Schaefer to practice law again

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Former Gov. William Donald Schaefer is about to do something he hasn't done in at least 24 years.

Tuesday, he hangs out his shingle.

The 73-year-old attorney will get a corner office with a fireplace at Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander in downtown Baltimore. With 70 lawyers, it is the state's eighth largest law firm.

Barry F. Rosen, chairman of Gordon, Feinblatt, said Mr. Schaefer will have an "elastic relationship" with the firm. He will not be a partner but rather will be "of counsel," meaning he "can pursue other things at the same time, as opposed to someone who is here full time," Mr. Rosen said.

"This will give him an opportunity to give advice and counsel to people who seek his expertise," Mr. Rosen said. "We believe he will help us serve our clients. He is a problem-solver."

He declined to discuss Mr. Schaefer's compensation.

Gordon, Feinblatt maintains a lobbying presence in Annapolis. The firm's clients include Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, the Maryland Bankers Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Property Owners Association of Greater Baltimore and Prudential Health Care Plan.

But Mr. Rosen said Mr. Schaefer is not expected to return to the General Assembly to lobby lawmakers. "My initial sense is that the governor will not be heavily involved in our lobbying practice," Mr. Rosen said.

Mr. Schaefer maintained a private law practice in the 1950s and 1960s. Although he can still return to that line of work, the former governor has long acknowledged a certain disdain for lawyering, and Gordon, Feinblatt representatives conceded he probably won't spend much time in court.

"He's a really good lawyer -- an excellent mind. He just doesn't like it," said Mary Arabian, a retired judge who was Mr. Schaefer's law partner from 1950 to 1961.

The former mayor of Baltimore has publicly flirted with the idea of running for his old office at City Hall this year. Mr. Rosen declined to comment on whether Mr. Schaefer's new job is likely to influence that decision.

Mr. Schaefer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Schaefer was dropped this month as a twice-weekly commentator on WJZ-TV (Channel 13) because of his posture as a potential mayoral candidate. Station managers have indicated they would put him back on the air if he declined to run.

The former governor holds at least two other part-time jobs. He is a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland.

Gordon, Feinblatt is home to at least two longtime allies of Mr. Schaefer: Eugene M. Feinblatt, one of the firm's founding partners, and Zelig Robinson, the former governor's personal lawyer.

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