Leave it to veteran divorce lawyers -- "grab the kids and the furniture and get out" -- to know how to handle their own break-up.
Mark Sandground, prominent divorce lawyer whose clients have included Rita Jenrette and Paula Parkinson, recently lost his firm when his four partners literally packed up and moved out one night.
Sandground's partners, Glenn Lewis, Pete Kinsey, Leonard Dack and David Good, quietly planned the move for about 10 days, according to sources close to the four.
They didn't tell Sandground they were leaving, fearing that if they did he might lock up their files and that they would risk a bloody fight to get them back.
Instead, around 8:30 Friday night, Sept. 11, the four of them sat around the office discussing the planned move. The building across the street on Connecticut Avenue, where they had found office space, was still open. They suddenly decided to call a mover who had once been a client. A half hour later a truck pulled up to the offices and carted out all the files and furniture they felt belonged to them. Most of the files were not even boxed up. By 3 a.m., the move was complete.
Neither Sandground nor his former partners wanted to comment on the reasons for the break-up. Sources close to the departing lawyers said the reasons included personality clashes and financial differences over the cut of the pie.
In an interview, Sandground said that he knew all along that they were leaving and that they would leave that Friday night. His former partners reportedly are certain there is no way he could have known when they were leaving.
Be that as it may, relations between Sandground and his former partners, by all accounts, have been amicable since the breakup. Files have been traded across Connecticutt Avenue without difficulty. Sandground says he wishes them well and that he's already building his new practice. The old firm's one associate is still with him, he said, and he's already brought on two others.
No suits, no lockouts, no hard feelings, no fuss. That's how the pros do it.
The life of the corporate lawyer is not an easy one. Take Timothy G. Smith, former Carter reelection campaign general counsel and now an associate in the D.C. office of New York's Rogers & Wells.
Smith is leaving at the end of October to become general counsel to the Tournament Players Association, formerly called the Professional Golfers Association Tour. That's the 350-member trade organization that handles business for almost all the pros -- Nicklaus, Trevino, Player, Palmer, Watson and the rest.
The TPA co-sponsors tournaments, negotiates television rights and is responsible for promoting golf, whose growth has been somewhat flat since the heydays when Ike was on the greens and Palmer was in his prime. The TPA is looking into having bubble gum cards with golfers like the ones for baseball players to promote interest among youngsters. It's also encouraging construction of new courses that will allow more spectators to see tournaments.
It might sound like a great job, but there are serious drawbacks. First, Smith will have to move to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, about 25 miles down the coast from Jacksonville. He'll have to find a house somewhere near the association's headquarters complex, which faces the Atlantic and has the Inland Waterway out the back door. Then there's the 18-hole golf course, now expanding to 36 holes, right on the grounds.
But Smith has no boat and doesn't sail, so there'll be extra expenses there. Worst of all, he really doesn't golf. "Terrible slice," he says.
With his new job it would seem he could always find some hacker like Watson or Nicklaus to straighten out the slice, but not so. Smith says he's not even thinking about such things.
"I plan to be working very hard," he says, a statement of a man who's spent all of his 33 years in Washington. Smith has been here so long that he never bothered to ask if his contract included free tee privileges.
Benjamin Greenspoon, associate director of the Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement division, is joining the eight-lawyer firm of Tepper Edmundsen & Stoer on Nov. 1. Greenspoon's name will go on the letterhead after Edmundsen's. The firm is also moving to 1801 K St. NW, taking over space once held by the now defunct Auto-Train.
There may be another move in the offing, however. The firm, which does a substantial amount of communications and antitrust law, has been approached by several local firms and is contemplating a merger, possibly with a firm engaged in a cable television practice.
Michael A. Lubin and George J. Mendelson, the former Justice Department lawyers who blew the whistle on Associate Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani's private chats with McDonnell Douglas Corp. -- just before the Justice Department settled its overseas bribery case against the company -- have started the firm of Lubin & Mendelson.
Bredhoff, Gottesman, Cohen, Chanin, Weinberg & Petramalo has merged with Van Arkel, Kaiser & Rosenberg to form Bredhoff & Kaiser.
Three associates have become partners at Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin: Leslie J. Rubin and Richard P. Perrin will be partners on Oct. 1, and David R. Addis (who, from force of habit, declined to comment) will become a partner officially in May.
Lewis J. Paper, formerly associate general counsel to the Federal Communications Commission, has become a member of Grove, Engelberg & Gross; Joan F. Symansky has become an associate with the firm. . . Marc B. Dorfman, formerly special counsel with the SEC enforcement division, has become an associate with Freedman, Levy, Kroll & Simonds.
Gordon Cavanaugh, former administrator of the Farmers Home Administration in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has become a partner in Roisman and Reno, now called Roisman, Reno & Cavanaugh.
Thomas J. Gallagher Jr., former legislation attorney for Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, is now a partner at O'Connor & Hannan. . . Lawrence S. Lapidus and Lawrence J. Sherman have formed a new labor law firm known as Sherman & Lapidus.
The Senate has confirmed the nomination of U.S. District Judge Robert F. Chapman of Camden, S.C. to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. The circuit includes Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and North and South Carolina.
Kudos for the courthouse troubleshooters: The D.C. Pretrial Services Agency, headed by Bruce Beaudin and Tim Murray, recently received the National Institute of Justice's "Exemplary Project" award, one of 35 such awards it has made in the field of criminal justice since the late 1960s. The agency makes bail recommendation to judges, and assists prosecutors, lawyers, judges and just about everyone in maneuvering through the court bureaucracy.
Jacquelyn Finn, formerly with Dunhill Legal Search and Placement, and Linda Goldsman have opened their own attorney search and placement firm, Finn and Goldsman Associates.