RWL Managing Partner Alan M. Rifkin Recognized by Baltimore Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Law 2020”
Who’s Who in Law 2020 — the Baltimore-area legal practitioners you should know
When the Baltimore Business Journal staff put our heads together to come up with our Who’s Who in Law list, we set out to highlight the attorneys and other legal practitioners who have made their mark on Baltimore, and Maryland more broadly, in their careers.
A number of these individuals knew they wanted to practice law since childhood — some even cite the same noble, archetypical literary figure of Atticus Finch as a key influence — while others came to the profession after having already started a career. But regardless, in conversations and in practice, all have expressed a profound dedication to service — be it for their clients, specific communities or, most broadly, the people of Maryland.
From private attorneys making major deals in banking and real estate to a federal prosecutor tackling some of Maryland’s most infamous corruption cases, these are the legal practitioners you should know about in 2020.
- Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Maryland Court of Appeals
- Ivan Bates, Bates & Garcia
- Frank Bonaventure, Baker Donelson
- Guy Flynn, DLA Piper
- Caroline Hecker, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP
- Venroy July, Miles & Stockbridge
- Jon M. Laria, Ballard Spahr LLP
- Michelle Lipkowitz, Saul Ewing
- Sheela Murthy, Murthy Law Firm
- Alan Rifkin, Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC
- Melissa Rothstein, Maryland Office of the Public Defender
- Leo Wise, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland
Who’s Who in Law: Alan Rifkin, Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC
Alan M. Rifkin
Title: Managing partner, Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Loyola College; J.D., University of Maryland School of Law
When the deal was struck in late 2019 to keep the Preakness at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, Alan Rifkin was among the brokers who made it happen.
As chair of the sports franchise and media rights practice at Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC and co-chair of the firm’s business and commercial transactions practice, he played a major role in bringing the complex negotiations to a successful outcome for the track owners, city, and state.
He credits his three-plus decades of experience as a business attorney for the improbable Pimlico deal, which materialized after a six-and-a-half month debate that he now calls “the art of the possible.”
“It was the other bookend of my career,” Rifkin said. “I began in the sports arena, having been tasked with shepherding the authorization of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and seeing that one to fruition some 25 or so years ago. Now years later, to have been involved in the redevelopment of Pimlico and the Laurel Park facilities, it is sort of the bookends of a very interesting practice.”
Rifkin founded the firm in 1989 after serving as counsel and chief legislative officer to former Gov. William Donald Schaefer, a role he also held for the Maryland Senate. During the Schaefer years, he cut his teeth on sports franchise issues as the Orioles stadium development downtown came front and center.
A Baltimore native, Rifkin went to Randallstown High School, where he read the Harper Lee classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” and decided to pursue a career in law in the footsteps of the main character, Atticus Finch.
“He was the epitome of what I thought a contributing member of society should be. He understood the law and took on challenges that others had not thought in their keeping,” Rifkin said. “That was a defining moment for me as a young man. I never had any other interest.”
Asked to name some of the most important traits of a lawyer, Rifkin ticks off a shortlist: integrity, perseverance, and the ability to listen.
“In my wildest expectations, I never could have believed that somebody who was the first in his family to go to college, much less law school, would have had the opportunities I’ve had — and they could only have existed in this country.”