Piper Marbury to shift part of firm downtown

Lease is signed for 9,000 square feet in Gallery Building

The professions

March 03, 2000|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe LLP, the blue-chip law firm whose 1998 decision to move to Mount Washington was seen as a symbolic blow to Baltimore's downtown, said yesterday that it will locate some key operations in a new Inner Harbor office.

The firm said it signed a lease for 9,000 square feet to house 17 offices and two conference rooms in the Gallery Building at 111 S. Calvert St. Piper Marbury will keep its main Baltimore-area operations in Mount Washington.

The new offices will house Piper Marbury's public finance group, which has remained at the firm's former headquarters at 36 S. Charles St. Paul D. Shelton, a partner in the public finance group, will head the new downtown office.

"It's important for us to say to the city that we're still committed to the city," said Shelton.

Some of the firm's venture capital and business tax lawyers will be shifted from Mount Washington to the new downtown site, and the public finance group will move there as well. Shelton said the firm intends to expand the new downtown office in coming years.

Michele L. Whelley, the interim president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc., said the move had been expected.

"Piper Marbury have always been strong corporate citizens for the city," Whelley said. "We're pleased that they understand the importance of downtown Baltimore as a business location. While their presence downtown is not going to be what it was in the past, I'm happy they've agreed to remain part of the downtown business community."

Piper Marbury, the largest law firm in Maryland, merged last year with Chicago's Rudnick & Wolfe. The combined firm has 800 attorneys in eight cities.

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