pero las metas son mejores. Plans are great, but goals are better.

A goal is not nearly as rigid as a plan. Your goal could simply be to help others, or to provide for you family. The path that your goals will take you, will be ever changing. No matter what goal you set for yourself today I can honestly tell you that achieving a goal will not come without hard work.

When I was in law school a professor shared this piece of advice that has stuck with me throughout the years. He said, ‘throughout your career you will encounter opposing counsel that will be smarter than you, more experienced than you, and with more resources than you, but they will not outwork you. That’s the part that you control.’

We cannot control our background, we cannot control our upbringing, we cannot control our gender, or race, or the state of the economy, we cannot control the cards we were dealt, but we can control how hard we work to achieve our goals.

We can control how late we stay and how early we arrive. We know that we cannot knock on doors and climb the ladder of success with our hands in our pockets. Most of us learned our work ethic from our parents. Before all the graduation celebrations are over make sure to thank your parents and those who supported you  for their hard work and sacrifice.

Así de duro como han trabajado para llegar aquí hoy, ellos han trabajado más duro para darles la oportunidad de estar aquí hoy. As hard as you have worked to get here today, they have worked harder to give you the opportunity to be here today.

Make sure to thank that entire community that is here for you, even the ones that didn’t get a ticket are happy and proud of you.

In fact, let’s thank them right now. Can I get all of the graduates to stand up for moment? OK, I want you to turn to the audience and give them a round of applause.

Class of 2017, as you leave here today, I would like for you to continue to think of Cal State Bakersfield as your home. This university has now been my home for over a decade. In fact, I continue to attend alumni events. Just a few days ago, I attended the Spring barbecue. In 2011, I studied for the bar exam on the third floor of the library. I left a pink sweater there that hopefully is still in lost and found. The point being is that this university is also part of your community of support.

In conclusion, I leave you with the following thought. The poet, Omar Kyaam, once said, “Not one returns to tell us of the road, which to discover we must travel ourselves.” I have returned to tell you that your road to self-discovery is just beginning. Embrace the journey ahead.

Enjoy your commencement festivities, you have earned every minute. Felicidades

Chain | Cohn | Stiles joins first-ever Bakersfield Marathon

November 2, 2016 | 9:02 am


For the first time in the history of Kern County, Bakersfield will be host to its first-ever 26-mile marathon that will run its course throughout the Greater Bakersfield area.

The Bakersfield Marathon — scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 13 — will take participants throughout iconic areas of Bakersfield including Stockdale Financial District, Kern County MuseumBakersfield College, and near Chain | Cohn | Stiles in downtown Bakersfield, among other locations. In fact, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to support the Bakersfield Marathon by sponsoring a water station in downtown Bakersfield.

The marathon will also feature tons of amenities for participants, onlookers and attendees alike. Learn more about the marathon and its features below.

 

MARATHON MUST-KNOW

The marathon will begin at the California State University, Bakersfield campus, with the finish at Kern River Parkway. This USATF-certified full marathon will begin at 7 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

The marathon will give local runners participate in a Boston-qualifying marathon in their hometown, earning an official USA Track & Field certification. Cash and other prizes will be given to marathon, half-marathon and 5K winners, including overall and age category winners.

The full event includes:

  • Full marathon (26.2 miles), beginning at 7 a.m.
  • Half marathon (13.1 miles), beginning at 7:15 a.m.
  • 2-person half-marathon relay (13.1 miles)
  • 5K fun run (3.1 miles), beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • Children’s quarter-mile and half-mile marathons, beginning at 10 a.m., for children ages 5 to 12 years old, and sponsored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. All participants will receive a medal.
  • Walker friendly course (around CSUB campus)

A festival area at CSU Bakersfield for the general public will open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, with food and beer area open shortly after. A health and fitness expo and packet pick-up event will also take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.

Nearly 1,000 runners from 55 cities, nine states and Canada have pre-registered for the marathon, according to a report from The Bakersfield Californian. Organizers David Milazzo and Charles Brown said they expected between 1,500 and 2,000 registrants by race day. Portions of the proceeds will benefit the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunner Scholarship Fund.

  • For street closures starting at 5 a.m. on race day in the Bakersfield area, click here. And to see a map of the marathon route, with street closures, click here.
  • To sign up to volunteer for the event, click here.
  • And to donate toward the cause, click here.

 

SPONSOR CHAIN | COHN | STILES

Having been in Bakersfield for more than 80 years, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is one with its community. The law firm year after year donates thousands to local causes, including several races, such as the annual Fog Run and Kern County Cancer Run. For the past three years, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has been a key organizer and sponsor of the annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash 5K for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

This year, we’re proud to sponsor and be a part of the inaugural Bakersfield Marathon, and helping keep runner hydrated during the race through a sponsored water station. Also, Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ own marketing director Jorge Barrientos, with wife Carla, were featured on the marathon promotional video, “I’ll Be Running,” which you can see here.

