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.

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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.

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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.

Local magazine highlights law firm’s 80-year anniversary

December 3, 2014 | 9:31 am


Eighty years ago, Morris B. Chain set up shop in the Haberfelde building in downtown Bakersfield. He quickly became one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most prolific attorneys, and laid the foundation for one of Kern County’s leading law firms, Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Bakersfield Life Magazine, in its latest December issue, highlighted the Bakersfield-based personal injury law firm’s 80-year anniversary, which is this year.

You can view the article by clicking here.

The article continues:

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“Chain led a successful practice that, through the years, has been filled mostly with attorneys and staff with deep local roots. Like Chain, their mission has been to fight for ‘the little guy.’

Today, the firm that still bears the Chain name is celebrating 80 years in Bakersfield. Though the name has changed through the years, today’s law firm, Chain Cohn Stiles, remains one of the best-known legal firms in Kern County.

This year, Chain Cohn Stiles has finalized the purchase of a historic 30,000-square-foot building at the southwest corner of 18th Street and Chester Avenue. The firm will move in 2015, opening yet another chapter for Kern County’s oldest personal injury law firm, while continuing to serve clients in downtown Bakersfield.

For more on Morris Chain, the firm’s history and anniversary, and other firm news, go to Chainlaw.com.

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The Kern County law firm throughout 2014 has commemorated its 80-year anniversary in various ways, including partnering with the City of Bakersfield in a freeway litter cleanup project.

In the same issue of Bakersfield Life, the magazine featured an advertisement by Chain | Cohn | Stiles that highlighted the testimonial of a real-life client. It read:

“If you’re not sure what to do, come in and talk to them. That’s what we did. I was scared to death after the accident. I’ve never gone through any of this, and I didn’t want to go through by myself. It would have been easy to get taken advantage of by our insurance company. But the law firm took care of us, and took care of everything. Thank God for them. They have high integrity.”

Click here to view the testimonial and advertisement.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles has served its community for 80 years, and looks forward to continuing to serve for many more. If you are injured due to the fault of another, or are seeking workers’ compensation assistance, contact the law firm at 661-323-4000 or visit the website Chainlaw.com.

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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.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles partners with Bakersfield College ‘Renegades’ this season

August 11, 2014 | 10:10 am


Bakersfield College recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The Bakersfield personal injury law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles this year is celebrating 80 years.

For the two local institutions, a partnership is only natural. The two Bakersfield staples are partnering this year to help bring all Bakersfield College “Renegades” football games to the people of Kern County.

The BC and Chain | Cohn | Stiles partnership is made possible because of another partnership between Bakersfield staples — BC and The Bakersfield Californian. The local newspaper, its affiliated publication and digital products (together called TBC Media) are partnering to bring Renegades football games in video to Bakersfield.com for the 2014 season.

For the first time, all 10 of Bakersfield College’s 2014 football games will be live streamed in video on Bakersfield.com and GoGades.com, where video highlights from the games will also be available for instant viewing.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles for the 2014-15 season has signed on to sponsor the Renegade football team. You’ll see local law firm in the football game programs distributed at each game (the picture above is from the full-page ad that will be highlighted in the football program — see it full screen here). You’ll see the newest commercials from the law firm airing during the live streamed football games. And you’ll also hear the law firm’s radio commercials when the games are broadcast on Newstalk KERN 1180 AM.

You can watch all of the law firm’s latest commercials by visiting a previous Blogging For Justice post HERE.

To listen to our two radio commercials that will air on KERN 1180, click the links below:

For Chain | Cohn | Stiles, the partnership is also natural because the law firm’s founder Morris Chain is credited for inventing the name “Renegades” for Bakersfield College. Chain played BC football for three years himself. Recently, the law firm accepted the “100 Stars Award” on Chain’s behalf (he died in 1977), awarded to 100 alumni, retirees and community members who had a great impact on Bakersfield College. See a previous blog post about this HERE.

The Renegades start their 2014 season at 6 p.m. Sept. 6 on road at Riverside City College. Bakersfield College returns to Memorial Stadium the following week, Sept. 13, for a 6 p.m. game against Golden West. Each game webcast will feature pre-game and post-game show.

