Three more partners left the Baltimore law firm of Weinberg and Green yesterday, bringing to seven the number of partners defecting from the state's seventh-largest law firm in a little more than three months.
Carla Stone Witzel, D. Robert Enten and Marjorie A. Corwin were all members of Weinberg's commercial and banking law practice group.
The three are moving to Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander, a downtown firm that grew to 68 lawyers with the news.
Ms. Witzel was the newly named head of the practice group at Weinberg, replacing Stanford D. Hess, who announced Dec. 2 that he planned to leave the firm. Ms. Corwin, a partner at Weinberg since 1990, has served as chair of the Maryland Bar Association's consumer credit committee.
Mr. Enten has been the lobbyist for the Maryland Bankers Association and the Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore. In 1993, the $166,319 he commanded in lobbying fees ranked him 16th among all Annapolis lobbyists, according to a report by the state Ethics Commission. He also has an active nonlegislative practice representing financial institutions.
Charles O. Monk II, Weinberg's managing partner, was said to be in a meeting late yesterday and couldn't be reached.
At Gordon, the three lawyers will be the nucleus of a newly formed financial services and government relations department. The department will include six existing partners reorganized from other practice groups within the firm.
Ms. Witzel declined to comment on the move.
"The policy of Gordon Feinblatt is to refer all contact with the press to Barry Rosen, the managing partner," she said. Mr. Rosen also did not return calls.
The announcement appears to be bigger news in the short run for Weinberg, whose recent defections approximate 15 percent of the equity partners the firm had as of last year. Stanford Hess, bankruptcy practice group head Deborah Devan and commercial law attorney Stanley Neuhauser announced Dec. 2 that they are moving to Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber, a Baltimore firm that will grow to 18 lawyers upon their arrival.
Earlier in the fall, real estate partner Howard R. Majev departed for a Washington firm.
In May, an industry directory called the Of Counsel 700 said Weinberg had 38 partners and 17 non-equity partners last year. Non-equity partners have the status of partners but do not have a direct right to the firm's profits. The firm promoted several new equity partners this fall.
All seven of the departing partners have been equity partners.
It is not clear how much impact the departures will have.
"I think it's fair to say you don't like things like this to happen, even if it's not a big negative, because people will misinterpret it and think that it is," said James R. Eyler, chairman of Miles & Stockbridge, the state's third-biggest law firm with 200 lawyers. "But you don't know that it's bad. There is often a big difference between the way things look from the outside . . . and reality."
Earlier this week, Weinberg said it had added two new partners. Labor lawyer Gary B. Eidelman had been an associate at Miles & Stockbridge since 1992, while tort lawyer Ronald M. Cherry left Redmond, Cherry & Burgin to join Weinberg.