Lowell R. Bowen, a fixture in Baltimore's legal community, is stepping down as chairman of Miles & Stockbridge and will be replaced by James R. Eyler on Jan. 1, the law firm announced yesterday.
Mr. Bowen, 60, the firm's top lawyer for the last 17 years, said the transfer of power has been under way since January, when Mr. Eyler, 49, was made vice chairman.
"I was managing partner when I was a lot younger than Jim, so I think it's time for the younger folks to have a chance at it," said Mr. Bowen, who is a corporate lawyer. "You know, I never gave up the practice of law. I have a pretty full plate and will continue to do that."
A 1956 graduate of the University of Maryland Law School, Mr. Bowen joined Miles & Stockbridge that year.
Under his leadership, the firm has grown from 21 lawyers in 1974 to 205 today.
Mr. Eyler said that the recession could provide Miles & Stockbridge with further chances to expand. "I think we're much more tuned into that now in these down times, than necessarily in good times, because that's when you find opportunities," he said. "That means that if there are acquisition opportunities or individual lawyer opportunities that give us something that we don't now have . . . I think all those things we would look at."
The law firm where former Gov. Harry R. Hughes practiced in the late 1970s, Miles & Stockbridge counts among its current clients Black & Decker Corp. and Maryland National Bank.
The firm's main office is at 10 Light St., and it has offices in Towson, Northern Virginia, Frederick, Rockville and Easton. Miles Stockbridge signed an agreement last year to share resources with a 35-attorney Washington firm, Galland, Kharasch, Morse & Garfinkle.