Grounded in Tradition and Positioned for the Future

At the close of World War I, twenty-six-year-old First Lieutenant Lansdale Sasscer returned home to Prince George’s County and started a law firm. Despite the interruption caused by the war, Sasscer quickly established a thriving local practice. His docket was full, and his clients appreciated his counsel on a wide array of issues. As Sasscer’s reputation grew, so did his service to the community. He was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1922 and served in the United States House of Representatives from 1939 until 1953.

In 2020, the law firm founded by that returning Lieutenant—Sasscer, Clagett and Bucher—will celebrate its 100th year of practice in Prince George’s County. The firm’s practice areas and attorneys have changed over time, but a community focus and commitment to providing outstanding service to its clients have remained as the firm’s core values.

Following Sasscer’s death in 1964, the firm’s practice focused primarily on defending individuals and businesses in civil litigation. These cases ran the gamut from vehicular torts to complex business disputes and defending doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice claims.

While these cases remain a key part of SCB’s business, as a twenty-first century law firm, SCB has modified its mix of clientele and returned to Sasscer’s view of the firm as one providing service across many practice areas. To that end, SCB has diversified and broadened its practice to include plaintiffs’ personal injury litigation, defending legal malpractice claims, family law, and criminal defense. SCB’s partners are skilled and experienced litigators, who are as comfortable in front of a jury as they are negotiating structured settlements. Although both SCB and the county have changed from 1920, clients still desire a lawyer with intimate knowledge of the local legal community, the ability to take on complex issues, and the willingness to work hard to achieve the best result. And while the firm remains active in Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland, its practice has expanded to the federal courts and throughout the state.
Throughout its history, SCB has maintained a remarkable array of legal talent. Former members of the firm include five Fellows of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and two Presidents of the Maryland State Bar Association. Court of Appeals Judge J. Dudley Digges, Court of Special Appeals Judges Jerrold V. (Jerry) Powers and James P. (Jim) Salmon, and Charles County Circuit Court Judge Patrick J. Devine are among the firm’s alumni.

Presently, no Sasscer, Clagett or Bucher works at the firm. But the firm, led by partners Phil Zuber, Tom McManus, Mark Foley, Sheila Fleshman, Frank Jones, and Michael Adams, maintains the same excellence and client-centered focus instilled by Congressman Sasscer a century earlier.

If you would like to speak with a member of the firm, or have any question about our practice, please contact our offices to arrange a consultation. Call 301-627-5500.

Painting of Lansdale Sasscer

Lansdale Sasscer was born in 1893 in Upper Marlboro. He attended Dickinson School of Law, graduating in 1914. Passing the bar the same year, he opened his own practice. But war soon struck, sending him to serve in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in the 59th Artillery. When he returned home, he restarted his practice in 1920 in Upper Marlboro, giving birth to the law firm that is now SCB.

As he built a thriving law practice, Mr. Sasscer’s interest in politics grew. From 1922 to 1938 he was a Maryland State Senator, serving as President of the Senate from 1935 to 1937. In 1939, Mr. Sasscer was appointed to fill a U.S. Congressional seat, which he held from 1939 to 1953. He was a skilled and highly respected trial lawyer. In 1964, at the age of 71, while still actively practicing law, Mr. Sasscer unexpectedly died.

Painting of Hal Clagett

Henry “Hal” C.B. Clagett was born and raised in Upper Marlboro. His family had been there since Colonial times, even having the British in the War of 1812 burn a part of the family home at Weston. After graduating from Princeton in 1938, he went to Georgetown Law School for two years. Anticipating the coming war, he became a flying cadet and eventually became a highly decorated pilot in the South Pacific during WWII.

On return from the War, Hal finished his final year at Georgetown Law School. In 1947, he joined Lansdale Sasscer and J. Dudley Digges at Sasscer & Digges in Upper Marlboro. He practiced law at the firm, and managed to pursue a life-long interest in the thoroughbred horse industry and participate in bar association activities, leading to his service as President of the Maryland State Bar Association.

A life-long skilled raconteur, the courtroom was a comfortable place for Hal to ply his considerable skills. He retired from the active practice of law in 2000. He died in 2010.

James Bucher

James “Jim” R. Bucher, after serving in the Army during the Korean War and graduating from the law school at Catholic University (1958), joined SCB in 1958. Jim took on a wide and rich variety of cases, ranging from will contests, complicated tax disputes, toxic tort, catastrophic injuries or routine real estate closings. His interest in practicing in many diverse areas made him a valuable resource for other firm members. His trademarks were collegiality, professionalism, honor, trust and commitment. Jim retired from active practice in 2002, but continued to advise and mentor until he passed in 2009.

Jim Salmon - Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher
ames "Jim" P. Salmon is a person of remarkable intellect, recall and persuasion. A few objective signs of his success include graduating magna cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law (1965), clerking on the Court of Appeals and being inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1985. He joined SCB in 1969. He was as skillful a trial lawyer as he was a brilliant appellate advocate. He tried many notable cases, including the widely publicized six month "Death Squad" trial in federal court. In 1989, Jim became a judge on the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Just five years later, he was elevated to the Court of Special Appeals. Jim was "officially" retired in 2010, but he has never stopped working.

Ever the friendly, unassuming, humorous, hard-working and approachable person, Jim continues to sit on the Court of Special Appeals and in several circuit courts.

Court drawings - Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher

Charlie (or for some, "the Ox"), a college tennis champion, WWII Executive Officer on a destroyer escort (seeing action in the Battle of the Coral Sea through the Philippine landings) and fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers (1972), never let a moment go to waste without a story or limerick. He was usually the butt of his stories, always self-effacing and ever-likable.

But that same charm was his magic in the courtroom. He was brilliant, strategic and resourceful in every sense. First time lawyers frequently misread his seemingly rumpled, unforced and what they thought was a disorganized approach with disastrous results for their clients. He was at his best in complex cases, framing the issues in terms that a jury could readily understand.

In 1991, after 26 years at the firm at the age of 73, Charlie left the firm to practice at another firm. No one could ever replace his extraordinary personality. He died in 2000.