Burch is elected chairman of Piper & Marbury

March 03, 1994|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Sun Staff Writer

Francis B. Burch Jr. has been elected chairman of the Piper & Marbury law firm, succeeding Decatur H. Miller, who is expected to retire from the firm at the end of the year.

The 46-year-old Mr. Burch, who is chairman of the firm's litigation practice group, was formally elected Saturday during an annual meeting of the firm's partners. His election had been indicated by the firm last fall, however.

As chairman, Mr. Burch will preside over the state's largest law firm, with 275 attorneys, annual revenues of about $80 million and offices in Baltimore, Easton, Washington, Philadelphia, New York and London. He will be the first litigator to head Piper since William Marbury more than two decades ago.

Mr. Miller, who has been chairman of the firm since 1987, said yesterday that his successor is "not only an extraordinarily able trial lawyer, but he has demonstrated that he has the sort of vision and energy that is needed to lead our firm in times full of challenge and opportunity."

In recent years, many law firms have laid off attorneys, and at least two prominent firms in Baltimore have gone out of business. Piper, in contrast, has fared relatively well, partly by shifting attorneys from sections such as real estate into other areas that had benefited from the economic slump.

Mr. Burch, son of the late Maryland Attorney General Francis Burch Sr., joined Piper in 1974 after graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law. He became a partner in 1981, a member of the policy and management committee in 1986 and chairman of its litigation department in 1991.

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