Hunter Piel (39) had a “magnetic attraction” to his wife Rita from the moment he saw her, and after 11-and-a-half years, “I still feel like a newlywed,” he says.
The Pikesville couple have four sons, ages seven, five, and three-year-old twins. The kids go to Hebrew school at Beth El and the twins attend Goldsmith preschool. Piel and his wife are members of the Ben Gurion Society, and Rita is a connector at Centers for Jewish Eductation.
Piel owns a law practice in Towson that is primarily focused in real estate law.
“We represent banks, other financial institutions, developers, and other real estate professionals in connection with real estate transactions and litigation,” he says.
Piel was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2013 and 2014.
Tell us about your line of work.
I opened the law firm in 2010, only four years out of law school. I had built up a book of business with my first job at a boutique law firm, Arnold Paltzer and Associates, then was recruited to do bank work, when the recession hit. I knew I wanted to do this on my own. I realized when I was just an associate I couldn’t build my own contacts just as an associate, so I “hung a shingle’” as the saying goes.
What do you like about your work?
I represent many financial institutions and real estate developers who are active in the Baltimore metropolitan area. I love being a part of real estate projects in the city that contribute to the revitalization of certain areas of Baltimore and overall benefit the community at large.
I also enjoy the camaraderie I experience on a daily basis servicing my clients and working with my staff.
If you met someone who had never been to your community, how would you describe Pikesville?
I would describe our community as one with a tight cultural fabric that tends to retain families who grew up here, yet it is also a community that openly welcomes newcomers. I love that I am still close friends with people with whom I went to elementary school and now our kids are friends. This is the sign a of a thriving, resilient community.
How does your Jewish identity play into your daily life?
It is important to Rita and me that we raise our children with the solid Jewish foundation and culture that we cherish so dearly. We have Shabbat dinner every Friday night and we regularly integrate Jewish teachings and values in our discussion with our children.
The past several years I have been visited at work on Fridays by two members of the Towson Chabad and I put on tefillin. It’s always a highlight of my work week.
What is your favorite Chanukah tradition?
I love celebrating the Chanukah with friends and family. We usually have at least two parties each year to attend and the kids love playing games and, of course, opening presents.
First we have the party at Rita’s parents’ house, where we play games like having the kids open a gift with oven mitts, or tasting blindfolded for different cheeses, and then dinner. Then we have a party at my house too.
The one tradition I hope does not continue is the ugly Chanukah sweater Rita wore last night!