Former Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, the prominent Maryland Democrat who considered a run for governor before stepping out of the political limelight two years ago, has joined a Baltimore law firm where he will handle administrative law cases.
William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr., best known for his criminal defense work, said yesterday that Curry, the first black county executive of Prince George's, joined his firm, William H. "Billy" Murphy Jr. & Associates, about two weeks ago.
Murphy said Curry, who held the Prince George's position from 1994 to 2002, was hired for his "wealth of knowledge and connections." The firm has been making a transition in recent years from criminal law into civil litigation.
"It is rare to get a political leader in the prime of his career, especially one who has judgment, intellect and integrity," Murphy said of Curry. "Wayne has the respect of major politicians on both sides of the aisle."
Curry's decision to join Murphy's firm brings together two outspoken Democrats well known on their respective turfs of Prince George's and Baltimore. Curry, who worked with land-use lawyers and held numerous political positions before running for office, and Murphy, a colorful, street-savvy lawyer and former Baltimore judge, have different legal backgrounds and styles. But Curry said the two complement each other.
"I just think it's a good fit," Curry said. "It feels right."
Curry said the decision to link up with Murphy had nothing to do with politics, but he maintains ties to the political realm.
Yesterday, he had lunch with Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.
"When you've held a position like I did, you're never out of politics," Curry said. "But right now, my principal objective is to concentrate on restoration, which includes the restoration of my checkbook."
A development lawyer before entering politics a decade ago, Curry, 53, has explored a number of business projects since he left office, including several land deals with Gary Murray, a Prince George's venture capitalist. He also kept his hand in politics through his friendship with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R), for whom he worked as an informal adviser. Ehrlich named him to the Maryland Port Commission and the Commission on Minority Business Enterprise Reform. This summer, he accompanied Steele on a trade mission to Ghana and South Africa.
Curry, who said he has recuperated from the brain aneurysm he suffered in summer 2003, said he wants to focus on his family after spending about a decade helping to improve the reputation of Prince George's, the nation's largest black, middle-class enclave.
He said his role at Murphy's firm will allow him to do legal work in addition to consulting, marketing and business development.