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Veteran estates and trusts attorney merges firm with Smith Gildea

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After nearly 20 years as a solo practitioner and 40 years practicing estates and trusts law, Mary G. Loker will become of counsel to Smith, Gildea & Schmidt LLC in Towson on Oct. 1. ‘It really was a total blessing,’ she said recently. (Maximilian Franz)

For much of her career, Mary G. Loker has forged her own path. She was one of four women in her law school class more than 40 years ago to pursue a career as an estates and trusts attorney and has run a solo practice in Baltimore County for the better part of the last 20 years.

But come Oct. 1, the 69-year-old Loker will merge her Phoenix-based firm with Smith, Gildea & Schmidt LLC in Towson, where she will be of counsel in the Towson office.

“It really was a total blessing,” she said recently. “They’re great guys, they’re good business people.”

The merger began after Loker had asked Mariela C. D’Alessio, the chair of the estates and trusts department at Smith Gildea, to work for Loker and start to take over her practice. D’Alessio, however, wanted to stay at her firm and encouraged Loker to look into merging her practice.

The merger will give Smith Gildea the opportunity to grow its practice and expand its offerings in estates and trusts.

“I have so much respect for Mariela. I know she’s going to be a good transition for me,” said Loker, adding she has known the firm’s senior partners for many years.

Loker plans to retire in the near future and have D’Alessio take over her clients.

“We’re excited to have her on board and I’m flattered and honored that I’m going to have the ability to work with her until she retires,” D’Alessio said. “It’s a win for everybody.”

Loker met D’Alessio six years ago, when D’Alessio was a young lawyer handling her first guardianship hearing. D’Alessio described herself as a “deer in headlights” and Loker, whose practice includes guardianships and adoptions, helped her out.

“We’ve clicked ever since,” D’Alessio said.

‘Loyal clientele’

Mary Loker

Mary Loker

Loker knew what area of law she wanted to pursue while attending the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“My favorite class that I took was estates and trusts that was taught by the dean,” Loker said.

Upon graduating, Loker joined Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Co., the largest area trust company at the time, as a trust officer, followed by eight years at Fedder & Garten in Baltimore.

“They taught me everything I know,” Loker said of the boutique law firm.

After taking a break to raise her children, Loker opened her own firm in 1996 in Phoenix, a location close to her home and her children’s school.

“We have a big following out here in this area in Phoenix,” Loker said. “They’re the ones that might be a little disappointed that they can’t just drive by.”

Loker will be hitting the ground running after she joins Smith Gildea next month, with many appointments already scheduled. She anticipates a lot of her current clients will move with her to the Towson office.

“I have a very loyal clientele,” Loker said, adding that her hourly rates aren’t going to change. “I will accommodate whoever I have to accommodate.”

Loker’s transition to the new firm initially will involve getting used to their systems and billing but she is looking forward to having someone else take care of office duties.

“I don’t have to be responsible for all the overhead all the time,” Loker said. “It will be just a relief… somebody else will be doing that a lot better than I’ve done it.”


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