We hope you can join in, too, to make the first Bakersfield Marathon a huge success.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

OTHER RELATED COMMUNITY EVENTS

Chain | Cohn | Stiles gives back in October for scholarships, local nonprofits, cancer fight, more

October 19, 2016 | 8:49 am


So far this month, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has taken part in and supported several local programs that raise awareness of issues in our community, and raise funds to help our neighbors in need.

They include:

  • Tips for CHiPs: California Highway Patrol hosted its seventh “Tips for CHiPs” luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Outback Steakhouse in Bakersfield, with Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a gold sponsor. The fundraiser benefits the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which helps families whose loved ones are killed in or off the line of duty. The fund is organized by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, a nonprofit that represents about 11,000 active and retired CHP officers, and is dedicated to assisting families of CHP officers. The event raised more than $31,000 this year.
  • Kern County Cancer RunUnfortunately, the Chain | Cohn | Stiles extended family knows too well the effects of cancer in our community. But we were proud to join CBCC Foundation for Community Wellness at the Kern County Cancer Run on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Yokuts Park, aimed to raise funds and awareness, and to encourage our community to support local cancer patients.

And the month of giving back isn’t over for Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Here are a few more upcoming events and programs that you can join in supporting, too, and hopefully will make a big difference in our own community:

  • CSU Bakersfield Alumni Association’s Party in the Park: Funds raised for this annual party — held Friday, Oct. 21, at the CSUB Alumni Park — go toward alumni scholarships, membership outreach, and mentoring opportunities for current CSUB students. Three Chain | Cohn | Stiles associates are alumni of CSUB: Chad Boyles, Beatriz Trejo, and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller. Boyles is a member of the CSUB Alumni Association Board of Directors. For more information on the event, click here.
  • Olivia’s Heart Project Heart of Gold Gala: The vision of Olivia’s Heart Project is to increase awareness and prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in children and young adults through community heart screenings, education and increased accessibility to life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs). The gala, which Chain | Cohn | Stiles, is sponsoring, will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, at Four Points Sheraton.
  • American Cancer Society’s Valley of Hope: Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a “Supporting Sponsor” for this event that is aimed to finish the fight against cancer. Proceeds help local cancer patients stay well and get well, and find cures. The event is on Saturday, Oct. 22, at a private residence. For more information, click here.
  • American Heart Association Heart & Stroke Walk: The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event for raising funds to save lives from this country’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers — heart disease and stroke. The Oct. 22 event is designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living.
  • Steve Alvidrez Scholarship Poker Tournament: The annual poker tournament raises money for scholarships for students majoring in criminology or going into law enforcement in honor of former Kern High School District Chief of Police Steven V. Alvidrez, who was killed after being hit while on his motorcycle by a drunk driver.
  • Barbell for Boobs: Inspired by athletes everywhere, the nonprofit is dedicated to the early detection of breast cancer, with an emphasis on women and men under the age of 40. Locally, athletes will come together in an exercise event on Oct. 29, at KC Crossfit.

Outside of the work we do for injured victims, through community involvement, our law firm also supports a number of local organizations. See a full list of recent contributions and community involvement here.

New personal injury attorney joins Chain | Cohn | Stiles

January 20, 2016 | 6:00 am


The Bakersfield-based injury and workers’ compensation* law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has welcomed a new attorney to its team.

Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller has joined the personal injury department as an associate attorney, where she will assist injured residents of Kern County. The personal injury department team includes partners David Cohn, Matt Clark and Neil Gehlawat, and associate attorney Chad Boyles.

“I’m excited to join a passionate legal team at Chain | Cohn | Stiles that is committed to helping injured residents in our area,” Schoepfer-Altmiller said. “I, too, am passionate about helping those in need and serving my community.”

Schoepfer-Altmiller was born and raised in Valencia, and has been a resident of Bakersfield for 10 years. She graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She earned her master’s degree in clinical social work and a concentration on mental health from California State University, Bakersfield. She became an attorney after graduating from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She briefly attended Southwestern University School of Law.

Before becoming an attorney, Schoepfer-Altmiller worked as a family therapist, helping children housed in foster care and group homes, and also worked as a mental health clinician, assisting female inmates in correctional facilities.

As for legal work, Schoepfer-Altmiller has provided legal services to inmates through the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, worked as an extern for the Hon. Garrett L. Wong, and conducted legal work for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University.

Before joining Chain | Cohn | Stiles, she worked in the Law Offices of Michael Kilpatrick in Bakersfield, working as an associate attorney for family law cases.

Outside of the office, Schoepfer-Altmiller has a passion for horses. She has volunteered for Kern County’s M.A.R.E. program (Mastering Abilities Riding Equines), a nonprofit program that provides therapeutic equine assisted activities for the benefit of children and adults living with special needs and disabilities.

She also has a passion for serving her community, including mentoring and assisting those in foster care, and assisting others in the African-American community.

Schoepfer-Altmiller’s new role at Chain | Cohn | Stiles was featured in the Jan. 18, 2016 issue of The Bakersfield Californian‘s “People in Business” section. See it by clicking here.

