Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze

Firm History

The lineage of Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze begins over eighty years ago. Though the Firm name has changed over the years, its longstanding client base, dedication to hard work and commitment to providing premium legal representation are its unifying banners.

The Firm was first established as Nelson & Ricks, when Hans Nelson and Toppy Ricks formed their partnership circa 1915. Their focus was on probate and transactional legal work for business and professional clients. Nelson & Ricks developed their practice by relying on age-old methods for success–honesty, integrity, hard work, organization and quality representation. Their efforts paid off. The Great Depression was their zenith and a decade of prosperity for them.

After the second World War, James W. Henderson, a young and generally inexperienced attorney, joined the firm. Henderson was a direct descendant of a pioneer Eureka family–Henderson Street in Eureka is named after his grandfather.

Unfortunately, Nelson and Ricks passed away contemporaneously with Henderson's joining the firm. Henderson found himself heir to Nelson and Rick's clients. He decided to forge a new partnership with Emery F. Mitchell, an experienced attorney. The law firm was renamed to Mitchell & Henderson in 1945.

Mitchell and Henderson set out to continue the legacy left to them by Nelson & Ricks. The task was not easy. However, they maintained the hardworking mindset of their predecessors and worked to earn the faith and trust of the community for themselves. To help with the effort, Mitchell hired his son, Clifford B. Mitchell, as an associate attorney in 1953.

During this time, the forest products industry in Humboldt County grew rapidly, as did the need for lawyers. Mitchell & Henderson expanded their established transactional and probate practices to include management and trial of civil litigation, especially insurance defense work.

Robert Dedekam joined the Firm in 1957, adding his specialties in probate and transactional work to the established practice.

After Emery Mitchell's retirement from the Firm in 1963, Ronald Angell joined the Firm in 1968.

In the early 1970s, James Henderson, the Firm's last direct link to Nelson & Ricks, passed away and the Firm was renamed to Mitchell, Dedekam & Angell. Along with their success in the courtroom, the insurance defense, commercial litigation and business practices flourished. This success prompted the continuing growth of the Firm's probate and estate planning practices.

The Firm also added a number of outstanding attorneys, including Dale Reinholtsen in 1974, Nancy Delaney in 1976, Walter Carter in 1977, Paul Brisso in 1979 and John Vrieze in 1984.

After Dedekam's retirement in 1990, the Firm was joined by a third generation Mitchell, Cliff's son, William Mitchell.

The Firm has continued to evolve with the untimely passing of Walter Carter in 1993 and the departure of Ronald Angell in 1994. One of the Firm's most respected members, Dale Reinholtsen, was appointed to the bench in 1996, and is currently serving as Judge of the Superior Court of Humboldt County. Russell Gans joined the firm in 1996, followed by Nicholas Kloeppel in 1997.

The Firm, which was renamed to Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze in 1994, has continued to expand and prosper in all of its practice areas. In addition to its business, probate and estate planning practices, the insurance defense practice has evolved into a general civil litigation, management and trial practice, with added expertise in the areas of civil rights litigation, public entity defense, personal injury, administrative law, municipal law, medical malpractice, products liability, real property, employment law, professional errors and omission defense, contract disputes and construction defect litigation.

Mitchell, Brisso, Delaney & Vrieze is committed to furthering its reputation as one of northern California's premier law firms.

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814 Seventh Street  •  P.O. Drawer 1008  •  Eureka California, 95502