On Thursday, May 18, attorneys from Miller, Miller & Canby attended Richard Montgomery High School’s Senior Awards Night and awarded Erica Abshire with Miller, Miller & Canby’s Scholarship to attend Montgomery College. Presenting the Scholarship to Erica were partners Joseph Suntum and Donna McBride.
Erica Abshire is an individual who, despite certain challenges, has demonstrated a strong commitment to academics and has continually worked to overcome the obstacles she has confronted. Erica’s efforts were also recognized by the Richard Montgomery’s faculty, selecting her as the school’s “Featured Scholar”, a recognition given to the student who has continuously improved academically throughout their time at Richard Montgomery High School. Erica also spends time working to improve the lives of others within her community, devoting time within her church groups to counsel individuals with particular needs.
The Scholarship is awarded to students whose record of academic performance and community involvement reflect both the ability and commitment to succeed. By the same token, the firm hopes the Scholarship will provide an opportunity to academically deserving students who, because of personal circumstances, might otherwise have difficulty financing their attendance at Montgomery College.
Miller, Miller & Canby established its scholarship in 2016 as part of its commemoration of the firm’s 70th Anniversary. The scholarship is awarded annually to students from Richard Montgomery High School and provides each student up to $10,000 to attend Montgomery College. The scholarship recognizes Miller, Miller & Canby’s long history of service to the Montgomery County community as well as its presence in Rockville where it has maintained its offices for its entire history.
The firm chose to award the scholarship to students who will attend Montgomery College because, like Miller, Miller & Canby, Montgomery College has been a part of the fabric of Montgomery County, providing affordable college level educational opportunities to residents. Montgomery College also celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016, and Miller, Miller & Canby has been privileged to provide legal representation to the College throughout that period. By establishing this scholarship for students to attend Montgomery College, the firm recognizes the importance of the College’s mission and the firm’s support of that mission.
Richard Montgomery High School was chosen because the school shares a similar history as Miller, Miller & Canby within the City of Rockville Richard Montgomery High School is located just a few hundred yards from Miller, Miller & Canby’s offices, in the location of the school’s site when it was the original “Rockville High School.” In that sense, Richard Montgomery High School and Miller, Miller & Canby have been long-time neighbors in Rockville.
- Posted May 17, 2017 at 6:14 PM
- Categories Litigation, Land Development, Press, MM&C Happenings, Maryland Property Tax News, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce our attorneys who have been named to the list of Super Lawyers in the D.C. Metropolitan area for 2017. Attorneys James Thompson, Jody Kline and Donna McBride have been selected for this honor, and attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40.
Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in the nation’s capital through a patented multiphased selection process which involves independent research, as well as peer nomination and review/evaluation. The objective is to create a comprehensive listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and a variety of firm sizes. The lists are published annually in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers nationwide.
2017 marks the 11th year that James (Jim) Thompson has been named to the list. Jim has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, he represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owner’s Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation.
Jody Kline has been a named Super Lawyer for each of the past 10 years, and has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development and Zoning practice group since 1981. He focuses his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law, and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. Additionally, he represents clients in matters relating to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, institutions, municipal corporations and entities, private schools, non-profit entities and private individuals.
Donna McBride has been a named Super Lawyer since 2014, and has been a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice since 2009. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas: business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, she is co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
2017 is the second year that attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list. She is an associate in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Litigation practice, focusing in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. She has successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals and represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of the Montgomery County “Rain Tax.” She contributes her time to the Finding Justice project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. View the entire 2017 DC Super Lawyers by clicking here.
Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Use & Zoning Attorney Sean Hughes has joined the Board of Directors of the Maryland DC Wireless Association (“MDDCWA”). The association’s mission is to promote awareness for the wireless industry with programming and communications that cultivate and advance relationships between industry members and local communities.
Founded in 2007, the MDDCWA includes members who are involved with the deployment, operations and maintenance of wireless networks, including cell carriers, tower companies, A&E firms, surveyors, general contractors and others. Issues such as infrastructure, zoning and regulatory matters are key priorities for the organization.
Sean, who previously served on the Board from 2009 into 2013, is honored to once again have the opportunity to be a valued member. “I look forward to contributing to the mission of the MDDCWA and to helping the organization achieve its goals on behalf of our industry and the communities we serve.”
