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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Lee Kanon Alpert

Lee Kanon Alpert has been an important figure in the Valley legal community for close to three decades, but these days he may be most recognized for his role on cable TV. As an outside counsel for Time Warner since the late 1980s, he helped negotiate legal transactions and transfers of franchises to the company from regional operators Adelphia Communications Corp. and Comcast Corp. The deal was made up of 60 complex franchise transfers in which Alpert played a key role. “We were very proud that out of every municipality we handled here in Southern California, there was not a single no vote” to switch to Time Warner, Alpert said. “It’s very complex area of specialty. But I love it. You see the results you get to see if people are happy or people are upset.” Alpert grew up in Detroit and attended Wayne State University before receiving a scholarship to USC in 1968. From there, he headed to Loyola Law School, where he received his juris doctorate in 1972. By 1973, Alpert passed the California bar and was hired as an associate attorney at Ruderman, Levin, Ballin, Plotkin and Graf in North Hollywood. He dabbled in family law, handling celebrities and sports stars, but didn’t like it. “We got great results, but it was the worst side of people,” he said. In 1975, he founded the Law Offices of Lee Kanon Alpert in Encino, a general practice solo practitioner. It was a learning experience but eventually he wanted to branch out. A year later, Alpert partnered with Michael S. Mink (now a judge on the Superior Court) to form Mink & Alpert, and later Gary L. Barr joined them. From the beginning, the firm wanted to squash an image that Valley firms were somehow inferior to those in downtown or in Century City. “We decided we were not going to get lazy. We didn’t short-circuit or cut corners,” he said, adding that extra time was spent making sure research, motions and briefs were completely accurate and error-free. Today, Alpert & Barr still uses that standard specializing in administrative, real estate and corporate law in addition to mediation. “That’s the way we wanted to practice and that’s the way we wanted to be known by the lawyers and judges,” he said. “It’s a matter of pride.” That helped him accrue a laundry list of major clients, such as Time Warner and the city. Alpert said it was the city that provided him with his most rewarding case to date the sale of the shuttered Hughes Aviation park in West Hills to the city and nonprofit Valley Job Recovery Corp. Today, it houses dozens of small businesses and a police center. “That was the most important case for me,” said Alpert, who also serves as a frequent private and court-appointed referee. That interaction has turned Alpert into a political power broker, serving as president of the Commission on Neighborhood Councils and city Building and Safety Commission and chairing the California State Assembly Small Business Advisory Council. His activities were recognized in 1999 when Alpert received the Fernando Award. Greg Lippe, managing partner of the accounting firm Lippe, Hellie, Hoffer & Allison, has worked with Alpert on several projects and was surprised at how accessible he was. “It’s doesn’t matter what time of day or night, he’s always available,” said Lippe, who met Alpert through the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. “He really looks out for the good of the client.” Lippe said that attention to detail nets results. “He’s a deal maker not a deal breaker,” he said. Chris Coates

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