Chain | Cohn | Stiles sponsors scholarships during annual ‘El Grito’ ceremony in downtown Bakersfield

September 25, 2019 | 6:00 am


Hundreds came together on Sept. 15 at the Liberty Bell in front of Kern County Superior Court to celebrate the annual “El Grito de Dolores,” a major celebration in Mexico that marks the country’s fight for independence against Spanish rule.

The evening included folkloric dancers, mariachi and banda music groups, and a scholarship recognition ceremony led by a representative from Chain | Cohn | Stiles honoring 16 Kern County students and scholarship recipients. Learn more about the scholarship program below.

The featured entertainment included Sonora Explosiva, Banda Orgullosa, Mariachi Toro’s de Mexico, Brian Anaya (La Vox Kids), Ballet Folklorico Huaztecalli, Floreo de Soga and more. Other attractions included face painting by Fabulous Faces by Nallely! and a street fair with food vendors and informational booths.

The celebration also included a live feed from the Mexican city of Dolores where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador led a reenactment of El Grito. Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16. The Grito, which occurred in the small Mexican town of Dolores, was the rallying call made by a Roman Catholic priest in front of his church to the battle against Spain.

The was the seventh year of El Grito celebration in Bakersfield, organized by the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, which includes foundation chairman and Chain | Cohn | Stiles marketing director Jorge Barrientos.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

The Bakersfield accident, injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles each year sponsors student scholarships presented during El Grito celebration. This year, joining Chain | Cohn | Stiles in funding scholarships was Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, Rabobank, Valley Republic Bank, Beautiful You Medical Aesthetics, and XM Garcia Law.

The sponsors, in partnership with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Education Foundation, awarded 16-$250 scholarships to local students in pursuit of higher education, and who are giving back in various ways to our community. This year, the foundation received more than 250 applications from students throughout Kern County.

“We were thoroughly impressed by the students’ dedication to education, community service, and promising future outlook,” said KCHCC Business Education Foundation chairman Jorge Barrientos. “Many of them are first-generation U.S. students, and the first to attend a university in their families. Some of them are even DREAMers, pursuing their dreams regardless of obstacles in their way. We award scholarships to help them pursue their educational goals.”

Here are this year’s student scholarship recipients:

  • Carlos Alberto Aguilar
  • Christopher Aldaco
  • Monica Ascencio
  • Rafael Castellanos
  • Jazmin Jimenez Castro
  • Serina Ishida
  • Destiny Jimenez
  • Alondra Macario
  • Nancy Maldonado
  • Karen Martinez
  • Angel Daniel Mendoza
  • Audrie Michael
  • Andres Ramirez
  • Guadalupe Sanchez
  • Nimsy Soto
  • Omar Vences Vergara

———

If you or someone you know is injured in an accident, please call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or chat with us online at chainlaw.com.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles: ‘Standing for Justice’ in Kern County for 85 Years

June 26, 2019 | 6:00 am


The year is 1934. The great Dust Bowl storm is sweeping across the Great Plains of the United States. Donald Duck premieres on television. And the FBI kills Bonnie and Clyde in a shootout in a Louisiana.

It’s also the year Morris B. Chain first set up shop in the Haberfelde Building in downtown Bakersfield. The Russian immigrant who grew up in Bakersfield had recently earned his law degree from University of Southern California and struggled to find a law firm that would hire a fresh-faced attorney. It was, after all, during the Great Depression era when “help wanted” signs were nowhere to be found. So, he made his own opportunity. He opened his own law practice, and began laying the foundation for what would become one of Central Valley’s most prominent and longstanding law firms, one whose mission became to fight for the everyday working man and woman.

The firm’s name has changed through the years — using variations of the law firm partners, including “Chain-Younger” for many years — but several things have remained constant. The most obvious: the Chain namesake has remained, and the firm today is known Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Another constant: For 85 years, the firm has been firmly cemented in downtown Bakersfield, and its office dedicated to helping our area’s residents in their time of greatest need.

