Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP

Law Firm in Visalia, CA

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Firm Overview

The law firm of Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP meets the legal needs of individuals, families, businesses, farmers, real estate developers and others throughout the local community and beyond our local boundaries. Our experienced lawyers and staff are dedicated to providing professional and effective legal services in a wide variety of areas, including Business Law, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer, Probate, Civil Litigation, Family Law, Adoption, and Water Law.
Our firm was founded over 100 years ago and remains the oldest and most trusted continuously running law firm in Tulare County. Our firm has grown and evolved along with the local community and our local businesses for several generations. Although the firm is involved in traditional legal matters affecting all businesses and individuals, it particularly enjoys being involved in new, innovative and challenging issues and developments having far-reaching future implications.

The firm has achieved the highest rating for legal ability in Martindale-Hubbell.
Main Office

Main Office
1102 North Chinowth Street
Visalia  CA  93291

Phone
  • 559-733-5770
Fax
  • 559-733-4922
Business
Our business law services assist area businesses throughout the entirety of their operations.
We handle business formation, ongoing business transactions, business dissolutions and dispute resolution. Ruddell Cochran Stanton Smith & Bixler, LLP can meet the varied legal needs you and your business may experience.

Comprehensive business law services in the San Joaquin Valley:
As the oldest continuously operating law firm in Tulare County, our firm has advised businesses through many changes in our many years of practice. We have substantial experience identifying the goals of business owners and developing strategies to reach those goals. Our attorneys offer complete business law services in the following areas:

Business formation: We work closely with business owners during the critical beginning stages of business formation. Depending on the type of business, number of partners, liabilities and other factors, we advise on choice of entity. We handle formation of entities such as corporations, partnerships, limited partnerships (LPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs).

Ongoing business transactions: We meet the ongoing legal needs of businesses in the areas of company mergers and acquisitions, stock sales, asset sales, buy-sell agreements, cross-purchase programs, entity purchase programs, business reorganizations and sales contracts.

Business litigation: Our firm protects the rights of business owners involved in business disputes, breach of contract claims, creditor actions, business dissolutions and more. We participate in mediation, arbitration and litigation, pursuing the method most pertinent to your situation.

Family business reorganizations: Our lawyers frequently represent family farms of significant wealth. Farms often involve multi-generational relationships. We can guide you and your family through farm reorganizations, restructuring and spinoffs. This is often done in partnership with our estate planning services, which focus heavily on wealth transfer.

Gary H. Ruddell

Attorney in Visalia, CA

Mr. Ruddell was born in Caldwell, Idaho, on January 16, 1945. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara (B.A. cum laude, 1966) and University of San Francisco (J.D., 1969). Mr. Ruddell was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1970. He is a member of the Tulare County Bar Association (President, 1981) and the State Bar of California. Mr. Ruddell, in addition to business formation, real estate acquisition and sales, and other transactional work, focuses on estate planning utilizing wealth transfer programs for families with large estates, probate and trust administration. He continues to handle real property development, both commercial and residential. Recent projects include Mary's Vineyard, Rancho Viejo, and Key West Shopping Centers in Visalia, California; Del Lago, a 620-acre community development in Tulare, California; The Courtyards, a 20-acre commercial and office complex; Shannon Ranch, a 600-acre residential and commercial development in Visalia, California; Village West, a 30-acre commercial project and Marsh Street Commons, a mixed use residential and commercial condominium project in San Luis Obispo, California.

Areas of Law:
-Estate Planning
-Business Law
-Business Transactions
-Contracts
-Real Estate
-Residential Land Use
-Probate
-Estate Administration
-Trusts and Estates
-Wills
-Commercial Land Use

Experience & Credentials:

Position:
Partner

Admission Details:
-Admitted in 1970, California
-1970, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
-1970, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Law School Attended:
University of San Francisco
Class of 1969
J.D.

University Attended:
University of California at Santa Barbara
Class of 1966
B.A.
with honor

Birth Information:
Born in 1945
Caldwell, Idaho, January 16, 1945

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County Bar Association (President, 1981); State Bar of California.
Education
  • University of San Francisco
    Juris Doctorate , 1969

Richard H. Cochran

Attorney in Visalia, CA

Phi Delta Phi.

Areas of Law:
-Business Law
-General Practice
-Wills
-Trusts
-Probate
-Trust Administration

Experience & Credentials:

Position:
Partner

Admission Details:
Admitted in 1973, California

Law School Attended:
McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
Class of 1973
J.D.

University Attended:
University of California at Santa Barbara
Class of 1965
B.A.

Birth Information:
Born in 1943
Dinuba, California, March 19, 1943

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County Bar Association (President, 1990); State Bar of California.
Education
  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
    Juris Doctorate , 1973

Glenn A. Stanton

Attorney in Visalia, CA

Areas of Law:
-Real Estate
-Landlord and Tenant Law
-Construction Law
-Trusts and Estates
-Corporate Law
-Business Law

Experience & Credentials:

Position:
Partner

Admission Details:
Admitted in 1976, California and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Law School Attended:
Pepperdine University School of Law
Class of 1976
J.D.

Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law

University Attended:
University of California at Santa Barbara
Class of 1972
B.A.

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County Bar Association (President, 2003-2004); State Bar of California (Member, Real Property Law Section); Tulare County Trial Lawyers (Past Director).
Education
  • Pepperdine University School of Law
    Juris Doctorate , 1976

D. Zackary Smith

Attorney in Visalia, CA
Associate Editor, Santa Clara Law Review, 1981-1982.

Areas of Law:
-Water Law
-Business Law
-Real Estate
-Construction Law
-Estate Planning
-Probate

Experience & Credentials:

Position:
Partner

Admission Details:
Admitted in 1982, California and U.S. District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of California

Law School Attended:
University of Santa Clara
Class of 1982
J.D.

