The Baltimore law firm of Piper & Marbury said yesterday that it had hired three partners from Venable, Baetjer & Howard, including the head of that firm's taxation practice.
The move represents a minor coup for Piper, which has boasted a strong corporate law section that has not been matched by its tax practice. At the same time, Venable's taxation section, once nationally known, is a fraction of the size it reached in its heyday in the mid-1980s.
Venable partner Stephen L. Owen, 40, who chaired Venable's tax practice for several years, joined Piper Wednesday as a partner in that firm's tax section, which is headed by Larry Katz.
Mr. Owen chaired the tax section of the Maryland State Bar Association and is a member of the American Law Institute.
"It's an excellent opportunity to service my clients," he said. Mr. Owen declined to elaborate on his reasons for the move.
Mr. Owen, a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and William and Mary Law School, said each of the Venable partners had zTC their own reasons for wanting to work at Piper.
Also making the move were Venable partners Mark Meudeking, 38, and Marianne Schmitt Hellauer, 37.
Mr. Meudeking, a specialist in employee benefits, pensions and executive compensation law, graduated from St. John's University, Notre Dame Law School, and Georgetown University Law Center, where he received a master's degree in taxation.
Piper lost about half of its pension practice several months ago when partner Henry Smith and an associate left to set up a small firm. Ms. Hellauer, who practiced estates and trust law at Venable, graduated from the University of Maryland and was an editor of the law review at the University of Baltimore.
"These are all superb lawyers whose experience and skills fill strategically important positions in our firm," Piper Chairman Decatur H. Miller said in a statement. "They will enhance our capabilities to serve our clients in a number of sophisticated areas."