For 2019, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is marking the 85-year anniversary in several ways:

  • The law firm is giving back to the community it has called home for 85 years. The law firm donated $10,000 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center in an effort to combat our community’s homeless epidemic, specifically the homeless center’s job skills training program and street cleaning team focusing on downtown Bakersfield.
  • Chain | Cohn | Stiles has released several videos focused on the history of the law firm. In the videos, law firm partners David Cohn, Jim Yoro, and Matt Clark share stories of the law firm’s origins, and its values that remain true today. Videos include:
  • The firm is serving as the presenting sponsor for the 2019 “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash” — benefiting the Kern County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving — to help raise awareness of the DUI problem locally, help crash victims, and help fundraise for local educational programs.
  • Chain | Cohn | Stiles is giving away items branded with the firm’s anniversary logo, including bags, portable chargers, and gift cards!
  • The law firm was featured as one of three organizations inducted into the inaugural “Best of Kern County” Hall of Fame, awarded to organizations with a long history of excellence in their respective fields, and who also give back to our community.
  • More is still to come! Stay tuned for surprises commemorating Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ 85-year anniversary.

As for the history of the law firm, The Bakersfield Californian in 2014 featured an article on what was then the law firm’s 80-year anniversary. You can read that article below, which has been updated to include news from the last five years, as well as several relevant links at the bottom of the page.

———

BAKERSFIELD ROOTS

Though born in Russia in 1904, Morris Chain developed his Bakersfield roots early. His father ran a store on 19th Street, and Chain attended Kern County Union High School and Bakersfield Junior College.

At BC, Chain is credited for coming up with the nickname “Renegades” while on the football team. It was in school, too, where Chain developed his love for drama, participating in speech, debate and theater – skills he would use throughout his career in the courtroom.

Known as a showman, Chain was also hard-working and aggressive. Making little money after opening his shop in 1934, he worked long 18-hour days, investigating his own cases with camera and subpoenas in hand. Car-less, he hitched rides with prosecuting attorneys on cases he was defending.

“If young lawyers today had to go through what I went through, I don’t think they would even enter the profession,” he told The Bakersfield Californian in 1976.

The hard work led to success. Chain moved into the Sill Building in 1938, on 18th Street and Chester Avenue, where he would become known for taking on some of the highest-profile criminal cases in the area, while also helping the everyday person.

In Chain’s obituary in 1977, Californian columnist Eddie Griffith wrote that “this stemmed from his continued life-long interest in the ‘little guy’ and the problem of the downtrodden, generally.”

“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 Bakersfield California.

With success, Chain’s team grew.

 

LOCAL LEADING LAWYERS 

The firm’s attorneys would also become servants to the local community, becoming leaders in local and statewide Democratic politics, labor and the arts, following Chain’s lead to serve the hometown. Most of the lawyers through the firm’s 80 years, including today, were either born or raised locally.

In 1936, Chain ran for Kern County District Attorney, but lost. Chain received the coveted Kern County Bench and Bar Award in 1976, recognizing outstanding service to the administration of justice and the legal profession.

In the 1970s, the firm moved over to the building on Truxtun Avenue and M Street. The year Chain died, 1977, he was praised for being “one of the most remarkable men in the history of the community and certainly in the history of the legal community of Kern County,” according to a Californian article on his death.

Through the 1980s, the firm was ahead of the curve in race relations in Bakersfield, including forming relationships with the local Sikh community, and hiring Latino, black and Asian attorneys and staff.  Whites numbered 80 percent of the Kern County population, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, but the minority population was ever increasing (today Latinos make up more than 50 percent).

“The firm promoted diversity long before it was even discussed in the mainstream,” said Robert Tafoya, Kern County Superior Court judge and attorney at Chain, Younger, Cohn and Stiles in the 1990s. “They were visionaries in having a diverse workforce.”

Tafoya joined the firm even after opening his own firm, calling the Chain firm “a major player in the community.”

“I was a fly on the wall, watching and asking questions,” Tafoya said. “I learned a lot at the firm about serving the community.”

