James A. Yoro, veteran workers’ compensation* attorney and senior partner with Chain | Cohn | Stiles, has been named the 2017 president of the Kern County Bar Association.
Yoro was installed as president during the annual Kern County Bar Association Installation Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Bakersfield Country Club. He joins a long list of prominent local attorneys who have had the honor of leading the historic Kern County Bar Association as president. To see a full list, click here.
Additionally, Chain | Cohn | Stiles associate Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller was inducted as the vice chairwoman of the Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance. Other officers inducted into KCBA are Chris Hagan, vice president; Doug Gosling, treasurer; Joseph Hughes, secretary; and Isaac St. Lawrence, immediate past president.
Yoro, who is in his 35th year of serving Kern County as a workers’ compensation attorney, was introduced as president during the ceremony by longtime colleague David V. Stiles, of Chain | Cohn | Stiles. The biography below was featured in the event program, and was written by his two adult daughters, Carli Yoro and Kelsey Yoro-Bacay. Yoro was also featured in the February 2017 issue of the Kern County Bar Association monthly magazine, Res Ipsa Loquitur.
Jim Yoro has led a life that many would define as The American Dream. Jim was born in Manila, Philippines to Juliana and Cesario Yoro, a Filipino World War II veteran who served in the United States Army. Jim spent the first 4 years of his life living in the boarding house his parents ran for medical students attending the University of Santo Tomas, one of the oldest colleges in Asia. At 4, he immigrated to the United States as a U.S. Citizen with his mother after his father had established himself in the small, rural community of Bakersfield, California.
Jim had a traditional Catholic upbringing attending St. Francis elementary and middle school and Garces Memorial High School. He served as an altar boy at St. Francis church from the ages of 10 to 15. While attending Garces, a teacher suggested Jim take part in the school’s moot court exercises and Jim became enamored with the process. After graduating from Garces, he attended Bakersfield College for one year and then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley. In 1975, he graduated Cum Laude with a degree in political science and economics. Having fallen in love with the Bay Area and still interested in law, he obtained his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, then known as Boalt Hall.
Upon graduation, Jim fulfilled a promise to his mother to return to Bakersfield and serve his community as a lawyer at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, a non-profit legal aid. His first trial as a young attorney was a class action civil rights case in which Jim represented African American teenagers who had been kicked out of a local dance unfairly. After 3 years of practicing at GBLA, Jim joined a thriving, local firm then known as Chain, Younger, Jameson, Lemucchi, Noriega, Cohn and Stiles. After handling a family law, criminal defense and personal injury caseload, he found his stride as a worker’s compensation attorney and is now a Bar Certified specialist in Workers Compensation Law.
Jim continues to serve the greater Bakersfield community in several different capacities. Jim is currently a senior partner with the same firm, Chain, Cohn, and Stiles, where he has practiced law for over 30 years. Still devoted to his non-profit roots, Jim has served as the Chairman of the Board of GBLA and is currently on its Board of Directors. He is also on the board of the California Applicant’s Attorneys Association, a statewide organization of Workers’ Compensation Attorneys dedicated to advancing the interests of injured workers throughout the state. Jim has also been a past Board member for Kern Regional Center. For the last 6 years, Jim has had the privilege of serving the KCBA in a number of positions where he has been on various ad hoc committees and represented KCBA as a delegate at the 2012 CCBA Conference of Delegates. Throughout Jim’s legal career, he has tried and won cases at the Superior, Appellate and Supreme Court levels in California. Jim is honored to continue his service to KCBA and the greater Bakersfield legal community in the office of President.
As President, Jim hopes to promote the same value of service to the community that originally inspired him to pursue law. Jim would like to encourage all members of the bar association to do their part to contribute to the community whether that’s through pro bono work, volunteering for local mock trial competitions, or participating in local non-profit activities. Throughout Jim’s legal career, he has constantly been reminded that a life without cause is a life without effect and hopes to spread this message during his presidency.
Jim has been married to his lovely wife Reverie for 37 years and they have two wonderful daughters. Their eldest daughter Kelsey is an immigration attorney in Sacramento and recently married a young Central Valley doctor. Their youngest daughter Carli just graduated from her dad’s alma mater UC Berkeley and is working as an energy efficiency consultant for an Oakland based environmental company.
When Jim has free time, he enjoys attending sporting events, swimming, running with his dog, taking trips to the central coast with his wife, visiting Northern California to spend time with his daughters, and kicking his new son-in-law’s butt in fantasy football.
*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.