David Yacoub, current MDDCWA President, is pleased to welcome Sean back on the Board. “I have had the great pleasure of knowing and working with Sean Hughes for nearly 20 years. In that time, he has been one of the most competent and prolific wireless telecom land use attorneys I know. Having him on the Board of the MD/DC Wireless Association is both beneficial and exciting. We will put his years of experience and expertise to great use as the MDDCWA represents the wireless telecom community in the Baltimore/Washington market on the issues that directly impact our industry.”
Sean P. Hughes is an attorney in Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Use practice group. His career spans more than two decades of focus in legal and wireless telecommunications and he has represented clients in land use and zoning matters throughout the Mid-Atlantic. To learn more about the firm’s Land Use and Zoning practice, click here or email Sean. To learn more about the work of the MDDCWA click here.
Glenn Anderson joined Executive Leaders Radio on January 12 and was interviewed by host Herb Cohen, co-founder of the program.
Executive Leaders Radio conducts interviews of prominent CEOs, CFOs, and organizational leaders, focusing on factors that contribute to success.
The ten to twenty-five minute on-air interviews are essentially informal conversations, where guests are asked about their background, education, influences, mentors and early career experiences. Guests also talk about their business, what they do and who they serve. Additionally, questions probe “interests outside of work, personal turning points and family sacrifices to capture the unique human aspect behind these prominent leaders."
During his interview Glenn spoke at length about the entrepreneurial drive that he possessed at a young age, and how his father influenced this passion. He also spoke about his education, the leadership roles he has held at Miller, Miller & Canby, which include Chief Financial Shareholder and Managing Shareholder, and his belief in the importance of mentoring.
In addition to launching Executive Leaders Radio, Herb Cohen also co-founded the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Entrepreneurial Network, Fairleigh Dickinson Entrepreneurial Center, and the Center for the Advancement of Study of Entrepreneurship at Temple University.
Executive Leaders Radio airs on Federal News Radio (WFED 1500 AM and streams at federalnewsradio.com). The program also airs nationally in major markets.
Glenn Anderson leads the Business & Tax practice and Estates & Trusts practice at Miller, Miller & Canby. He can be reached 301-762-5212.
Miller, Miller & Canby has a rich history in Montgomery County as the first law firm established in Rockville, Maryland. In 2016, the firm celebrated its 70th Anniversary by giving back to the community with several outreach programs throughout the year. Miller, Miller & Canby has an unsurpassed dedication to serving and protecting client rights which sets the firm apart. It is within this community spirit that when asked by the 2016-2017 Bar Association Leadership Academy fellows to Take Five minutes to contribute to the Montgomery County Bar Foundation Endowment Fund, 100 percent of MM&C attorneys answered the call, and we encourage other firms to consider supporting this effort and contributing to positive change in our community.
The Montgomery County Bar Foundation Endowment Fund was started with a $20,000 gift from Bill Canby, prominent Miller, Miller & Canby attorney, who believed in giving back to the community. The Bar Foundation supports meaningful programs within Montgomery County, including TV/Law School for the Public; Creating a New Tomorrow; the Pro Bono Program; the Summer Scholars Pipeline Program; High School Mock Trials; the Continuing Legal Education Program; and Montgomery County Special Olympics.
Several of MM&C attorneys have served as President and Board Members of the Montgomery County Bar Association. The firm highly encourages their younger attorneys to participate in the Bar Foundation’s Leadership Development Academy. MM&C litigation attorney, Callie Carnemark is a 2016-2017 fellow of the Leadership Academy.
Click here to Donate Now to the Take Five Campaign. To learn more about the Montgomery County Bar Foundation Endowment Fund, click here.
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to welcome Sean P. Hughes as an attorney in the firm’s Land Use Group.
“Sean has an extensive understanding of zoning and land use law in and around the Washington, DC area,” noted Jody S. Kline, Co-Chair of the Land Use Group. “In addition, his background in telecommunications and communications law expands Miller, Miller & Canby’s resources in this quickly growing legal area.”
Sean's career spans more than two decades of focus in legal and wireless telecommunications, including handling public relations and affairs matters of a Fortune 50 company throughout the United States. During the course of his career, he has spoken extensively on topics related to telecommunications land use law. Additionally, he has represented clients in land use and zoning matters throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, and in litigation matters in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Raised in Montgomery County, MD, Mr. Hughes attended Montgomery County Public Schools, is a past member of the Howard County Inns of Court and the MD/DC Wireless Association and is highly involved in youth soccer in Howard County, MD. Mr. Hughes is a graduate of the University of Delaware and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. For more information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s land development practice, click here or contact Sean at 301-762-5212.
