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Peter Angelos (File photo)

Angelos firm downsizes lawyers, staff

Sources: 12-plus attorneys let go with severance

More than a dozen lawyers have been let go from The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos P.C. in the last month and more might be on the way, sources told The Daily Record on Thursday.

The layoffs have affected both young lawyers and veterans of the firm, according to sources, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss personnel issues at the firm.

Lawyers are getting a three-month severance package, according to one source.

The layoffs would mean approximately 20 percent of the Baltimore-based firm’s practitioners were laid off. Its website listed 61 lawyers as of Thursday; the firm had 79 lawyers as of October 2013 and more than 80 lawyers five years ago, making it one of the biggest firms in the state.

The layoffs also have hit an unspecified number of support staff, according to sources. What level of total staff the firm ultimately is trying to reach was not immediately known.

The source who discussed severance packages said the layoffs were a “business decision” based on “future projections of income.”

The law firm has received attorneys’ fees in several high-profile cases this year. It was part of a team that will receive approximately $15 million in fees as part of a $37 million settlement approved in May of two class-action lawsuits against St. Joseph Medical Center over unnecessary stent implants.

The Angelos firm has also received attorneys’ fees from a January settlement on behalf of 200 Jacksonville households who sued ExxonMobil following a massive 2006 gasoline leak. Terms of the settlement are confidential.

However, the firm has suffered a few setbacks in its asbestos practice this year. In March, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge rejected its bid to consolidate some 13,000 asbestos cases for trial; and in June, the same judge rejected the firm’s attempt to hold Pfizer Inc. liable for insulation manufactured by a defunct subsidiary.

Angelos, 85, is the sole owner of the firm. Calls to H. Russell Smouse and Thomas Minkin, two of Angelos’ longest-serving law associates, were not returned Thursday afternoon.

Angelos is also majority owner and CEO of the Baltimore Orioles and has donated millions to the University of Baltimore, which named its law school building after his parents.