Snee, Mahoney, Lutche & Helmlinger, P.A.
Colleen Ferg Helmlinger fell in love with the law when she was a student at The Catholic High School of Baltimore and attended a summer camp for gifted and talented students.
An elective course at the camp focused on the law. After graduation, when Helmlinger’s friends headed to four-year colleges, she chose to attend what was then Villa Julie College, because its two-year paralegal program allowed her to take legal courses her freshmen year. An internship at Villa Julie led directly to a job as a legal assistant at a boutique law firm and then a larger firm, and Helmlinger worked as a legal assistant for nine years while earning first her bachelor’s and then her law degree from the University of Baltimore and the University of Baltimore School of Law, respectively.
• Villa Julie College, A.A., with honors (1984)
• University of Baltimore, B.A., magna cum laude (1986)
• University of Baltimore School of Law, J.D. (1992)
She thought she would bring her new degree and status as a lawyer to the firm for which she’d worked but, while she was waiting to take the bar exam, the firm dissolved. She went to work as assistant general counsel for a title company, launching a career that would find her focusing on the needs of individuals and businesses large and small.
After her son and daughter were born, she returned to private practice, joining the corporate department of a prominent law firm in Baltimore City, concentrating in mergers and acquisitions. Sept. 11, 2001, turned out to be a fateful day for the entire nation, but for Helmlinger, it was also the day she saw an ad for a job at what would become Snee, Mahoney, Lutche and Helmlinger, P.A. in Bel Air. She joined the firm, eager for a chance to broaden her legal expertise in business and real estate law. SMLH provides a wide range of legal services, including, but not limited to, trusts and estates, civil and criminal litigation, land use and zoning, and governmental relations.
Today, she concentrates her practice in real estate acquisition and development, corporate mergers and acquisitions, commercial law, and non-profit organizations. She represents clients in business formations and dissolutions, stock and asset sales, buy sell agreements, preparation of MBE certification applications, corporate cleanup, maintenance, and transactional work, trademark filings, commercial financing for lenders or borrowers, preparation of tax exempt applications for non-profit organizations, and liquor license applications and violations.
“As I continued my experience with the firm, I got to know our clients, and I received a lot of referrals from those clients,” Helmlinger says, noting that she became a partner in 2008.
“I enjoy helping entrepreneurs as a business lawyer,” she says, adding that while the legal paperwork might be similar, each business, large or small, is unique. “Each one is different – the assets are different, and the people are different. We help clients protect their assets from liability. One of the reasons I think it’s so important is that you might be taking out loans and using your own assets to build the business, but you may not be protecting your assets. We work closely with our clients’ accountants to make sure they’re in good standing and their assets are protected.”
Her experience in real estate allows her to help her clients as they lease or buy locations for their businesses, and she has recently begun to work in the area of intellectual property, protecting clients’ trademark rights. Her firm often drafts legislation to help small and large business owners, including publicly traded companies. For example, recent legislation was passed to allow the utilization and sale of growlers, which have become popular with aficionados of locally brewed craft beers, and a new liquor law allows the owner of a restaurant in Harford County to live in any county/city of Maryland within a 100-mile radius of the Town of Bel Air.
When she’s not working or volunteering for various charitable organizations, Helmlinger enjoys walking her golden retriever, going to the movies and reading a good novel, and she’s a passionate sports fan, especially when it comes to the Ravens and the Terps. I95
Colleen Ferg Helmlinger, Esquire
Snee, Mahoney, Lutche & Helmlinger, P.A.
11 South Main Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014