- Posted February 1, 2017 at 2:23 PM
- Categories Land Development, Press, MM&C Happenings, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is pleased to announce that Soo Lee-Cho, land use and zoning attorney, has been named Principal of the firm and will join Jody S. Kline as Co-Chair of the Land Development Practice Group.
“Soo represents the best of Miller, Miller & Canby’s strengths in an area of law that has been at the core of our firm’s practice for more than 70 years,” noted Jody S. Kline. “Soo approaches every client and every case with extraordinary passion, diligence and skillful application of the law.”
Soo Lee-Cho’s practice includes land use, zoning law, real estate development and administrative law. She assists a wide array of property owners and developers (both local and national) with securing necessary entitlements to develop their properties, including local map amendments, sketch/site plans, subdivision approvals, zoning text amendments, historic preservation, master plan recommendations, special exceptions/conditional uses and variances. She appears before administrative boards, commissions and elected officials, including the Montgomery County Council, the County Board of Appeals, the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings, various County agencies, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the City Councils, boards and planning commissions of Rockville and Gaithersburg.
Soo represents firms from multiple sectors including multi-family, senior housing, affordable housing developers, real estate investment trusts (REITs), retailers, commercial and industrial landowners, private educational institutions, day care facilities, hospitals and churches. Representative clients include Quadrangle Development Corporation, Duball, LLC, JBG Rosenfeld Retail, Montgomery College, The Bullis School, Medstar Montgomery Medical Center and PNC Bank.
Soo Lee-Cho’s law career spans 20 years, beginning with a municipal law and land development firm in Los Angeles, California, where her land use law practice focused on development impact review, California Environmental Quality Act compliance and entitlements procurement in connection with entertainment/sports and commercial development. She is a graduate of The University of California, Los Angeles (Bachelor of Arts, 1993) and The Loyola Law School (Juris Doctor, 1996).
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. For more information about Miller, Miller & Canby’s land development practice, click here or contact Soo at 301-762-5212.
In 2016, Miller, Miller & Canby celebrated 70 years of serving the legal needs of our community. We celebrated this milestone anniversary through several initiatives and public service projects.
Our last event of the year was the donation of 70 wreaths to Wreaths Across America and volunteering to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday December 17th. MM&C employees and their families also participated in laying wreaths and remembering those men and women who served our country. The 2016 Wreaths Across America theme was to “#SayTheirNames.” Volunteers were reminded that when you place the wreath, you may be the first person to visit that particular grave in years, and were asked to “Say Their Names” to honor the memory of that hero. This event has special meaning to Miller, Miller & Canby as, James R. Miller, Sr., who along with his wife founded our firm, was a Marine who served in WWII and was awarded the Silver Star for Valor. Many others who subsequently joined Miller, Miller & Canby, were also members of our country’s Armed Services, including Bill Canby (USN), Robert Burchett (US Army), Jim Thompson (USMC), Lew Schumann (USAF) and Jody Kline (US Army-Special Forces).
We recognize that our 70th anniversary is in many respects due to the relationships we have built and maintained with you, our clients, friends and the business community. For many, these relationships have been long-standing and span multiple generations. So, as we celebrated our firm's anniversary in 2016, we also celebrated our relationships with you, and the continued trust that you have placed in us to represent and counsel you in your business and personal affairs. We invite you to learn more about our firm’s history here.
- Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:23 PM
- Categories Eminent Domain and Condemnation, Litigation, Land Development, Press, MM&C Happenings, Business & Tax, Featured Events
Miller, Miller & Canby is proud to announce that attorneys James (Jim) L. Thompson, Joel (Jody) Kline and Donna McBride have been selected to the 2017 Maryland Super Lawyers list and attorney Diane Feuerherd has been named to the 2017 Rising Stars list, which recognizes attorneys under the age of 40. No more than five percent of the lawyers in Maryland are selected by Super Lawyers.
Jim Thompson has been a leader in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation Group for more than 35 years, concentrating his practice in eminent domain (with partner Joe Suntum) and in real estate valuation litigation, as well as in property tax assessment appeals and general civil litigation. For more than a decade, Mr. Thompson represented Maryland as the sole member in the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national network of property rights attorneys with demonstrated excellence in this area, focusing upon the representation of landowners in eminent domain litigation. Currently Mr. Suntum is the selected member for the state of Maryland. With Mr. Thompson’s breadth of legal experience, proven results, mature judgment, and tenured leadership within the judicial system and the bar, having served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association, he brings the ideal blend of proven trial experience and legal skill to client representations.
