Linowes and Blocher law firm dissolving

Linowes and Blocher law firm dissolving

Bethesda firm has been in business for 64 years

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The law firm Linowes and Blocher, a longtime pillar of the Montgomery County legal establishment, is dissolving. The Bethesda-based firm has been in business since 1956.

Linowes and Blocher will be “closing its doors in the coming weeks,” former Managing Partner Bob Dalrymple wrote in a text message to Bethesda Beat on Wednesday. He would not comment further.

The firm, which at its peak had about 70 attorneys, is best known for its work in land-use matters.

“There was no major project in the county that occurred that we weren’t somewhat involved in,” said Stephen Kaufman, a land-use attorney at the firm for 45 years until he retired in 2018. “We were involved in everything.”

The firm recently represented Marriott International as it planned its new world headquarters in downtown Bethesda.

Kaufman said the firm, which was down to around 20 to 30 lawyers, was “a victim of the times.” He said mid-size firms, like Linowes, have trouble competing for talent with larger firms in Washington, D.C.

Linowes and Blocher was founded by R. Robert Linowes, who had been an assistant county attorney for Montgomery County. He started a private law practice in downtown Silver Spring.

Joseph Blocher, who also worked in the county attorney’s office, joined Linowes in 1962. The firm eventually moved to Bethesda and added offices in Washington, D.C., and Annapolis.

Steve Robins, a land use attorney who is the managing partner of Bethesda-based Lerch Early & Brewer, said in an interview on Wednesday that his firm had a “very friendly competitor relationship” with Linowes and Blocher.

“When you think of Montgomery County real estate, it’s hard not to think about Linowes and Blocher, so it’s sad like something like this would happen,” said Robins, who got his start working at Linowes. “They had a lot of terrific lawyers there.”

Kaufman said most of the attorneys in the Bethesda office have landed positions elsewhere.

According to Kaufman:
• Dalrymple, Jessica Drexler Lieberman, Brian Bichy, Matt Gordon, David Weintraub and Bob Park have gone to The Seltzer Law Firm in Bethesda
• Barbara Sears, Scott Wallace, Erin Girard, Bill Riggins and Phil Hummel are now at Miles & Stockbridge, a Baltimore firm with an office in Rockville
• Heather Dlhopolsky went to Wire Gill, a land-use firm in Northern Virginia
• Jack Orrick has gone to Offit Kurman in Bethesda.

Seven Linowes lawyers were selected by their Montgomery County bar peers as “Top Attorneys” in the November/December 2019 issue of Bethesda Magazine. They are Bichy, Dalrymple, Dlhopolsky, Hummel, Orrick, Riggins and Weintraub.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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