It was 1973 that insurance entrepreneur Louis “Bud” Gianelli decided to pursue his long abandoned dream of a career in law, pushed aside as he started a family with his wife Jackie. Though Freese and Gianelli, the claims adjustment service he helped found, was thriving, Bud finally made the decision to follow his heart. He finished the law degree he had pursued nearly 20 years earlier and started a law practice, Law Offices of L.F. Gianelli, in Modesto with the intent of using his years in business management to fill a gap in local civil law.
Had circumstance not intervened, Bud might have pursued his dream alone. Yet, in a span of just a few years, each of his three sons opted to follow in his footsteps. Eldest Son Michael was studying to become a history teacher when, on a whim he decided to accompany a friend to the LSAT and see how he’d fare on the qualifying exam. His scores showed an aptitude for law and decided to attend University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. After putting in time at another firm, Michael moved to his father’s practice and broadened their specializations to include litigation. When son David crossed over to law as well, it was after several years in the accounting field. As a result, David brought with him knowledge of estate planning and trust and probate law, further rounding out the growing firm. Son Jim also began a career in law, opting to branch off on his own in Sonora.
The end result was a now deceased Bud passing the reigns to a successful law firm, with David currently acting as President and CEO, while Michael remains as senior counsel and shareholder. Along with a number of associates, paralegals and support staff the firm is continually putting the professional back into the legal profession. The firm prides itself on delivering highly personalized service to each of their clients, individuals and businesses alike. “Our goal with every client is to solve problems,” said Michael. “You do that through understanding the intricacies involved with that client. If it’s a business, you look to uncover how it runs and what its mission is and if it’s an individual doing, say, estate planning, you want to know everything there is to know about the dynamics and needs of that family. By stepping into the shoes of the client, you eliminate guesswork and arrive at optimal solutions.”
The firm shares a devotion to community service, they have won the Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s coveted Business Hall of Fame award. Bud was a former chamber president, David is the incoming chamber president. “The Chamber of Commerce is a vital part of every town because they support businesses and thereby impact the quality of life for the entire community,” said David.
"Modesto, while it has grown, is still a nice place to live. People still know one another and come together during hard times. It has the feel of a much smaller city."
"It’s really pretty simple-if you show clients that you care, really care then everything else will fall into place."