Attorneys Split at Area’s Largest Law Firm
Friday, April 1, 2011

The head of the employment and labor law group at the Tri-Counties’ largest law firm is breaking off to form his own boutique firm for employers.

Jonathan Light of Oxnard’s Nordman Cormany Hair & Compton told the Business Times on April 1 that he and fellow Nordman Cormany partner Karen Gabler will hang out their shingle as LightGabler by May 2. Two other attorneys from Nordman Cormany – partner Glenn Dickinson and associate Gannon Elizabeth Johnson - will join the new firm. After the change, Nordman Cormany will have 30 attorneys and remain the largest with tri-county headquarters.

The news comes as Nordman Cormany has said that it will end its lease in the freeway-visible tower on Town Center Drive at the end of this year. The firm has not announced a new home, but CEO Tamiann Cook has said the firm will remain in the Camarillo-Oxnard-Ventura corridor.

Light told the Business Times that his new firm will specialize in employment and labor law and litigation defense. It will provide consulting to companies and managers and defend employers when they are sued. The new firm will also handle some intellectual property matters.

“I’ve been kicking around for years, and decided that if I wanted to do it, I should just do it,” Light told the Business Times. “We’ve got a solid client base, and I think it will work great.”

Light said the separation from his longtime firm was amicable.

“The reality is that its very cordial,” Light said. “I’ve been at this firm for 26 years. I’m leaving with good feelings, but it’s kind of bittersweet, too. But I’ve wanted to form my own firm, and here we are.”

Because LightGabler plans a boutique firm, Light said that he expects to refer his clients to Nordman Cormany for more general legal services. Cook said that while Nordman Cormany will retain its own employment law practice, it expects to share work with LightGabler when specialized cases arise.

“We believe they’re very talented attorneys,” Cook told the Business Times. “We’re sorry to lose them, but we wish them well and we know they wish us well.”

Nordman Cormany has also terminated its lease on Town Center Drive at the sleek glass building where its name is visible from Highway 101. Cook said the firm reassessed its rent and decided that it was too far above the market. The firm said the building’s unusual shape also made it hard to scale offices up and down the way a company would in a square building.

“We’ve long had too much space. Because this building is an elliptical space, the efficiency of space is just terrible,” Cook said. “It’s a gorgeous building, but there’s a price you pay for that.”

Cook said that Nordman Cormany will remain in the building until the end of this year. The firm is looking at spaces in Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura, he said.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times.