Washington DC

About Semmes

A Full-Service Law Firm

Semmes, Bowen & Semmes is one of the oldest and largest full service law firms in the State of Maryland. A diversified team of 53 attorneys serves our clients through offices in five locations: Baltimore and Hagerstown, Maryland and in McLean, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Martinsburg, West Virginia. These strategic locations enable us to accommodate our clients who live and operate their business in the greater Mid-Atlantic area and to support our widening markets.

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The professional character of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes is evident in its strong business and litigation practice, its history, which spans more than a century, and its deep Maryland roots.

The firm, however, traces its beginnings to 1887, when John E. Semmes, a former Baltimore City Solicitor, joined two other lawyers, Francis K. Carey and John N. Steele, in forming the partnership of Steele, Semmes and Carey. Mr. Semmes had already established his reputation as a skilled practitioner whose interests in commercial and maritime law were encouraged by two Civil War-veteran uncles, Admiral Raphael Semmes and Commodore John Guest. Learn more

Founding Partners

John E. Semmes

John E. Semmes was born on a farm near Cumberland, July 1, 1851. He was descended from a family identified with Maryland almost from its first colonization. His father, Samual Middleton Semmes was at one time judge of the Court of Appeals in Maryland.

Jesse N. Bowen

Jesse N. Bowen was a graduate of the University of Maryland Law Class of 1905. It was at the University of Maryland where he met the acquaintance of fellow law student John E. Semmes, Jr. After graduation he went to work in Mr. Semmes' father's firm of Steele & Semmes.

John E. Semmes, Jr.

John E. Semmes, Jr. was the son of John E. Semmes, Sr., a founding partner of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes. In 1909, he became partner along with Jesse N. Bowen, a fellow classmate of his at the University of Maryland School of Law.