The firm’s stellar reputation also attracted Gary Ingle – a retired Kern County Superior Court judge and attorney at the firm from the late 1970s to early 1980s.

“In my mind, the firm had the best reputation in town,” Ingle said. “They had flashy cases, but they were smart lawyers who made some good law.”

He continued: “The attorneys at the firm have always advertised themselves as being the working man’s attorney. I think that’s truly the case.”

In the courtroom, the law firm’s staff focused on making the world safer, said David Cohn, current managing attorney.

Since the Chain era, case results at the firm have led to significant changes: oilfield equipment and machinery have been made safer to reduce injuries, child car seats now require crash testing to make them more reliable, and turkey fryers have been revamped to prevent burns and injuries, for example.

Still today, the attorneys at firm remain at the forefront of civil law. The firm continues to take on high-profile wrongful death, work accident, and other personal injury cases.

Among its current lawyers, James Yoro is one of the most veteran workers’ compensation lawyers in the state, having appeared in front of the Supreme Court; Cohn continues to be lead counsel on some of the highest profile civil cases in Kern County; and Matt Clark, 42, has regularly been recognized in legal circles as a top up-and-coming attorney.

 

85 YEARS

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 accidents, injuries and workers’ compensation cases.

In 1990, the firm moved into the Bank of America building on Truxtun and Chester avenues, where it remained for 25 years. The law firm’s name changed to its current title to Chain | Cohn | Stiles in 2009, and today includes seven attorneys. Continuing a legacy of diversity, the firm includes Yoro, a Filipino; Beatriz Trejo, a rising leader in Kern County’s Latino community; and Tanya Alsheikh, who is fluent in Arabic.

As for advocacy and community commitment, the firm continues to take on cases aimed “to make our world better,” Cohn said, while also donating time and effort to local worthy causes. The firm is a presenting sponsor and organizer of a walk and run hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Kern County, gives away hundreds of bicycle lights and safety helmets each year with Bike Bakersfield, and this year donated to a Bakersfield Homeless Center program to combat our area’s homeless epidemic.

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,” Cohn said. “Morris Chain’s mission to stand up for the little guy is what founded this firm, and influences everything we do 85 years later – even those of us coming after him. It’s the guiding principal of everything we do.”

In 2015, the firm moved into a 30,000-square-foot historical building at 18th Street and Chester Avenue – occupied previously by the Goodwill Industries of South Central California.

“This move came at a special time, as we celebrated our 80th anniversary,” Cohn told media during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building. “We hope this new office will better serve our clients, and will help in the ongoing revitalization of downtown Bakersfield. And we look forward to serving Kern County for another 80 years.”

In recent year, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has been inducted into the inaugural “Best of Kern County Hall of Fame,” awarded to men, women, businesses, and organizations with a long history of excellence in their respective fields, and who also give back to our community. The law firm has also been selected for inclusion in the 2019 “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report.

Still, the new home of the firm is stark contrast to the way Chain first started his career, said local historian Gilbert Gia. But the law firm’s new home will have a view of Chain’s previous homes, including his first office in the Haberfelde building.

“When we look at the law firm today, we see a monolithic edifice, but the law firm started out in humble beginnings,” Gia said. “The firm today, inside of the walls, seems to be sticking to its roots.”

 

THE CHAIN GANG

Here are a few local attorneys, judges and legal professionals who have worked at the law firm founded by Morris Chain:

JUDGES

  • Gary Ingle: Kern County Superior Court judge, practiced in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Stephen Schuett: Kern County Superior Court judge, practiced at Chain in the 1980s.
  • Louis P. Etcheverry: Kern County Superior Court judge, practiced in the 1980s.
  • Robert Tafoya: Kern County Superior Court judge, practiced from 1995 to 2002.

CHAIN | COHN | STILES TODAY

  • David Cohn: Current managing partner, having served under the Chain name for nearly 45 years.
  • James Yoro: Partner, managing the workers’ compensation division, who has worked at Chain for 34 years.
  • Matt Clark: Partner, joining the firm in 2006.
  • Associates: Tanya Alsheikh, Chad Boyles, Doug Fitz-Simmons, and Beatriz Trejo.
  • With the exception of Fitz-Simmons, all attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles were raised in Bakersfield.

