AUGUSTA — Three experienced attorneys are splitting from their law firms and going into solo practices along State Street near the current and future courthouses.

Walter McKee is setting up McKee Law at 133 State St. and plans to start his practice there on Feb. 1.

Ronald Bourget opened the Law Office of Ronald W. Bourget at 185 State St. after buying the building in late December.

And Stephen Bourget remains at the former offices of Bourget & Bourget — set up by the Bourgets’ grandfather — at 64 State St., as Stephen J. Bourget, attorney.

McKee bought his new digs in mid September and contractors are renovating the two-story federal-style brick building, putting in new heating and ventilation systems, new windows, new electrical wiring and insulation.

“I love the building,” he said. “It has 11-foot ceilings, beautiful woodwork and white oak floors throughout.”

Erected in the mid 1830s for John Lunt, an early Augusta merchant, the building was occupied around 1850 by Gen. Alfred Redington, Augusta’s first mayor, according to records at the city’s assessor’s office.

“One of the reasons I bought the building was when they solidified plans for the new courthouse, it was clear State Street would be a great place for lawyers to be for a long, long time.”

McKee lives in a historic home in Hallowell and has owned and restored other historic properties in Hallowell. McKee said the building has multiple fireplaces, and two large mantels that had been removed and stored in the garage were recently restored.

It will serve as offices for himself, his longtime secretary at Lipman, Katz & McKee, and a paralegal.

“I enjoyed my 17 years with the firm,” McKee said. “This was a good time to head in a different direction. I’ve got a great practice and have had for many years.”

He said he will concentrate on litigation, with half his practice criminal and half involving personal injury and civil litigation.

McKee no longer takes court-appointed cases. “I still jump into cases pro bono for someone who can’t afford an attorney and is getting a raw deal,” he said. “I spend most of my volunteer time helping newer attorneys with criminal and civil litigation questions they have.”

He is on the board of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense lawyers and Maine Trial Lawyers Association. He remains chair of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, and coaches middle distances for Hall-Dale middle and high school track teams.

A trademark is his very early arrival at the office — he gets up at 3 a.m. — something he said won’t change.

Ronald Bourget bought 185 State St. in late December. It was formerly occupied by Curtis Thaxter Stevens Broder, & Michleau.

“It was time to find my own building for my own practice and offer the personalized care I feel my clients deserve,” Bourget said. He said there had been some discussions about taking over the building and the firm.

“When I realized that a change had to take place, I was so fortunate to find this building.”

For the past 26 yeasrs, he was in a practice set up by his grandfather Claude Bourget, and worked with his father Norman, who is retired, and his two brothers Stephen and Paul.

Ronald Bourget used to live just a few houses away and served a term on Augusta City Council. Now he lives in Manchester.

He said he will continue to practice in a variety of areas of the law, including criminal, family law, divorce, will, estates and property division.

“Due to the economy right now, there’s quite a bit of concern with bankruptcy,” Ronald Bourget said.

The building, a two-story bungalow with a black fence enclosing the front yard, is just across State Street from former State Planning Office and within sight of the State House dome.

Bourget said he believes his clients and friends will follow him to the his new office.

Ronald Bourget’s departure from the family firm leaves Stephen Bourget as a solo practitioner in the 64 State St., building owned by Norman and Margaret Bourget. He’s been practicing law for 23 years.

Stephen Bourget, who lives in China, said he likes being in the building that bears its own historic twist.

The building was erected by Dr. Hiram Hill in the mid 1800s.

Bourget said there’s a local legend about the building’d design. “He couldn’t get final permits, so he designed it to look like the rear end of a horse facing City Hall — an appropriate place for a lawyer to be,” Bourget said.

The location has another appeal as well.

“You can see the jury room window from the upstairs office,” Bourget said. “When the light goes off we know we’ve got a verdict, and it’s time to go back to court.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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