89.3 F
San Fernando
Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
-Advertisement-

Jonathan B. Cole

In a nutshell, Jonathan B. Cole is the attorney other attorneys call when they need legal counsel. And if being managing partner at one of the best-known professional liability defense firms in the state isn’t enough, consider that Cole has counted among his clients one of the best-known attorneys in the country the late Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. That case, involving a disgruntled former client who orchestrated daily demonstrations at Cochran’s office demanding payment from him, went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. And although Cochran’s death became the primary consideration in the outcome, some scholars believe that it opened the door for a wholesale change in the way the Constitution is interpreted. Cochran sought an injunction to stop Tory from picketing his offices with placards that called him names and attacked his competence, behavior that most courts believe falls under nothing less than the right to free speech granted in the Constitution. Cole argued that the First Amendment was not at stake at all, rather that Tory’s behavior amounted to extortion, a strategy that won the injunction he hoped for in the lower courts. The appeal went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Cole found himself up against Erwin Chemerinsky, a nationally renowned professor and constitutional law attorney in what amounted to Cole’s first First Amendment case. The case was dismissed as a result of Cochran’s death, but more than a few civil rights advocates nonetheless worried that Cole’s arguments held enough water to open the door to a sea change in the way that the First Amendment is interpreted. And Cole himself believes that, if not for Cochran’s death, he would have won. “If Johnnie hadn’t died, I will go to my grave believing that the U.S. Supreme Court would have found that a more carefully crafted injunction would not constitute a prior restraint and would have been constitutionally permissible and it would have been the first case from the Supreme Court that approved of injunctive relief,” Cole said. Cole, who co-founded Nemecek & Cole in 1984 and has helped to build the firm today to 40 employees, began his career at a small construction litigation firm and gradually expanded his practice to include business litigation, general liability and personal injury defense. Defending other attorneys, as well as insurance companies, physicians and other professionals, requires Cole to become expert not just in defense litigation, but in the details of the type of law underlying the cases he works on. “So you become a master of a huge variety of trades,” said Cole, who studied every First Amendment case decision since the 1940s to prepare for the Cochran case. “It’s intriguing; it’s mind stimulating and you never yearn for something else because every case that comes at you offers you uniqueness.” It is also not a specialty for every attorney, most will tell you. “It is hard to be a lawyer representing lawyers,” said David Drexler, a Sherman Oaks attorney who has been a client. “You have to be very good, you have to be diplomatic, and you have to have the right balance between accepting input and being able to say I’m going to handle this the way I think I should handle it. It takes a special kind of person to do that and a special ego.” Nicknamed Johnny Rocket for his boundless energy he holds eight U.S. national titles in water ski racing Cole has handled more than 100 appeals and writs and argued cases before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and other higher courts. He is personally responsible for 17 published decisions in the state and has twice been named Southern California Super Lawyer. “I think that on any given day you can have a certain amount of strengths and weaknesses to your case,” said Drexler, “but what really tips the hat for him and changes the chemical balance of whatever environment he’s working in is his energy level and his personality.” Shelly Garcia

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-