NO LONGER PRACTICING

  • Paul Busacca: Partner in the 1970s and 1980s, now deceased.
  • Paul Welchans: Practiced at the Chain firm for 30 years, retired in 2012.
  • John Tello: Served at the Chain firm from the early 1980s until 2004.

IN HISTORY

  • Morris B. Chain: Namesake and founder of the Chain law firm; died in 1977.
  • Milton Younger: Joined Chain full time in 1956, and remained at the firm for 53 years; he died in 2018.
  • Timothy Lemucchi: Joined Chain in 1965, and remained at the firm for 30 years; now practices at Law Office of Timothy Lemucchi.
  • Leonard Winters: Investigator working directly with Chain at the firm for more than three decades. He joined Chain after first helping him in 1946 in his unsuccessful campaign for Kern County District Attorney – reportedly one of the only investigators working for an attorney at the time; now deceased.
  • Noriegas: Al Noriega, now deceased, began as a law clerk working directly with Chain. His son, James Edward Noriega, would also go on to work at the firm. He now practices at Law Office of James E. Noriega.
  • Daniel Rodriguez: Worked at the Chain law firm through the 1980s; now practices at Rodriguez & Associates.
  • Others: Rod Williams, Dustin Jameson, Todd Berry, Frank Butkiewicz, Scott Fontes, Stephen Klink, Indra Lahiri.

———

YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN …

Everything you need to know about riding Bakersfield’s electric scooters safely

December 12, 2018 | 6:00 am


The birds are soaring in Bakersfield — the electric scooters from the company “Bird,” that is.

About 200 of the Bird electric scooters, or e-scooters, have been scattered throughout Bakersfield, mostly downtown, “to help meet the town’s need for transit options that are accessible, affordable, and reliable,” according to the company. They have gained popularity across the United States and Europe in recent years. Closer to Kern County, several e-scooter companies have planted their wheels in Los Angeles.

But the e-scooters also come with controversy, due, in part, to their safety concerns.

News reports have highlighted injuries on pedestrians hit by scooters and on scooter riders themselves including chipped teeth, cut lips, broken bones, bruises, and worse. A 29-year-old San Diego man who had been drinking alcohol suffered life-threatening injuries after crashing a rented scooter into a building in Pacific Beach. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered serious head injuries, police said.

For its part, Bird states the following: “At Bird, safety is our very top priority and it drives our mission to get cars off the road to make cities safer and more livable.”

With the e-scooter ride-share launch in Kern County, the Bakersfield-based accident and injury lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles wishes to provide some tips for riding the e-scooters, as well as rules for sharing the road safely.

 

Before you Bird

Here’s how the Bird scooters work:

  • The scooters work through an app downloaded onto smartphones.
  • The app will locate available electric scooters nearby and, for a per-minute fee, people ride the electric scooters to their destination, leaving the scooter wherever the trip ends.
  • It costs about a $1 to rent the scooter, plus 15 cents a minute to use.
  • A group of scooter “chargers” go out at night to pick up the scooters and recharge them, collecting a fee per scooter.

The scooters move at a maximum of 15 miles per hour, but riders must obey the rules of the road (see below). The scooters will only be available during the day. After dark, a Bird contractor gathers the scooters for recharging and maintenance, and then drops the scooters off at predetermined areas in time for the next morning’s ride.