Jody Kline has led Miller, Miller & Canby’s Land Development department since 1981, focusing his practice in land use, zoning and subdivision law and representing clients in many of Montgomery County’s planning and economic development initiatives. In addition to zoning and subdivision law, he represents clients in matters related to master planning, zoning text amendments, conditional use permits, building permit issuance, and other administrative and real estate matters related to land use and development. His clients include residential and commercial developers, private individuals, religious institutions, private schools, non-profit entities and municipal corporations and agencies.
Donna McBride, a partner in Miller, Miller & Canby's Litigation practice since 2009, has tried hundreds of lawsuits throughout the state of Maryland and in the District of Columbia, approximately 100 of which were jury trials. She focuses her practice in litigation in the following areas: business and commercial, employment, estates and trusts, personal injury and insurance, as well as real estate. In addition to her extensive background as a trial lawyer, Ms. McBride is a co-chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Judicial Selections Committee, served on the Character Committee for the Court of Appeals, is a member of the Montgomery Inn of Court and volunteers as a mediator for the District Court. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and on the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Court of Appeals of Maryland.
Diane Feuerherd is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice, focusing in appellate, employment, commercial and business litigation. Ms. Feuerherd joined the firm in the fall of 2013 after serving for two years as an appellate law clerk to the Honorable Lynne A. Battaglia of the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court. In her two years since joining the firm, Diane has briefed and successfully argued cases before the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals, and, most recently represented a commercial developer challenging the validity of Montgomery County’s “Rain Tax.” She is an active member of the Montgomery County Inns of Court and the Montgomery County Bar Association. She also contributes her time to the Finding Justice Project, a committee of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation, researching and memorializing the history of women lawyers in Maryland.
Mr. Thompson has been named a Super Lawyer for each of the past 11 years; Mr. Kline for the past 10 years, and Ms. McBride since 2014. 2017 is the second year Ms. Feuerherd has been selected as a Rising Star. They join other Miller, Miller & Canby attorneys previously named Super Lawyers, including Joe Suntum and Pat McKeever.
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.
The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes:
• Peer nominations
• Independent research by Super Lawyers
• Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys
The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Maryland Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com.
Click the download button below to view the firm's formal press release. Click here to view the digital article in The Daily Record.
- Posted October 30, 2016 at 3:53 PM
- Categories MM&C Happenings
Celebrating our 70th Anniversary provides us an opportunity to reflect on our heritage as a law firm and the individuals whose contributions impacted our growth and the clients and community we serve, as well as the legal profession. It is also an opportunity for us to share this history with you, our clients and friends, who have been as much a part of this history as the attorneys who have been privileged to serve you. This is the third of a four-part reflection on our journey as a law firm and of the attorneys who were a part of it.
Increasing Workload and Growth Brings Litigation Attorney James L. Thompson to the Firm
Aware that Jim Miller, Jr. was likely to be leaving the firm soon, and in any event responding to an increasing work load; in the early spring of 1970 Bill Canby started looking with his partners’ encouragement for another associate. He came across a young Marine officer, a graduate of Yale undergraduate and University of Virginia Law School, who was leaving the service and wanted to practice in Montgomery County where he had grown up and gone to high school. Hence the prospect of the association of James (“Jim”) L. Thompson with Miller, Miller & Canby.
Jim Thompson was a great find for the firm. He was intelligent, mature, a leader, self-possessed and articulate. As soon as he was interviewed, the partners knew that he was the person they were looking for to help with the existing workload and, if things worked out as it seemed they would, to bridge the gap to be left by the departure of Jim Miller, Jr. He was offered a position as an associate, and he accepted in the summer of 1970.
Strong Partnerships Make the Firm a Great Place to Work
From 1970 to the present, the firm continued to grow, and the partners and associates continued to prosper from that growth. It isn’t practical in this history of the firm to give the deserved attention and credit to all of the partners and associates who have contributed to its success because there are too many of them. Most would agree that the nucleus over those years was comprised of Bill Canby who came on board in 1961, Bob Burchett in 1966, Jim Thompson in 1970, Lew Schumann in 1973 and Jody Kline in 1974. They set a standard. All, except Bill Canby and Bob Burchett, remain with the firm as of this writing. This says something about the firm itself--it is a good place to work and the partners/shareholders get along, as does the staff.
The Passing of Bill Canby and Retirement of Bob Burchett
Tragically, Bill sustained a fatal accident in September 1994 while vacationing with his wife (Judy) and children. Bill had gone into semi-retirement and took on an “Of Counsel” designation with the firm on January 1, 1993. The survivors in the firm believe that the wisdom that Bill demonstrated in his thirty (30) plus years with the firm has been passed along to those still here who had the good fortune of knowing and working with him.