University Attended:
Brigham Young University
Class of 1978
B.S.

Birth Information:
Born in 1954
Big Spring, Texas, August 19, 1954

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County Bar Association; State Bar of California.
Education
  • University of Santa Clara
    Juris Doctorate , 1982

Matthew W. Bixler

Attorney in Visalia, CA

Member, Board of Directors, and Former President of the Tulare-Kings County Estate Planning Council.

Areas of Law:
-Business Law
-Real Estate
-Construction Law
-Eminent Domain
-Zoning Law
-Land Use
-Trusts and Estates
-Homeowners Association Law
-Estate Planning
-Wills
-Probate
-Civil Litigation
-Business Litigation
-Partnership Law
-Corporate Law

Experience & Credentials:

Position:
Partner

Admission Details:
Admitted in 1996, California and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Law School Attended:
University of California at Los Angeles
Class of 1996
J.D.

University Attended:
Pepperdine University
Class of 1993
B.S.
magna cum laude

Birth Information:
Born in 1971
Tulare, California, June 9, 1971

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County Bar Association; State Bar of California.
Education
  • University of California at Los Angeles
    Juris Doctorate , 1996

Ms. Lillian C. Kirby

Attorney in Visalia, CA

Ms. Kirby enjoys spending time with family, teaching and taking dance classes at local performing arts studio.
Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International.

Areas of Law:
-Family Law
-Divorce
-Adoption
-Civil Litigation
-Trust Administration
-Consumer Protection
-Estate Planning
-Estate Administration
-Trusts and Estates

Experience & Credentials

Position:
Associate

Admission Details:
Admitted in 2011, California and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

Law School Attended:
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Class of 2011
J.D.

University Attended:
College of the Sequoias
Class of 2004
A.S.
Paralegal Studies, with honors

Arizona State University
Class of 2008
B.S.
Criminology, summa cum laude

Associations & Memberships:
Tulare County and American Bar Associations; State Bar of California; California Women Lawyers.
Education
  • Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
    Juris Doctorate , 2011

Allison K. Pierce

Associate

Allison K. Pierce (formerly Moock) was born and raised in Visalia, California. She left the California Central Valley in 1998 to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara, and graduated from UCSB with honors in 2002 with a B.A. in Business Economics. Following her graduation from UCSB, Ms. Pierce worked as an accountant in San Diego, California for two years before relocating to Los Angeles, California in 2004 to attend Loyola Law School. Ms. Pierce was a Dean's Scholar during each of her three years in law school. She completed an externship with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, was on the staff of the Loyola Entertainment Law Review, served as a conciliator for the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, and was active in the Women's Law Association.

Following her graduation from law school and admission to the State Bar of California in 2007, Ms. Pierce remained in Los Angeles and practiced for five years as a civil litigator. Initially, she worked as an Associate in the firm of Reback, McAndrews & Kjar. Her practice focused on the defense of professional liability lawsuits. Ms. Pierce has represented physicians, nurses, hospitals, accountants, insurance agents/brokers, attorneys, and other professionals in the defense of malpractice and related claims in Superior Court and before various licensing boards.

In 2011, Ms. Pierce joined the Los Angeles based Western Regional firm of Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman. She continued to focus on civil litigation, but broadened per practice considerably to include employment litigation, business litigation, and the defense of mass tort, toxic tort, and catastrophic injury claims. In 2012, family ties brought Ms. Pierce back to the California Central Valley, and she joined Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler, LLP as an Associate Attorney in May of 2013.

Areas of Practice:
-50% Business Litigation
-5% Property Litigation
-40% General Civil Litigation
-5% Professional Liability Litigation

Litigation Percentage:
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions:
-California, 2007
-U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2007
-U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2013

Education:
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
J.D. - 2007
Law Review: Entertainment, 2005 - 2006

University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
B.A.
Honors: With Honors
Major: Business Economics
Major: Accounting Emphasis

Professional Associations and Memberships:
-State Bar of California, Member, 2007 - Present
-Tulare County Bar Association, Member, 2013 - Present

Past Employment Positions:
-Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP, Senior Associate, 2011 - 2013
-Reback, McAndrews, Kjar, Warford & Stockalper, LLP, Associate, 2007 - 2011

Pro Bono Activities:
Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, 2005 - 2007

Languages:
English
Education
  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
    Juris Doctorate , 2007

Daniel L. Evans

Associate

Daniel L. Evans was born and raised in Visalia, California. He graduated summa cum laude from La Sierra University in Riverside, California with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2010. He received his Juris Doctor in 2013 from Chapman University School of Law. At Chapman, Mr. Evans served as the Production Editor of Chapman's Nexus Journal of Law and Policy and a mediator in the Superior Court of Riverside County through Chapman Law's Mediation Clinic.

While attending law school, Mr. Evans worked as a law clerk and intern for several law firms, the Orange County Office of the County Counsel, and the Superior Court of Orange County.

Mr. Evans' areas of practice include business law, estate planning, trust administration and probate, and real estate law.

Areas of Practice:
-Business Law
-Estate Planning
-Trust Administration and Probate
-Real Estate Law

Bar Admissions:
-California, 2013
-U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 2013

Education:
Chapman University School of Law, Orange, California
J.D. - 2013

La Sierra University, Riverside, California
B.A. summa cum laude
Major: History

Professional Associations and Memberships:
-State Bar of California, Member, 2013 - Present
-Tulare County Bar Association, Member, 2013 - Present

Past Employment Positions:
-Orange County Superior Court, Legal Research Intern, 2013
-Orange County Office of the County Counsel, Intern, 2012
Education
  • Chapman University School of Law, Orange, California
    Juris Doctorate , 2013
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