Written by The Business Journal Staff
Carl Refuerzo, Managing Partner
Baker Manock & Jensen
What we do:
Baker Manock & Jensen has been an integral part of California judicial history since the turn of the 20th Century. Our firm has grown from a two-person operation started in 1906 to one of the largest and most respected law firms in Central California with 40 practicing attorneys.
Today, our primary focus is on serving private businesses, their owners and executives. We are known for our expertise in a variety of industries such as agriculture, food processing and manufacturing and in disciplines such as water, tax, intellectual property, trusts and estates, and complex civil litigation and for our commitment to quality and integrity.
In addition to serving the local community, Baker Manock & Jensen also represents a number of national and trans-national entities. Through our membership in Meritas, we can provide our clients access to legal assistance in every major city in the world.
University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall (J.D.degree, 1982); University of California, Los Angeles (B.A. degree, 1979).
56 years old
Wife: Sharon Refuerzo
Children: Aubrey Refuerzo Collins lives in Chicago; Austen Refuerzo lives in New York City and Alisa Refuerzo lives in San Francisco
What is your busiest time of year and who are some of your biggest clients? What legal services are in most demand, Carl?
Late summer and fall used to be the busiest times of the year for mergers and acquisitions and real estate transactions. A lot of it was tax driven or just wanting to get a deal done by the end of the calendar year. Now, deals happen year around. Some clients for whom I do work are Olam Spices and Vegetables, Sebastian Enterprises and Ruiz Foods. In my practice, most of the demand is in business acquisitions and real property transactions.
How did you get into law involved in the Baker Manock & Jensen law firm? What do you like most about your job, Carl?
I was a summer law clerk at Baker Manock & Jensen in 1981. I thought I would spend one last summer in Fresno near my parents and then move on to a larger city. Although I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised at the sophistication of the law being practiced in the Valley and I decided to make a career here.
The best part about my practice is interacting with successful business people and working with them to create something positive or to solve a problem.
What is different about your law firm? How has it done in a tough economy, Carl?
We practice law at a high level but without pretension. We do great work and we do it in a casual team environment. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have done pretty well in a tough environment. Although some business segments have been down, agribusiness and food processing have remained steady. People still need to eat.
We do see business picking up and that is very encouraging. Having great clients is the key to any business and we are lucky to represent some of the most successful businesses and business people in the area.
What is your key business strategy, Carl?
My keys to building a business are to hire the best people — both attorneys and staff — treat them fairly and create an environment that encourages them to succeed at the highest level.
What was the best business advice you received? Was there someone who inspired you, Carl?
Do a great job with integrity, engender the trust and confidence of your clients and the rest will take care of itself. Ken Manock inspired me to trust my abilities and to not be afraid to succeed.
What was your first job, Carl?
My parents were farm workers so my first job was picking raisin grapes for six cents a tray. My current job pays better.
What do you do in your spare time, Carl?
I love to play golf, cook and travel.
How does your law firm give back to the community it serves, Carl?
Baker Manock & Jensen has always been aware of our need to be engaged in the community in which we all live. Our attorneys serve on local boards of directors representing the arts and culture, business and economic development, environmental nonprofits, health care, religion and community, as well as youth and family.
We place a strong emphasis on giving back to our community and annually participate in events such as the March of Dime’s Blue Jeans for Babies, the American Heart Association’s Lawyers Have a Heart Walk and the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Drive. Our Crochet and Knitting Club, which gathers for lunch on Fridays, has made and donated blankets to Soldier’s Angels, a non-profit group that provides blankets to wounded soldiers, as well as hats for Kaiser Permanente’s Breast Cancer Unit.
Baker Manock & Jensen was recently named Law Firm of the Year by the Fresno Country Bar Association’s Pro Bono Services Section. In 2012, Baker Manock & Jensen received the Child-Friendly Business award from First Five Fresno County.
I am a member of the Children’s Hospital of Central California Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Board of Trustees, UC Merced Foundation.