On May 2, 1988, Pete Rose was suspended 30 days for pushing an ump, the Orioles signed a 15-year lease to stay in Baltimore, and I put up a handwritten sign on the 8th Floor of the Sun Life Building to announce that K&S was open for business. My partner joined me six days later, and with one computer, one printer, telephones (no mobile phones yet) and temporary office space (we moved to the 9th Floor several weeks later), we started a new law firm.
Our first permanent space was a sublease from a law firm, a firm much larger than we were, that no longer exists. As we grew, we moved back to the 8th Floor, where we signed a lease for the entire floor. We had that space until 2007, when we moved to Baltimore County, and four of my partners and I became landlords to Kollman & Saucier, P.A.
I have been very fortunate over the years to practice with friends, who also happen to be fantastic lawyers. Pete Saucier, my best friend since 1980, joined the firm in 1993 after an anxiety-inducing lunch at Alonso’s, where we discussed the uncertainties connected with running a business. Darrell VanDeusen, another close friend to both Pete and me, joined us in 1996, and he is now the principal manager of the firm, as well as a rainmaker. Pete and Darrell may not have been here at the very beginning, but they are the reason we are celebrating 25 years instead of going the way of many other law firms.
That does not mean that the other partners are not friends and important members of the team. It’s just that any history of Kollman & Saucier must begin with the premise that the firm was created by me, but truly started when Pete and Darrell came on board. They are part of the foundation and fabric of the firm in ways that defy simple explanation. Cliff Geiger, Tony Palaigos, Eric Paltell, Randi Hyatt, and Sarah Longson are the foundation and fabric of the next 25 years.
The firm has thrived and survived for many reasons, but the principal reason is that we have always done great work, combined with the kind of client attention that many law firms fail to achieve. In the early days, we returned phone calls from phone booths on Interstate highways; now we return calls and respond to emails, promptly, by smart phone if we are not in the office. We have attracted some of the finest lawyers in Maryland (or any other place), and they are capable of bringing the firm to its 50th Anniversary.
On a more personal note, K&S has been my home for nearly three-quarters of my legal career. I was 36 years old when I started the firm, my children were less than 10 years old, and I was taking a big risk that clients would follow and new clients would find me. Those first years were not easy, but the firm grew and worries about making payroll and rent abated. I am proud of the reputation we have, and I am even more proud that I am now one of 13 lawyers, rather than a 2-person law firm as we were in 1988.
Thank you for your business and your trust.
Frank L. Kollman