 

Rules of the Road

Once you’re ready to ride, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Wear a helmet: Bird offers free helmets to all active riders. Just cover shipping. You can request your helmet in the “Safety” section in the Bird app.
  • Where to ride: Care for pedestrians. No riding on sidewalks unless local law requires or permits — it endangers members of our community who want to walk freely. We’re all in this together, so let’s be good neighbors and look out for one another. Ride in bike lanes or close to the right curb.
  • Where to Park: Park e-scooters out of the public right of way — keeping walkways, driveways, access ramps, and fire hydrants clear. Park scooters close to the curb, facing the street near designated bike or scooter parking areas, trees, or street signs. Make sure your kickstand is securely in the down position so that the scooter stays upright. Avoid uneven surfaces like grass, gravel, rocks, or inclines.
  • Rules of the Road: You must be at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license to ride. Only one rider per vehicle. Follow all traffic rules including street signs and stop signs. Use caution at crosswalks
  • Use Caution: Be aware of surrounding traffic, especially at intersections. Always be aware of surrounding traffic, especially at intersections – cars are your biggest risk. Start off slowly while you get used to the accelerator and brakes. No one-handed rides. Put down the phone and coffee cup. No headphones – listen to what’s around you. Don’t ride if you’ve been drinking alcohol.

 

Scooters Safety News

Bird launched what it calls a pledge to “Save Our Sidewalks” and has asked the CEOs of other similar companies to join, including Limebike, Ofo, Mobike and Jump. Each company would commit to reducing street clutter by putting their bikes and scooters only where they are used, to refrain from expanding unless vehicles are used three times a day, and to remitting $1 per vehicle per day to cities for bike lanes and safety programs.

In other related news, Bike Bakersfield, local bike safety and advocacy nonprofit, reportedly is working with city officials to bring electric scooters and electric bicycles to Bakersfield though a state grant. However, other U.S. cities have steered clear of the e-scooters. Miami banned them, and Nashville seized the scooters once they blocked public rights of way and caused accidents soon after the uninvited rollout. San Diego started giving out tickets to riders not wearing a helmet, and San Francisco began impounding the scooters and issuing a cease-and-desist order after the companies launched their services in the city without asking.

California Legislature introduced a bill that would allow anyone 18 and older to ride without helmets. Bird is the bill’s sponsor. Chain | Cohn | Stiles recommends you continue to use a helmet, for your safety.

Local media reported on Dec. 12 that Bakersfield city officials were working with Bird for the next 6 to 12 months through what they called a “pilot program.”

———

Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Matt Clark discussed concerns about e-scooter safety in Bakersfield on KERN Radio’s “Richard Beene Show.” Click here to listen to the segment.

———

If you or someone you know is injured in a scooter accident at the fault of someone else, please contact the attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or chat with us online at chainlaw.com.

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.

———

MEDIA COVERAGE

OTHER RELATED COMMUNITY EVENTS

Chain | Cohn | Stiles nominated for Beautiful Bakersfield award

June 22, 2016 | 5:45 am


Each year, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that help improve the quality of life in Bakersfield, and honors them during the annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards gala.

For 2016, nominations were received in 17 categories including humanitarian, arts and culture, education, and businessperson of the year, among many others.

For its work in helping revitalize downtown Bakersfield with a six-month, seven-figure renovation of an old 30,000 square-foot building — the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles was nominated for a Beautiful Bakersfield award in the “renovation/tenant improvement” category.

Learn a little more about the accident and injury law firm’s recognition, as well as the awards program, here:

 

Revitalizing downtown Bakersfield

Chain | Cohn | Stiles turned one of the city’s oldest building into a modern workplace that helped to contribute to ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Bakersfield.

After spending 30 years in the Bank of America building on Chester and Truxtun avenues, the 80-year-old local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into a new building in August 2015. The six-month, seven-figure renovation of the 30,000 square-foot building on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street has changed the landscape of one of downtown Bakersfield’s most historic intersections. With the help of architect Paul Skarphol and contractor Dave Whitezell, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took a shell of a building that once housed Goodwill Industries and sat vacant for nearly three years, and turned it into a modern workplace for the 30-employee firm.

Some of the work included cutting new windows into 17-inch reinforced concrete walls on the north side of the building, creating a new internal work space and completely renovating the entire first floor, repainting the exterior and adding signs and lights around the exterior to shine on downtown Bakersfield. The law firm has worked with Boss Pizza and Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to install lights and other efforts to make the alleyway and nearby area safer.

