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Nonprofit law group moving to Baltimore; Phi Alpha Delta will make city its world headquarters; Legal profession


Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, a nonprofit professional association of lawyers, students and others with links to the law profession, will move its international headquarters to Baltimore this spring.

The association has purchased a four-story office building at 345 N. Charles St. and plans to relocate from Granada Hills, Calif.

The move will take several months, and the association will briefly operate in both locations.

But the Baltimore headquarters will ultimately house all of Phi Alpha Delta's administrative offices -- including about 12 employees -- and the association's Public Service Center, dedicated to law-related education of elementary and high school students.

"It's a great place for a law organization to roll up its sleeves and provide some of that community service for which attorneys rarely receive credit," said Joseph Deems, a Los Angeles attorney who serves as Phi Alpha Delta's international justice, or president.

Deems said Baltimore's proximity to Washington played a role in the organization's selection, especially since most of its members live in the eastern United States. Phi Alpha Delta, founded in 1902, was based in Washington before it moved to California 40 years ago.

The mostly volunteer organization sponsors educational programs to teach law-related topics to young students, ranging from mock trials for grade-schoolers to legal education for teen-aged mothers.

Phi Alpha Delta is the latest in a string of nonprofit organizations to select Baltimore as a home, including Catholic Relief Services, International Youth Foundation, Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. The Abell Foundation is providing financial assistance for the organization to purchase its building.

Phi Alpha Delta has chapters at all accredited law schools in the region, and has 160,000 men and woman as members worldwide. It says that one of every six U.S. lawyers is a member.

Pub Date: 1/28/99

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