Local newspaper highlights 80-year history of ‘Chain’ law firm

December 23, 2014 | 8:40 am


This year — 2014 — has been a noteworthy one for Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Besides helping hundreds of injured victims get their lives back in order, the Bakersfield personal injury law firm this year was named “Best Law Firm” in Bakersfield.

The law firm in 2014 also commemorated its 80-year anniversary of serving the people of Kern County, San Joaquin Valley and throughout California.

Recently, The Bakersfield Californian‘s Eye Street lifestyle section featured an article on the law firm’s history, its founder Morris Chain, the staff and attorneys who have served under the Chain name, and on the firm’s longtime standing in downtown Bakersfield.

The article states:

When Morris B. Chain left the University of Southern California in 1934, law degree in hand, the fresh-faced lawyer didn’t find many help-wanted signs in Depression-era Bakersfield. So he made his own opportunity.

Opening a practice in the Haberfelde Building downtown, the Russian emigre, who grew up in Bakersfield, began laying the foundation for what would become one of the most prominent and longstanding law firms in the valley.

And now, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the practice’s founding, the film is on the move again. In 2015, the seven attorneys at what is now called Chain Cohn Stiles will set up shop in a newly purchased, 30,000-square-foot historical building at 18th Street and Chester Avenue, occupied most recently by the Goodwill Industries of South Central California. 

The view from the east-facing building: The Haberfelde Building, where Chain started it all.

“The greatest compliment you can get is from the little guy you do a lot of work for and who comes up and says thanks, you did a hell of a job,” Chain told The Californian in 1976. 

To read the full article on Bakersfield.com, click here.

The article continues to describe how Morris Chain started the firm, how the firm promoted diversity in the workplace, its movement throughout downtown Bakersfield offices, and the attorneys through the history of the firm. The article also featured several historical photos of the attorneys and staff.

The article continues:

At its largest stage, the Chain law firm had 18 attorneys and offered a multitude of legal services, including family law and criminal defense. Today, the firm focuses only on personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.

In 1990, it moved from its headquarters on Truxtun Avenue and M Street into the Bank of America building on Truxtun and Chester. The name was changed to Chain, Cohn, Stiles in 2009, and the practice now employs seven attorneys: David Cohn, managing partner, who has been with the firm 40 years; partner David Stiles, with the firm 37 years; partner James Yoro, with the firm 32 years; partner Matt Clark, who joined in 2006; and associates Marshall Frasher, Chad Boyles and Neil Gehlawat. Nicole Jaramillo will join Chain Cohn Stiles in 2015.

Through the years, it was important to keep the Chain name on the firm’s masthead as a symbol to local civic and community effort, Cohn said.

“The name takes us back to our roots. Morris Chain’s mission to stand up for the little guy is what founded this firm, and influences everything we do 80 years later, even those of us coming after him. It’s the guiding principal of everything we do.”

To learn more about the Chain firm, visit the website www.chainlaw.com.