Bob Burchett retired from the Firm in 1998 after thirty-two (32) years of practice. Both Bill and Bob’s earned retirement years were way too short, but their impact on the Firm and the lawyers they mentored continues on to this day.
Jim Miller, Jr. Returns to Firm from Retirement
Bill’s loss was tempered by the legal ability, dedication and the leadership of the partners who were in place at that time, including Lew Schumann, Jody Kline, Jim Thompson and Bob Burchett. In addition, it was the firm’s good fortune of having Jim Miller, Jr., return in August 1991. After giving his all to service as a judge on the United States District Court of Maryland for sixteen (16) years, Jim decided to retire. After five (5) years of retirement, his mental and physical energy was restored, and he was ready to return to the practice of law doing mediation and arbitration, principally. Although Jim had many opportunities available to him, he decided that what he really wanted to do was return to his roots.
Lew Schumann’s Leadership and Dedication as Managing Partner
Another special note of appreciation and recognition must be given to Lew Schumann who served as the managing partner of the firm for approximately twenty (20) years while at the same time carrying a full case load. He served with wisdom and distinction in both positions. As a tax and business lawyer, he helped numerous clients structure their operations to maximize their profits, cut their taxes and maintain flexibility to deal with contingencies. He also helped clients in estate planning where he could make complex tax regulations simple. During Lew’s management, the firm emerged from the old ways of management that were customary in rural and suburban law partnerships and became a corporation with a structure and a more sophisticated approach to day-to-day and long-term operations. The firm evolved into specialized practice areas, modernized its legal research and improved its filing and record keeping.
An Undeniable Reputation of Legal Advocacy and Success
Throughout its history, the firm and its lawyers have maintained a reputation with the Bench, the Bar, the public and its clients that present members are proud of and will do whatever it takes to maintain. One small example is that four (4) past presidents of the Bar Association of Montgomery County have been lawyers with the firm, even though the firm’s size at this time varied from four (4) to eight (8) lawyers. Also, this was accomplished during the time when to achieve that position it was necessary to win a contested election rather than have the office passed on to a successor who was next in line. Clearly, our fellow lawyers in the County respected our partners and recognized their leadership. Our past presidents are Jim Miller (1969-70), Bill Canby (1977-78), Jim Thompson (1987-88) and Pat McKeever (1993-94). Jim Thompson took it to the next level and was elected President of the Maryland State Bar Association (“MSBA”) after having served on the Board of Governors for three (3) terms and chairman of numerous MSBA committees.
As the firm approached the 1990’s, the future was bright. There remained a strong and dedicated nucleus of old timers surrounded by an equally strong and dedicated group of new arrivals, including both shareholders and associates. The firm was well positioned to carry on its outstanding history of service to the profession and its clients into the next century.
Client Focused. Results Driven.
Some of the keys to the firm’s ongoing success included the quality of the lawyers dedicated to excellent representation of clients, plus the firm’s reputation and the good results which clients received for reasonable fees. They were well satisfied and the firm prospered and our representative clients at that time were very impressive. Some of our representative clients included Sandy Spring Bank, Bank of Bethesda, The Barlow Corporation, The Glen Construction Co., Pumphrey Funeral Homes, The Barrie School, Montgomery General Hospital, Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company, Minkoff Development company, Asbury Methodist Home (Now Village), and several of the major country clubs--Congressional, Bethesda, Manor, Burning Tree, Columbia--plus major developers--Roger Eisinger and Lazlo Tauber, and others. In addition, our ad valorem tax practice grew to include in later years many large retail stores like Sears, K-Mart, Macy’s and Target.
Our prosperity was helped by the significant contributions that Jody Kline made in his area of land use and zoning, where he became one of the most pre-eminent lawyers in Montgomery County in this practice area. Jody was a graduate from Washington & Lee University as an undergraduate, and from the law school. When Bill Canby, also a Washington & Lee graduate, saw that, there was immediate interest and ultimate compatibility. We were fortunate to hire him in 1974. After learning the ropes, he took off and the rest is history. Not only did he do excellent work, but his clients came back and referred other clients to him and to the firm. This took place prior to the time that lawyers’ advertising was permitted.
