Kindel & Anderson’s Branch in Newport Forms Own Law Firm

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Times Staff Writer

Citing differences over business style and growth, the 25 attorneys in the Newport Beach branch of Kindel & Anderson have left the Los Angeles law firm and formed their own law office.

The new firm of Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener & Wilhelm will service more than 10,000 clients out of the same MacArthur Boulevard office that the group occupied as Kindel & Anderson.

Kindel & Anderson, meantime, has opened a new branch a block away and staffed it with six of its 55 remaining lawyers. And senior partner James Kindel Jr. plans to work in the new Orange County branch on a part-time basis. Kindel and John Anderson, who is semiretired, started the firm in Los Angeles in 1953 and opened a Santa Ana branch at the same time.


Lawyers on both sides said the split was accomplished as amicably as possible over the last six months. They said they will likely work together on some cases in the future.

Spokesmen for Kindel & Anderson in Los Angeles and the new firm of Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener and Wilhelm in Newport Beach, said that the Orange County office had operated independently of the Los Angeles office as far as handling cases, recruiting lawyers and administering the branch. About the only thing the two offices did together was combine and distribute the profits, an area which spokesmen would not discuss further.

The defection of the Orange County group typifies what law firm consultants say is one of the thorniest issues facing large and growing firms nationwide--whether to pursue growth and eventually practice nationwide or remain a local or regional operation.

The Orange County lawyers were opposed to the main office’s efforts to seek a merger with a large New York firm and to open new branches by bringing in new partners, according to Michael Greene, a partner and spokesman for Palmieri, Tyler.

“If you go out and open branch offices and try to bring in partners laterally, you create problems in the closeness in the firm and how you operate,” Greene said. “We believe in a more controlled growth . . . We will hire laterally but at the associate (lawyer-employee) level.”

He said the Palmieri, Tyler lawyers believed also that they would not gain anything by merging with a national firm. “We wanted to concentrate in Orange County, and we couldn’t see the attraction of spreading ourselves thinner,” Greene said.


But for the lawyers remaining with Kindel & Anderson, the differences may simply reflect the types of practices in the two counties.

“The perception in L.A. is that growth was more important and there was a greater necessity to bring in outside partners to develop speciality areas we might not have,” said Hugh M. Boss, a partner and spokesman for Kindel & Anderson.