Cellino and Barnes, one of the most well-known personal injury law firms thanks to their famous commercials and memorable jingle, could be heading toward a “business divorce.”
Ross M. Cellino Jr. filed a lawsuit Wednesday to dissolve the firm he’s helmed with longtime partner Stephen Barnes, according to Buffalo station WGRZ-TV. A judge ordered all papers and pleadings in the case to be sealed, making it unclear why Cellino is seeking to end their partnership.
Barnes is requested to appear at a May 19 hearing to argue why the firm should not be dissolved.
“If this goes forward, it will be like a huge divorce … a huge business divorce,” Buffalo attorney Paul J. Cambria said Wednesday, according to The Buffalo News. “This law firm has been very successful and has all kinds of assets.”
Cellino and Barnes is highly recognized for their commercials that urge potential clients to “Don’t Wait, Call 8” and their catchy jingle, which included their easy-to-remember phone number. The partners, who have been together for 30 years, have offices across New York state, and in Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego, according to their website.
“They basically invented themselves out of thin air, with very thoughtful, successful, innovative advertising,” said Cambria, who owns a law firm that sometimes competes with Cellino and Barnes. “They became a huge success. They do have some very good attorneys over there and a good reputation. I was driving down Fairfax Avenue in [Los Angeles] last week, and right in front of me was a bus with their logo and their phone number on it … amazing.”