Additionally, the firm added “green elements” including energy-efficient lighting and a cutting-edge climate control system. The front lobby – with hanging ring lights and a glass lit logo sign – with a connecting large conference room are welcoming sights for clients, visitors, media and others who have used the new space. In fact, these areas are often used by other local organizations for meetings and gatherings – including Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kern County’s regular meetings.

To add an aesthetic feel downtown, the logos have the ability to change colors, and have been changed to observe various holidays and designated dates throughout the year (red for Go Red for Women, pink for breast cancer awareness, etc.)

At one point, all buildings in the corners at the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street sat vacant – a dark visual of the depressed business area in downtown Bakersfield. Opening an established, thriving business office in the area was “a hopeful sign for the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core,” according to The Bakersfield Californian.

For its work, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has already received the Downtown Beautification Project award from the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.

 

And the winner is …  

The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards has been held annually since the 1990s and this year was held June 4 at the Double Tree Hotel, hosted by KGET Channel-17’s Jim Scott and Tami Mlcoch. To see the complete awards program, filmed by TBC Media, click here, and individual category awards can be viewed here. A full list of winners can be seen here.

The “Renovation/Tenant Improvement” award ultimately was awarded to Bakersfield Pediatrics and Valley Children’s Hospital, and you can view the category presentation here.

In a letter to Chain | Cohn | Stiles, president and CEO of the Greater Chamber of Commerce Nicholas Ortiz thanked the law firm for “playing such an active role in our city’s advancement and making such a positive difference in our community.”

“Your nomination pays tribute to the time, effort and commitment that you so generously gave to enhance and improve our community’s quality of life,” Ortiz wrote.

New story for old building: The Bakersfield Californian features law firm’s move

July 29, 2015 | 10:00 am


Bakersfield oldest personal injury law firm has officially moved into its new home that is just as storied in Kern County as Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

On Monday, the 80-year-old Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into 1731 Chester Avenue, on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street. The Bakersfield Californian, in a Sunday feature story, wrote about the law firm’s move and the history of the firm’s new home.

“It’s an old two-story — no one can say precisely how old, but old,” the article states. “Most recently a Goodwill store, the structure has been home to a succession of banks for most of its long life. But it will have yet another use Monday: Chain Cohn Stiles officially puts out its shingle after a six-month, seven-figure renovation that has brought energy and commotion to a downtown corner quiet and forlorn since 2012.”

What remains of the history of the 1930s-era building are three bank vaults, one with a working ventilator, an incinerator, and a demarcation of the structure, designed by noted Bakersfield architect Charles H. Biggar.

To read the complete article, including a timeline of the history of the new Chain | Cohn | Stiles building and pictures from history, click here.

Today, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is operating personal injury and workers’ compensation* practice in a new, (old) building — its fifth home, all of which have been in downtown Bakersfield. Founder Morris Chain opened his firm’s doors in 1934 in the Haberfelde Building. Later, the firm moved to the Sill Building, which is across the street from the new building on Chester Avenue. After 20 years at its M Street home starting in 1970, the firm spent the last 25 years in the Bank of America building.

Now, Chain | Cohn | Stiles is part of the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core. As senior partner Matt Clark said: “We like to think that, in some small part, we’re going to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Bakersfield.” The law firm’s partners — managing partner David Cohn, senior partner and workers’ compensation attorney James Yoro and Matt Clark — purchased the building last fall.

The building also includes better parking for clients and more office space, all while staying rooted in downtown Bakersfield.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles recently unveiled new videos aimed to inform Kern County residents of the move. The 30-second commercial is airing now throughout Kern County.

To watch the video, in English or in Spanish, click here.

———-

MEDIA COVERAGE

 

Kern Business Journal highlights law firm’s purchase of downtown Bakersfield building

December 12, 2014 | 10:00 am


Recently, The Bakersfield Californian highlighted the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core, and the hopeful signs with investment suddenly pouring into the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street in downtown Bakersfield.

The article included the news that Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles completed its purchase of the two-story space at the intersection.

