Shapiro & Olander, a law firm that has grown significantly in recent years, will see its numbers shrink today when six lawyers, including four partners, depart to launch their own firm.
David M. Funk and Bryan D. Bolton will be the named partners in the new firm, Funk & Bolton. Other partners will be Timothy E. Dixon and Lindsey A. Rader, both partners at Shapiro & Olander.
The new firm will concentrate in four practice areas, Mr. Funk said: insurance law, municipal law, public finance and government relations.
"It's something I've been thinking about for a while," said Mr. Funk, who spent 10 years at Shapiro & Olander. "Risks are there, but so are opportunities. I have certain ideas about what law firms should do. It's time to put them to the test."
The loss of the six lawyers, including associates Derek B. Yarmis and Steven Jared Troy, reduces the number of lawyers at Shapiro & Olander to 40, and also has prompted the law firm to end its insurance regulatory practice, said Chris Olander, the firm's managing partner.
"It was a highly specialized, boutique-like practice within the law firm," said Mr. Olander, referring to the insurance work performed by the departing lawyers. "It is legislative work, regulatory and litigation. It's really the insurance practice breaking off and starting its own firm."
Mr. Funk and Mr. Bolton have carved out a large practice revolving around insurance issues.
Mr. Funk is chairman of a task force appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening that is studying automobile insurance costs in Baltimore. His and Mr. Bolton's clients include Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland and the League of Life and Health Insurers of Maryland Inc.
Today is the last day at Shapiro & Olander for the departing lawyers, Mr. Funk said. Funk & Bolton expects to open its doors Monday, though the firm was still choosing between office space at the USF&G; Tower and the First Maryland Bank Building late yesterday.
Mr. Olander said he expected Shapiro & Olander to be largely unaffected by the loss of the lawyers, and he described the parting as friendly.