Written by The Business Journal Staff
Kenneth J. Price
Baker Manock & Jensen
Education: Bachelors of Arts, UC Davis (1991) Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School (2002)
Family: Wife, Stephanie, and two sons, Leo (8) and Ari (5)
How long have you been with Baker Manock & Jensen?
I joined the firm 10 years ago.
What type of law do you practice and what encouraged you to practice this type of law, Kenneth?
My practice can be divided into two distinct areas. On one hand, I represent private companies as general and special counsel. On the other hand, I represent several local governmental agencies as their general counsel. Before I became an attorney, I was a senior aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein in Fresno and Los Angeles and, as a result of that experience; I am very comfortable working with governmental agencies. For both types of clients, I handle a broad range of issues including negotiating contracts, as well as various real estate and land use matters. I feel my personality is better suited to finding creative ways of conflict resolution rather than fighting in a courtroom. While litigation may be necessary in certain circumstances, it is expensive and emotionally draining for all involved.
What was your reaction to being named one of California’s Top 100 Attorneys by The Daily Journal, Kenneth?
Obviously, it’s a huge honor. The primary reason I made the list is because I serve as counsel to First 5 Fresno County. First 5 sued Gov. Brown and the legislature for improperly taking $1 billion from First 5, an act that was contrary to the voters’ intent in passing Proposition 10 in 1996. This case was a group effort by some incredibly talented lawyers, both at my firm and around the state, especially my colleague, Robert Wilkinson, who did an amazing job litigating the case. Although The Daily Journal’s list was monopolized by lawyers from Los Angeles and San Francisco, we have talented attorneys here in Central California and we work on a variety of complex cases. Local attorneys should be recognized for this work more frequently than we are.
Why do you think that attorneys often get a bad rap, Kenneth?
The legal industry is like any other. Lawyers come in all shapes and sizes and have varied methods and attitudes. The attorneys I work with at Baker Manock are dedicated, talented, and have a strong moral compass.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, Kenneth? The most difficult?
I like helping people solve challenging dilemmas in the most cost-effective ways possible. The most difficult part of my job is when the parties involved in working out a solution put logic aside and fight because they have motivations other than resolving the problem at hand.
Is there one case in particular that stands out, Kenneth?
The First 5 case is recent and most memorable. We tried very hard to explain to the governor and other decision makers in Sacramento that their effort to take money from First 5 commissions was impermissible. We explained how the law worked and tried to avoid litigation. Yet, the state had no interest in resolving this matter without litigation. Fortunately for the kids that benefit from First 5 funding, we won.
What was your first job growing up, and what did you learn from it, Kenneth?
I had so many odd jobs as a kid; it’s hard to remember the first one. I guess my first “real job” was cleaning up and bagging groceries at the old Food World grocery store in Fig Garden Village. I learned how to allocate my time between school, extra-curricular activities, and work. It wasn’t easy but it has served me well over the years.
What do you like to do when you’re not practicing law, Kenneth?
I love spending time with my family. I have two wonderful sons and try very hard to not miss their activities, such as music performances, baseball, and soccer games. My wife and I are their biggest fans (as it should be). I enjoy traveling, gardening, and bicycling. I am also involved in various community activities.
Do you have a favorite quotation, Kenneth?
“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” — Groucho Marx
Name three words that describe you, Kenneth.
Honest, industrious, loyal.