Well-known defense attorney Kenneth M. Robinson was shot and wounded by an assailant Wednesday evening when he answered a knock at his office door in Oxon Hill.

Robinson was shot once in the left shoulder after going to his office about 7 p.m. to meet a client, Prince George's County police said. After being treated at a hospital, the flamboyant lawyer declined to identify the client and provided limited description of the assailant, police said.

"He is not doing much talking," said Sgt. Mark Wright, a police spokesman. "We are trying to piece together things and come up with something."

Wright said investigators were not sure if robbery was the motive, but added that nothing was taken from the office at 10903 Livingston Rd.

Robinson told police he answered a knock at his office door about 7:10 p.m. When he opened the door, he was met by a man with a gun, who fired once, hitting Robinson in the left shoulder. The man then fled. Robinson then called police.

Robinson was taken to Southern Maryland Hospital, where he was treated and released, according to police. However, hospital officials said yesterday that they had no record of Robinson's being treated.

No weapon was found by police.

Robinson, 44, could not be reached at his home or office yesterday for comment.

Robinson is viewed by fellow members of the bar as "a premier trial attorney," said Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., president of the Maryland Senate who practices law in Clinton. Miller said Robinson dabbles in "a lot of cornpone" and "courtroom dramatics, but is not a person to be taken lightly."

Robinson, whose swashbuckling courtroom behavior led him to describe himself in a 1980 Washington Post interview as being "sort of a fat Errol Flynn," has defended such notables as former representative John Jenrette Jr. (D-S.C.) during the Abscam investigation and accused Washington drug kingpin Linwood Gray, among others.

In 1979, Gray was accused of directing a $30 million international heroin-smuggling ring in Washington and was found not guilty after a highly publicized two-month trial in U.S. District Court. Four of Gray's codefendants in the case were found guilty. Gray was later convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 20 months in prison.

During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Leibowitz was shot outside the courthouse in an unsuccessful assassination attempt.

Robinson took his fee for defending Gray by having Gray's $60,000 house in Morningside, titled in the name of Gray's wife, Darlene B. Fleming, deeded over to him.

In February 1985, Gray was sentenced to 25 years in prison for extortion and conspiracy in a scheme to threaten Robinson's life.