The Evolution of Specialized Law Practice
During the 1970’s, the firm evolved in several important respects. First, we began to evolve from a general practice law firm where each lawyer was expected to undertake legal representation in every area of law practice, to becoming a more specialized law practice in the late 70’s and early 80’s focused on all issues touching real property (land use, zoning, eminent domain, ad valorem tax appeals, sale and lease transactions, and financing),the related business needs of clients (business and tax, and estates and trusts) and litigation that flowed from these practice areas.
Our specialization evolved from the specific legal talents and abilities of our attorneys, as those who were excellent in land use and zoning focused their practice in that area and other attorneys with interests and skills in other areas became experts in those fields. Other areas of practice were eliminated, such as criminal law and, after Bob Burchett’s departure, domestic relations. Because of these changes, our attorneys became more focused and rose to the top of their practice areas. This resulted in professional recognition as all of our nucleus lawyers became A-rated lawyers, and then, as the various lawyer rating systems proliferated, all became recognized as some of the finest attorneys in their respective practice areas.
Jim Thompson was elected to be a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers which is a limited to the top one percent (1%) of trial lawyers in the United States. As the litigation department grew, the decision was made to expand the lawyers in the firm with those abilities, and we were fortunate to acquire Joseph P. Suntum as a new associate in 1988. After his judicial clerkship and his service in the Public Defender’s office where he earned a reputation as an outstanding trial advocate Joe joined the firm and has become one of our finest trial lawyers. He successfully tried multi-million dollar civil cases concerning a variety of legal and factual issues—and defended those trial victories in the courts of appeal. Now he has focused those talents in the field of Eminent Domain, where he represents property owners whose property is acquired by government for public projects and uses. Because of his expertise and the excellent results he’s achieved, he has been selected by the Owner’s Counsel for America to be its only Maryland member--the best in Maryland.
This expansion paid off, as did our trial successes and our appellate work. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the firm had over fifty (50) appellate cases in which members of the firm , appeared as counsel before the Courts of Appeal and argued cases which set precedent in numerous areas of the law, among them are: Supervisor of Assessments vs. Ort Children Trust IV, 294 Md. 195 (1982) (because capitalized income was a legitimate basis for determining a property’s full cash value, the tax court did not err in reducing assessed value of property to reflect a long -term below-market lease); Lerner vs. Lerner, 306 Md. 771 (1986) (preliminary injunction against freeze-out of minority shareholder’s interest was proper as he faced irreparable harm if such a freeze-out and other complications arising which could be avoided by maintaining the status quo); Mayor of Baltimore City vs. Valsamaki, 397 Md. 222 (2007) (when the trial court properly denied the city’s petition for quick-take condemnation of the Valsamaki property because the city failed to articulate the reasons why it was necessary to have the property for immediate possession and title; hence, quick-take was not appropriate); County Federal Savings & Loan Association vs. Equitable Savings & Loan Association, 261 Md. 246 (1971) (a savings and loan association reforming under Maryland law was property allowed to keep its District of Columbia branches where they served a significant number of Maryland customers whose best interest was served by their continued operation); Supervisor of Assessments vs. Asbury Methodist Home, Inc., 313 Md. 614 (1988) (Asbury apartments were not entitled to tax exemption because they were not actually used for charitable purposes and the test for tax exempt status was whether the property was necessary for charitable purposes); and Charles Browning vs. Commission of Internal Revenue, 109 T.C. 16 (1997) (charitable contribution of farmland development density to preserve farm preservation in Howard County was tax deductible over and above price paid by County).
As practice areas grew new lawyers were brought in in each of the major practice areas: Litigation, Zoning and Land Use, Business, Taxation and Estates and Trusts and Real Estate Transactions and Planning adding depth and providing continuity into the future in each practice area. As time passed and the firm evolved, we developed a loose-knit team at not only the partnership and management level, but also at the level of associates. In this regard, the firm has experienced several things which many suburban firms did not. For example, MM&C has never lost a partner or shareholder in an adverse situation where the person was fired or terminated for cause or left because he or she was unhappy here. Also, the partners or shareholders put the firm first ahead of selfish and personal interests, and this was a major contribution to firm unity. In consideration of these several factors and the pleasant work environment, the attorneys and the staff find MM&C a good place to work. Hence, several employees have been here for more than 40 years and lawyers and, staff alike, have made the firm a professional home for their entire work careers.
The quality of the firm and its continued excellence depends upon the quality of its lawyers. We were fortunate in the ‘70s and ‘80s to have attorneys on board who could pick up the practice areas and continue the standard of excellence set by Jim Miller, Jr., and Bill Canby.