Piper & Marbury will open an office in New York City specializing in equity and debt financing, and alternative energy, Chairman Decatur H. Miller said yesterday.
The New York office will strive to have 15 to 20 lawyers within the next few years, Mr. Miller said, which would make it the third-largest office in Piper's network of branches in Baltimore, Easton, Washington and London.
The move comes at a time when many law firms here and across the country are putting expansion plans on hold because of the recession, a rise in the number of corporate bankruptcies and more lawyers competing for less business.
Mr. Miller said Piper, Baltimore's second-largest law firm after Venable, Baetjer and Howard, decided to open an office in New York -- despite the economic climate -- because of the availability of John McCann, a 54-year-old Columbia-trained lawyer who recently left his post as Prudential Insurance Company of America's chief investment counsel.
Mr. McCann, who is vice chairman of the American Bar Association and is active in the corporate-finance field in New York, will be responsible for establishing the new office.
"John McCann is a very big plus," Mr. Miller said. "We are moving ahead at this time because we have found the right person to establish the office and because the office is important to continue to serve existing client needs."
The New York office will play a pivotal role in developing Piper's national and international practices, Mr. Miller said, and will evolve to focus on such areas as communications law, environmental law and litigation.
Mr. Miller said the New York office will open immediately in a temporary location and that plans are to move it to a permanent spot by the end of the year.