History & Vision

Ervin Cohen & Jessup is the oldest and largest law firm in Beverly Hills. For seven decades, we’ve provided innovative, technically unsurpassed counsel to both individuals and businesses first in Southern California, then across the United States and now around the world. How did we do it? It’s a fascinating story, if we do say so ourselves.

It begins, like so many good California stories do, at one of Southern California’s elite universities. In 1952, John W. Ervin was a professor of tax law at USC’s law school. He also ran a private law practice from his university offices.  As both an academic and attorney, he had an enormous impact on US tax law.

John received the very first Doctor of Juridical Science degree in Taxation awarded by Harvard Law School. His doctoral thesis on family taxation was presented to Congress by Erwin Griswold, Dean of the Harvard Law School (later Solicitor General of the United States and became the centerpiece of the Tax Reform Act of 1948). While at USC, John was a co-founder of the Institute of Federal Taxation.

In 1953, he called upon one of his finest students from USC, Ed Jessup, and Leonard Cohen, a promising young attorney, and invited them to his house to discuss a possible partnership. 

Later that year, in October of 1953, they formed Ervin Cohen & Jessup. 

70 years later, we have grown to a full-service firm of more than 60 lawyers. Our story, we hope, invites an interesting line of questions. What was it about our Firm that enabled such success?

Long before collaboration was a commonly used word, we have believed that law should be practiced in a creative environment by individuals who were not afraid to think out of the box. We have always prized innovation and sought out like-minded partners.  From our founding, we have embraced a collegial team of top-notch attorneys who, working together, would strive for the best possible result for their clients, and worry later, or not at all, about whether the approach that delivered it was conventional.

The results, we think, speak for themselves – and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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