2 senior lawyers leave city firm of Frank, Bernstein

February 16, 1991|By Graeme Browning

The resignation of one senior lawyer this week at the law firm of Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman and the departure of a second for a competitor stemmed from a clash of philosophies, a member of the firm's management committee said yesterday.

Former Bankruptcy Judge Harvey Lebowitz resigned from Frank, Bernstein, Baltimore's third-largest law firm, on Wednesday. The next day Irving E. Walker, also a bankruptcy specialist, announced he would join Miles & Stockbridge, the fourth-largest firm in the city.

It was the second set of departures by partners of Frank, Bernstein in less than 18 months.

The firm has been wrestling for nine months with the question of how to restructure its bankruptcy and loan-workout department in light of the recession-driven demand for such services, said Wilbert H. Sirota, a member of Frank, Bernstein's management committee.

Mr. Lebowitz "had his ideas on how to do it, and everybody else had their ideas, and, as they say, never the twain shall meet. With that in mind, Harvey resigned," Mr. Sirota said.

Mr. Walker also may have disagreed with the restructuring, which combines the expertise of as many as 22 lawyers under the direction of Shale D. Stiller, Mr. Sirota said.

"Maybe he also felt threatened. There was no reason for him to feel that way," Mr. Sirota said.

"Threatened? Threatened by what?" Mr. Walker said, adding that he had told the management committee that he was leaving before the restructuring was announced.

Frank, Bernstein, a fixture in the Baltimore legal community for more than 112 years, has undergone a number of changes in the past year and a half.

Eight partners reportedly disgruntled by a new partnership compensation formula left the firm between November 1989 and May 1990.

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