To watch the games online, go to Bakersfield.com. TBC Media will build a section where all of the highlights, full games and other content will be stored for on-demand viewing.

New Chain | Cohn | Stiles ad thanks Bakersfield, Kern County for voting us ‘the best’

June 12, 2014 | 8:48 am


The words are simple and sincere: “Thank you for making us Kern County’s best law firm. We stand for justice for you — the people of Kern County.”

This is the message that the Bakersfield-based personal injury law firm of Chain | Cohn | Stiles had for the entire Kern County community who voted the firm as “Best Law Firm” for 2014, and managing partner David K Cohn as a “favorite” lawyer.

The honors were unveiled in the May issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine, which is the “Best of Bakersfield” issue, where winners of The Bakersfield Californian’s Readers Choice Poll are announced each year. In that issue, CCS was chosen as the best law firm, and Cohn was chosen as one of the top three lawyers in Bakersfield. In fact, three lawyers at CCS — Cohn, Matt Clark and David Stiles — were nominated for the honor.

In the following June issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine, Chain | Cohn | Stiles wanted to thank those who voted for the law firm, and its lawyers, as the best in town. The law firm decided to feature a full-page ad in the June issue, thanking our Bakersfield community for choosing us. See the full ad HERE.

In the same issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine, CCS was featured in the Business Profile section for its 80-year anniversary. Included in the feature were various relevant questions and answer, such as:

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What is the history of Chain | Cohn | Stiles in Bakersfield?

Our law firm was founded in 1934 by Morris B. Chain, a local legend in Kern County courtrooms. Eventually, the firm developed practices in personal injury, wrongful death and social security disability, which are the core of the firm today. Some of the most respected names in local law were bred out of this firm, and our current attorneys continue to be the most respected in their fields – not only in Bakersfield and Kern County, but across the state.

Chain died in 1977, but his values are carried on today by David K. CohnDavid V. Stiles, six other dedicated attorneys and the firm’s professional staff.

How does Chain | Cohn | Stiles stand out from other firms today? 

As the oldest personal injury law firm in Bakersfield, with our attorneys and staff bred locally, we have an extra edge that a firm outside of Kern County – or in Kern County for that matter – would never have. We care about Kern County, and we hold those accountable to make sure our residents are treated properly.

What firm accomplishments stand out from the last 80 years?

Our firm has more multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements than any other local law firm, and we’ve recovered more than half a billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Besides that, our commitment to help those in our local community has made workplaces safer. We’ve consistently held large corporations accountable – oilfield and agriculture companies included –which, in turn, has made workplaces safer for our community’s workers.

We’re also very proud of the deep connection this firm has made with our community – the firm’s roots are embedded in giving back. Our attorneys sit on local boards, including Clinica Sierra Vista, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and CASA Kern County, among many others. And our employees give back in many ways, too, including hosting teams for March of Dimes and Relay for Life, sharing their expertise at the university level, and donating their time to volunteer for local causes.

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CCS plans to continue to thanks its local community through 2014 for its trust and confidence. Stay tuned to bloggingforjustice for more.

Bakersfield Life Magazine highlights CCS 80-year anniversary

June 4, 2014 | 10:03 am


The newest issue of Bakersfield Life Magazine featured an article of Chain | Cohn | Stiles, highlighting the firm’s 80-year anniversary. Below is the article, which covers the history of our firm, our accomplishments in the last 80 years, and what’s ahead for the Bakersfield personal injury law firm.

Read the June 2014 magazine article to learn more.

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What is the history of Chain | Cohn | Stiles in Bakersfield?

Our law firm was founded in 1934 by Morris B. Chain, a local legend in Kern County courtrooms. Eventually, the firm developed practices in personal injury, wrongful death and social security disability, which are the core of the firm today. Some of the most respected names in local law were bred out of this firm, and our current attorneys continue to be the most respected in their fields – not only in Bakersfield and Kern County, but across the state.