“We like to think that, in some small part, we’re going to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Bakersfield,” said Matt Clark, partner at Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

This week, the Kern Business Journal also highlighted the news, which you can read by clicking here, or by reading the article below.

The Kern Business Journal is a bi-monthly publication printed by The Bakersfield Californian that showcases business and industry developments across Kern County. To read the latest December-January issue of the Kern Business Journal, or read past issues, click here to visit its website.

To read The Bakersfield Californian’s article that highlights Chain | Cohn | Stiles’ purchase of the downtown building, click here. The law firm plans to move into the building in 2015.

———-

Chain Cohn Stiles law firm purchases historic building in downtown Bakersfield

Since 1870, the southwest corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue in downtown Bakersfield has been home to vital businesses.

It was the site of the first Kern Valley Bank until it closed in 1911, and would remain home to several other banks in the century that followed including National Bank, Crocker-Anglo Bank, and most currently Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual.

Goodwill Industries took over the 30,000 square-foot building in the 2000s until it moved out three years ago. The building has been empty since – until now.

Chain Cohn Stiles, the longtime Bakersfield-based personal injury law firm, will soon call the two-story building at 1731 Chester Avenue home after purchasing it in October.

Chain Cohn Stiles plans to occupy the ground floor and lease out the upper level, and possibly basement space, after it completes improvements to the building. The purchase includes a small parking lot to the west, on Eye Street. The firm also expects to install parking at an east-west alleyway south of the building for clients, many of whom have been disabled by some kind of injury.

Historically speaking, the purchase couldn’t have come at a better time – the law firm is commemorating 80 years in Bakersfield this year. Through that time, the law firm has served clients in downtown Bakersfield, a central location that’s also near Kern County’s courtrooms. For the past several decades, Chain Cohn Stiles has occupied space in the nearby Bank of America building.

Along with other nearby development, The Bakersfield Californian recently called the law firm’s purchase of the building “a hopeful sign for the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core.” The partners at Chain Cohn Stiles agree.

“We like to think that, in some small part, we’re going to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Bakersfield,” said Matt Clark, partner at Chain Cohn Stiles.

CCS plans move into historical downtown Bakersfield building

October 13, 2014 | 10:47 am


Last week, Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles completed the purchase of its next home — a two-story building in the heart of downtown Bakersfield.

As has been highlighted in local media reports this past week, the law firm is proud to be part of a continued revitalization of historical downtown Bakersfield.

This weekend, The Bakersfield Californian featured an article on the front page of Sunday’s newspaper discussing the “continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core,” in particular the investment pouring into the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street.

The four buildings on the intersection are in the process of being occupied, or increasing efforts to have them occupied in the near future, The Californian reported.

“Taken together, these and other changes at the intersection could signal a return to basics for an area trying to reinvent itself to bring more people back to downtown,” according to The Californian.

CCS attorney and partner Matt Clark told The Californian he optimistic and the future of the area, and is part of the reason the firm purchased the 33,000-square-foot building and a small parking lot to the west of the building. The firm will also install parking in the alleyway south of the building for clients, many of whom have been disabled by some kind of injury. The article reads:

Matt Clark, a partner at the firm that has existed downtown for its entire 80-year history, said leaving the area was never a serious option, considering its central location and proximity to courthouses.

But another factor in the decision to vacate the nearby Bank of America building was a perception that downtown is “on a real upswing,” Clark said.

“We like to think that, in some small part, we’re going to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Bakersfield,” he said.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has been part of downtown Bakersfield for its entire 80-year history. The southwest corner of the intersection where CCS’ new home will next sit has been home to other historical buildings. The Kern Valley Bank was established in 1874 on the grounds as the first bank incorporated in Kern County. Goodwill Industries pulled out of the building three years ago. 

Chain | Cohn | Stiles will occupy the ground floor and lease out the upper level after it completes improvements to the building’s interior and exterior. For CCS clients, the new location will include better parking and more office space, while still remaining easily accessible in the heart of downtown Bakersfield.

Stay tuned for more information on CCS’ planned move into the building at 1731 Chester Avenue.

——-

MEDIA COVERAGE