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C. Richard Beyda has long managed to keep his profile low, his firm small, and his clients — many of them second-generation family developers — happy. He started at Grossberg, Yochelson, Fox & Beyda in downtown Washington more than 40 years ago, learning the real estate practice from one of its deans — the late Solomon “Sol” Grossberg. The firm has just 10 lawyers, and that’s as big as it wants to be, says Beyda, 66. “People marvel at how we’ve been able to stay small,” he says. “We are selective about who we represent, and we don’t do litigation or securities work.” Among the firm’s longtime clients are the Charles E. Smith Cos., one of the largest developer of offices and apartments in the Washington area; the Kay Management Co.; and the Miller & Long Co., a concrete-construction firm. The Smith Cos. have used Beyda’s firm for 40 or 50 years, says Robert Kogod, one of the principals of Smith and son-in-law of the founder. “He has had the confidence of a large number of us for decades, and he knows all the players,” Kogod says. “When you have an attorney, you also are looking for a counselor whose judgment you respect and who is discreet.” While Smith in recent years has merged many of its office and residential holdings into two large real estate investment trusts, the remaining portfolio is still with Beyda, Kogod says. Currently, Beyda is working on a big project at 1700 K St., N.W., owned by the Gewirz, Kaplan, and Small families. The owners are tearing down the existing building and replacing it with a 350,000-square-foot office building whose lead tenant will be the Chicago-based law firm Winston & Strawn. Interestingly, Beyda’s firm represented the three families when they bought the property more than 50 years ago. Another long-term client was art collector and developer Marshall Coyne, owner of the Madison Hotel, who named Beyda as one of his executors. Coyne, says Beyda, illustrates that one of the main attractions of the real estate business is the colorful clientele. “In the real estate business, more often than not, you are dealing with creative, risk-taking people,” he says. “These are exciting people. We have lots of fun.”

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