Charles M. Cahn Jr.

Baltimore attorney spent nearly six decades at the firm of Blades & Rosenfeld

  • Charles M. Cahn Jr. worked as an attorney for Blades & Rosenfeld for nearly six decades.
Charles M. Cahn Jr. worked as an attorney for Blades & Rosenfeld…
February 25, 2014|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Charles M. Cahn Jr., a retired Baltimore attorney who was the managing partner of Blades & Rosenfeld, died Feb. 10 of heart failure at Roland Park Place. He was 92.

The son of Charles M. Cahn, an insurance executive, and Fannie Rosenbacher Cahn, a homemaker, Charles Maurice Cahn Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in the Arlington Park Apartments in Northwest Baltimore.

He was the grandson of Maurice U. Cahn, founder of the old Bernheim-Leader department store in Baltimore, and the great-nephew of Bernard Cahn, one of the founders of Mercantile Bank and Trust Co.

After graduating in 1939 from Friends School, Mr. Cahn earned a bachelor's degree in 1943 from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He served as an artillery instructor during World War II and the Korean War, and attained the rank of lieutenant at the time of being discharged from the service.

Mr. Cahn was a 1950 graduate of Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Maryland Bar that year. He began his legal career that year at Blades & Rosenfeld, which at that time was in the Fidelity Building at Charles and Lexington streets.

"Estates and trusts were his field of expertise. He was the rock of reliability," said Sanford Schreiber, the co-managing partner of Blades & Rosenfeld.

"You knew that he was always here and always available for his clients' problems and issues, for issues and problems of his partners and for young attorneys to be mentored," said Mr. Schreiber. "We could always count on his excellent advice and counsel."

Jerome Geraghty, the other co-managing partner of the law firm, said clients enjoyed working with Mr. Cahn.

"The clients loved him. Charlie could represent a wealthy family regarding estate planning and the next moment the guy who owned the luncheonette downstairs in the building who needed to get a will done," Mr. Geraghty said. "They all felt comfortable with him, and he attracted all types of clients. He was a very down-to-earth type of person."

Mr. Cahn was also known as the firm's wordsmith, adept at assisting the firm's other attorneys who needed the right word or phrase to complete a legal document.

"He understood the law and examined every possibility, and then drafted and crafted documents to meet the clients' wishes and to cover a myriad of possibilities not even considered by his clients. And you knew he'd always do a good job," Mr. Geraghty said. "Charlie was a legal scholar but never too full of himself."

Mr. Cahn brought a light-hearted sense of fun to the law office now at 20 S. Charles St.

"He was also the office jokester. He had to tell you the latest joke, and most conversations would remind you of an old joke that he would effortlessly integrate into the conversation," Mr. Geraghty said. "Because he was so jovial, he made the office a warm and comfortable place in which to work."

A conservative dresser, Mr. Cahn was never without a tie and jacket, and even appeared once for a firm softball game dressed in his usual workday attire.

"Charlie was a wonderful mentor and he was a partner when I was hired in 1976," said Mr. Geraghty. "I think of him often and know that he played a big part in my professional life."

Mr. Cahn had served on the Maryland Bar Association's Estates & Trusts Section Council and the Attorney Grievance Commission.

"He was instrumental in drafting the law regarding taxation and disposition of joint accounts that remains the law today," said a son, James Cahn of Riderwood.

A longtime resident of Woodvalley Drive in Stevenson, he moved to Roland Park Place in 2007. He retired from the practice of law in 2009.

Mr. Cahn was an officer and director of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and had been president of the Jewish Family and Children's Services, and president of the Health and Welfare Council.

He was a member and former president of the Suburban Club.

Mr. Cahn enjoyed playing tennis, golf and boating. He was also a dog lover.

A graveside service for Mr. Cahn was held Feb. 12 at Druid Ridge Cemetery.

In addition to his son, Mr. Cahn is survived by his wife of 69 years, the former Elinor Bonwit; another son, Charles M. Cahn III of Timonium; a daughter, Deborah Carroll of Buckeystown; and five grandchildren.

frasmussen@baltsun.com

 

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