Montgomery County Judge Stanley R. Ott today gave the Friends of the Barnes an extra 60 days to file a brief supporting its contention that the Barnes Foundation should not be allowed to leave Lower Merion Township.

The Friends - a group of local residents and art enthusiasts who are battling the famed museum's move to Philadelphia - must now submit its written arguments to Ott by the close of business on Feb. 29.

The postponement was prompted by a change in counsel for the Friends, which parted ways with attorney Mark Schwartz in a dispute over fees and the brief he had been preparing. On Tuesday, the group hired a new lawyer, Eric F. Spade.

This is the second time that Schwartz and a client have severed ties in the long-running debate over the plan to relocate the late Albert C. Barnes' billion-dollar Impressionist art collection from Latchs Lane in Merion to the Parkway in Center City.

In August, Schwartz quit as Montgomery County's lawyer in the Barnes case. He had filed a lawsuit on behalf of the county aimed at blocking the move. He resigned after county officials told him they intended to fire him for failing to disclose that he had a conflict of interest by also representing another party in the case: the Friends of the Barnes.

Contact staff writer Diane Mastrull at 610-313-8095 or dmastrull@phillynews.com.