Chain died in 1977, but his values are carried on today by David K. Cohn, David V. Stiles, six other dedicated attorneys and the firm’s professional staff.

How does Chain | Cohn | Stiles stand out from other firms today? 

As the oldest personal injury law firm in Bakersfield, with our attorneys and staff bred locally, we have an extra edge that a firm outside of Kern County – or in Kern County for that matter – would never have. We care about Kern County, and we hold those accountable to make sure our residents are treated properly.

Plus, we’re the only local firm to win “Best Law Firm” the last two years, and managing partner David Cohn has also been honored the last two years in the “Best Lawyer” category.

What firm accomplishments stand out from the last 80 years?

Our firm has more multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements than any other local law firm, and we’ve recovered more than half a billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Besides that, our commitment to help those in our local community has made workplaces safer. We’ve consistently held large corporations accountable – oilfield and agriculture companies included –which, in turn, has made workplaces safer for our community’s workers.

We’re also very proud of the deep connection this firm has made with our community – the firm’s roots are embedded in giving back. Our attorneys sit on local boards, including Clinica Sierra Vista, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and CASA Kern County, among many others. And our employees give back in many ways, too, including hosting teams for March of Dimes and Relay for Life, sharing their expertise at the university level, and donating their time to volunteer for local causes.

How are you commemorating 80 years in our community?

We’ve partnered with the City of Bakersfield and the Bakersfield Homeless Center to adopt a portion of the Westside Parkway, where we employ our homeless resident to keep our roads clean and beautify Bakersfield. You’ll see our sign on the Parkway, near Coffee Road, as reminder of our loyalty and service to our community for the last 80 years, and decades to come.

You’ll also see us giving back to a variety of local causes and events, including the Kern County Corporate Challenge, where our firm is going head-to-head against local businesses for the nonprofit, League of Dreams. And there’s more. To keep up to date, visit our website and blog –  bloggingforjustice.com – and follow us on social media.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles founder Morris Chain honored with ‘100 Stars Award’

May 19, 2014 | 9:27 am


Bakersfield College hosted its 100th commencement on Friday, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles congratulates all of the graduates who took part in this special ceremony. The Bakersfield junior college is especially significant for our law firm, as our founder — Morris Chain — and managing partner David K. Cohn are graduates of the college.

As part of its centennial celebration, acknowledging the college’s accomplishments and impact in our community, college officials recognized 100 alumni, retirees and community members who had a great impact on Bakersfield College.

Each recipient of the 100 Stars Award received a medal from BC President Sonya Christian, and their biographies and pictures are placed in the trophy cabinet in the campus library, and also featured on the BC website.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles is proud to have Morris Chain featured as one of the 100 Stars. Chain died in 1977, and he has no immediate family in Bakersfield. Cohn accepted the award on his family’s behalf during the Bakersfield College student scholarship awards Honor Reception on May 9 in the Gil Bishop Gymnasium. Here is Morris Chain biography that was read during the awards ceremony.

It’s safe to say that without Morris B. Chain, one of the most prominent lawyers in Kern County history, there would be no Bakersfield College Renegades.

That’s because Chain, who played BC football for three years, dubbed the team as the “Renegades” in the 1920s.

Chain, who attended elementary and secondary schools in Bakersfield, also graduated from BC. He studied law at University of Southern California and eventually returned to Bakersfield, where he founded his own law firm in 1934.

He quickly rose to prominence throughout our community and in local courts, building his reputation as a champion of the underdog and laying the foundation for what has become San Joaquin Valley’s leading law firm. Awarded the coveted Bar and Bench Award by the Kern County Bar Association in 1976, local dignitaries described Chain as “one of the most remarkable men in the history of the community, and certainly in the history of the legal community of Kern County.”

Chain died in 1977. Today, Chain | Cohn | Stiles – celebrating its 80-year anniversary this year – carries on Morris Chain’s tradition of justice and community service.

Chain joined 99 other BC standouts who have made tremendous impacts in our community, and throughout the country. They include Congressman Kevin McCarthy, baseball player George Culver and Mayor Harvey Hall, among many others.