Marc B. Noren, a family law attorney and former manager for the Civil Division of the Clerk's Office of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, died of respiratory failure on Aug. 25, at his home in Pikesville. He was 59 and had suffered for several years from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
Mr. Noren was a fixture in the Baltimore City court system and family law circles, having begun his career at the age of 19 at the Baltimore City clerk's office. By age 22, he was a leader in one of the civil courts.
After managing the civil division at the clerk's office for 20 years, he would become a top family law attorney in Maryland.
"He was one of the best in the state," said Oren Saltzman, a colleague of Mr. Noren at the regional law firm Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler LLC. "It is really unusual to find someone as knowledgeable as he was. Other lawyers called and asked Marc for advice. He was a hard worker, always there to help clients and mentor younger lawyers."
The son of Zelma and Bobby Klein, Mr. Noren grew up in Baltimore and attended Falstaff Elementary and Boys' Latin, where he played varsity football and edited the school's newspaper "The Inkwell."
After graduation in 1973, he attended the University of Baltimore while working at the clerk's office, where he later said he became enamored of the legal process.
"I was in love with the job, especially my role in helping people negotiate through a complicated legal process," Mr. Noren wrote in his law firm's newsletter in 2012. "Giving sound advice and seeing people benefit from my experiences was something that I never tired of."
In his 30s, Mr. Noren had two boys, Jason and Joshua, and started night school at the University of Baltimore School of Law. In 1995, he earned his J.D. and began working at the law firm Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler, the following year.
He would spend the rest of his career at the firm, focusing his practice on family law and general civil litigation.
"I feel that I am helping good people manage particularly bad situations and my role is to guide them into making the proper decisions," Mr. Noren wrote in the firm's newsletter.
In 2003, he was one of 20 lawyers to be selected by Baltimore Magazine as "Baltimore's Top Lawyers of the Next Generation."
"He saw a lot of broken families and wanted to help people. He would rush out any time of day to meet them," said his son Jason.
"He was the rock that both colleagues and family could depend upon," said his younger son, Joshua.
"Mr. Noren's instinct was to help people out. That was what he was known for," said Michael G. Hendler, an attorney who worked with Mr. Noren for more than 20 years.
Because of his knowledge and compassion, Mr. Noren was often appointed to represent children by judges and other lawyers in tough custody cases, said Hendler. "He was what's known as the Best Interest attorney, looking out for their well-being."
"This was someone who worked full time, went to night school and raised a couple of kids and is a success story that ended too soon," Hendler said.
Mr. Noren became chair of the Family & Juvenile Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association and a frequent lecturer at continuing legal education programs.
Steve Noren said his older brother was a constant source of encouragement for him and others. When Steve lost his job in Atlanta during the recession, for example, Mr. Noren spoke to him two to three times a week on the phone and would end every conversation with "I love you. Don't worry, things will get better."
The most important part of his life was his children, Saltzman said. "He was very much proud of his kids. His family was of utmost importance."
Although he was on oxygen during the past year, Mr. Noren continued to work full time and often visited his mother at a local nursing home.
"The most important thing to him was spending time with his family and watching or talking about Baltimore sports teams," his son Jason said.
An avid Baltimore sports fan, Mr. Noren grew up going to see Colts games; when he was older, he often took his sons to Orioles and Ravens games.
Mr. Noren is survived by his mother, sons, and brother. The family held a funeral service Aug. 29 at Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home in Pikesville.