Please join in welcoming Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller to Chain | Cohn | Stiles. To watch Felicia’s new “Meet the Attorneys” video, click here.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the values of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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Week of firm philanthropy includes fundraisers for disabled residents, alumni scholarships, families of fallen officers

October 21, 2015 | 8:59 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles this month is supporting several causes throughout Kern County including an event that raises funds to provide programs and services to local children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, another fundraiser to assist families of fallen officers throughout Kern County, and an event to provide scholarships to Cal State Bakersfield students.

Learn more about these causes, and others supported by the Bakersfield-based law firm, below:

CHiPs FOR TIPS

California Highway Patrol will host its sixth “Tips for CHiPs” luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Outback Steakhouse in Bakersfield, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles is serving as a sponsor.

The fundraiser benefits the California Association of Highway Patrolmen Widows and Orphans Trust Fund, which helps families whose loved ones are killed in or off the line of duty. The fund is organized by the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, a nonprofit that represents about 11,000 active and retired CHP officers, and is dedicated to assisting families of CHP officers.

At the luncheon, CHP officers serve diners and wait on tables. For $25, diners can choose from a menu of steak, chicken or salmon with all the trimmings. Side dishes include bread, salad, vegetables, mash potatoes, and, of course, the restaurant’s famous Bloomin’ Onion. Dessert is also included.

In six years, the organization has raised nearly $100,000 to assist local families, making Kern County’s event the single highest fundraising event for the Widows and Orphans Fund in California, organizers say.

Tickets are $25, and can be purchased at the door starting at 11 a.m. For more information, visit the Tips for CHiPs Facebook page by clicking here.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles for years has supported CHP causes and programs. Many times, the Kern County attorneys represent CHP officers in workers’ compensation* and personal injury cases.

To see previous news coverage of the event, click here.

NEW ADVANCES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

New Advances for People with Disabilities (NAPD) is hosting its 21st annual Friends of NAPD “Walter H. Cochneuer Memorial,” golf tournament on Friday, Oct. 23, at Buena Vista Golf Course.

The local nonprofit provides critical services every day to more than 500 children and adults in Kern County with intellectual and developmental disabilities to empower them to live more productive, rewarding and independent lives. The golf tournament helps make sure these services continue to be provided to these people in need.

To join Chain | Cohn | Stiles in getting involved, call 661-395-1361. For more information on NAPD, call 661-327-8531 or visit the web page here.

CSU BAKERSFIELD ALUMNI ASSOCIATION ‘PARTY IN THE PARK’

Cal State Bakersfield’s Alumni Association will host its annual “Party in the Park” on Friday evening, Oct. 23, at the CSUB Alumni Park.

Funds raised from the event go toward alumni scholarships, membership outreach, and mentoring opportunities for current CSUB students.

Two Chain | Cohn | Stiles associates are alumni of CSUB:

  • Chad Boyles earned his bachelor’s degree from CSUB before attending law school at Whittier Law School.
  • Beatriz Trejo earned her bachelor’s degree as well from CSUB before getting her master’s degree from Cal State Northridge and law degree from University of Akron School of Law.

For more information on the event, go to www.csub.edu/partyinthepark.

MORE OCTOBER COMMUNITY SERVICES

Here are a few other October events and causes supported by Chain | Cohn | Stiles. To see a list of organizations supported in recent years by the law firm, click here.

  • Nathan’s Army 5K, held Oct. 3, raises money to help cure pediatric brain tumors.
  • For the entire month of October, Chain | Cohn | Stiles lights at its new building in downtown Bakersfield will be shining pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. See a picture here.
  • The law firm served as a sponsor for the 99 Music Fest and the Supermoto Invitational Jump Start Classic.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Welcome our newest associate: Chad J.A. Boyles

April 29, 2014 | 10:55 am


The law firm of Chain | Cohn | Stiles recently welcomed its eighth attorney to serve Bakersfield and Kern County.

Chad J. A. Boyles, an associate with the firm, is focusing on personal injury and wrongful death cases. And like most of the attorneys at the law firm, Chad was born and raised in Bakersfield, and decided to serve in his hometown and the people of Kern County. He joins a team of attorneys who were raised on local soil, attended local schools, and after receiving a law school education, returned back home to serve.

Here’s a little more about Chad:

He graduated from Highland High School in 2002. He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from Cal State Bakersfield, where he was also a part of Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society. He then attended Whittier Law School where he served as Managing Editor of the Law Review, and had the honor of being published in the review. He graduated cum laude from Whittier in 2010.

After law school, Chad worked briefly in Pasadena before returning to Bakersfield and joining another local firm. For two years, he litigated state cases covering a wide variety of legal issues, including personal injury and civil rights. Chad has also provided advice and counseling to clients facing legal issues on a volunteer basis at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.

When he’s not working, Chad likes to cook, eat out at restaurants, and travel. He’s toured throughout the United States, studied abroad for a short time in France, and visited various other countries in Europe.

“I’m happy to be able to put my knowledge of our community to use in helping our clients,” Chad said.

If you have been seriously injured due to the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of another, call the Bakersfield personal injury lawyers, including Chad, at 661-323-4000. Also, find Chad on our website, chainlaw.com.

UPDATE: Chad has been featured in the “People in Business” section of The Bakersfield Californian. To see the article, click HERE.