Piper & Marbury adds N.Y. firm, Varet & Fink

April 29, 1995|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,Sun Staff Writer

Piper & Marbury announced yesterday that its New York office will triple in size beginning Monday, when the firm of Varet & Fink P.C. joins Maryland's largest law firm.

The addition of the 26 Varet & Fink attorneys comes on the heels of Piper & Marbury's March expansion of its Washington office, in which it absorbed 22 lawyers constituting the capital region practice of Pettit & Martin.

"This is the product of a deliberate process that led us to the conclusion that we needed to develop certain practices and offices outside our Baltimore base," said Frank B. Burch Jr., Piper & Marbury's chairman. "In Varet & Fink in particular, they have an international focus that will help us tremendously."

Along with augmenting Piper & Marbury's corporate tax, business litigation and intellectual property practices, Varet & Fink also will bring international commodity trading and maritime work, two new areas for Piper & Marbury.

Clients of the New York firm include Britain's Rothschild family and various Swiss commodities and financial firms.

Varet & Fink is expected to contribute roughly $12 million in annual revenues to Piper & Marbury, which generates about $110 million in revenues a year.

"They have a sterling reputation and are recognized throughout the national legal community," said Michael A. Varet, whose firm was established in 1968. "And the other principal factor was we really liked the people."

In all, the new attorneys and support personnel will raise the number of attorneys at Piper & Marbury to 325, and total employment to more than 800 in six offices. Its client base includes Aegon USA, Alex. Brown Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., the Rouse Co., T. Rowe Price Associates and USF&G Corp.

With the expansion, Piper & Marbury partner Joseph G. Finnerty Jr. will relocate to New York to head the office. Mr. Finnerty, a senior litigator, represents General Motors Corp. and several other New York-oriented clients.

With two expansions under its belt in as many months, Mr. Burch said Piper & Marbury is not likely to continue to grow at such a fast pace.

"The faster you grow the harder it is to maintain one's culture," Mr. Burch said.

"We've seen that if you grow too quickly and become too decentralized, things can come apart pretty quickly. We're going to turn our focus inward now, and manage the process of integrating these lawyers into the firm."

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