The Legal 500

Venable LLP

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Fax +1 202 344 8300

United States

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Finance

Within Financial services: regulatory, tier 7

Venable LLP’s 13-partner Washington DC-based team provides a very ‘co-ordinated’ service with ‘strong partner involvement’ across enforcement and general compliance work for a myriad of clients including commercial banks, securities firms, savings banks, credit unions and bank holding companies. The practice benefits from ‘deep industry and regulatory knowledge’ and has ‘excellent credibility before the US regulatory agencies’ as a result of a significant roster of former high-profile government lawyers. ‘One of the leading financial regulatory lawyers in Washington DC’, team head Ronald Glancz previously held numerous high-ranking positions in several of the bank regulatory agencies as well as the DOJ and consequently benefits from ‘extensive regulatory contacts’. This often comes to the fore in enforcement matters and in this regard he is representing several directors and officers in investigations and actions in connection with more than ten separate depository organizations. John Beaty is another former high-ranking agency official and is recognized as ‘one of the top association (thrift) lawyers in Washington DC’; he is advising numerous savings banks and savings and loan holding companies on their transition to Federal Reserve Board and OCC supervision as stipulated by Dodd-Frank. Praised for his ‘extensive knowledge and expertise in all US regulatory matters’, John Bowman joined the firm from the Office of Thrift Supervision, and is a welcome addition to a ‘strong and deep team’ that also includes the ‘very knowledgeableJonathan Pompan and Edward Wilson, who is recognized as ‘one of the leading US regulatory lawyers dealing with economic and other sanctions, and anti-money laundering’.

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Within Not-for-profit (non profit and tax exempt organizations), Venable LLP is a second tier firm,

Venable LLP has a ‘deep and exceptional level of expertise and specialists on every area of law’. The firm advises nonprofits on a wide array of matters related to tax, governance, compliance, labor, IP and lobbying. It is praised as a ‘one-stop shop for legal issues’, and delivers a ‘fantastic service’; the large and multifaceted team includes seven attorneys that dedicate the majority of their time to this practice area. Due to a continuing push from the federal tax agency to enforce existing tax laws and influence board governance, it has dealt with an increase in instructions from clients facing such scrutiny. ‘Personable, very professional, highly responsive and realistic’, practice chair Jeffrey Tenenbaum and team represented three clients in IRS audits, and subsequently in US Tax Court, examining exempt status issues and an alleged excess of compensation. The firm took an aggressive litigation stand and negotiated satisfactory settlements on all counts. It also assisted a corporate private foundation with designing an internal grant-making program, a merger and provides ongoing regulatory compliance advice. Tenenbaum, Jonathan Pompan and ‘knowledgeable and personable’ associate Matthew Journy acted as lead outside counsel for Homeowner Preservation Foundation (HPF). Tenenbaum knows ‘how to bridge the gap between theory and the letter of the law, and the reality of running a business and making management decisions’, ‘works great with boards’ and ‘really understands the association community’. Of counsel Lisa Hixknows her stuff and has a non-intimidating way when explaining issues’ and ‘seems to have above average insight’ into her clients’ memberships. George Constantine focuses on contracts, tax, antitrust, governance, and political activity matters. Other key leaders in the group are Brock Landry, who focuses on trade associations, and Robert Waldman, who focuses on charities and foundations. HSUS and American Lumber Standard Committee are among recent clients.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Trademarks: non-contentious - full coverage, tier 4

Venable LLP is ‘a blue chip firm and its IP team delivers a service of the highest quality’. The group has an impressive client roster which includes managing the global portfolio for clients such as Playboy, Marriott and Sony. The seven-partner team is headed from Washington DC by Mark Harrison, and includes key individuals such as the ‘very knowledgeable and strategically astuteAndrew Price and the ‘amazingJacqueline Patt. Janet Satterthwaite is ‘a big character and a fierce defender of the rights of her clients’ and Justin Pierce is ‘formidable and always has an eye on the big picture’.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Real estate investment trusts (REITs), Venable LLP is a third tier firm,

The best of the Maryland REIT firms’, Venable LLP’s Baltimore-based practice is ‘very knowledgeable on all issues of Maryland law, and gives practical advice based on extensive experience’. With 80% of public REITs registered in Maryland, the ‘first-rate team’ has positioned itself as a key asset for firms seeking local counsel on REITs transactions, and acted as Maryland issuer counsel in over 55 separate equity offerings, and over 20 separate debt offerings. In 2012, it acted as counsel to a special committee of the board of directors of Apartment Trust of America (now known as Landmark Apartment Trust of America) in its recapitalization, which involved the contribution of $485m-worh of properties, the issuance of $50m of preferred stock, £1.5m in common stock, and the termination of the company’s advisory agreement. It also acted as Maryland counsel to Healthcare Trust of America in its $150m class A common stock offer. Practice head James Hanks is ‘a leading Maryland corporate lawyer, and heads the go-to practice’. The ‘experienced and knowledgeablePatricia McGowankeeps abreast of every leading-edge development’, and Sharon Kroupahas experience of almost every type of deal, and is a great resource’. Christopher Pate is also recommended.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 5

Venable LLP has a broad-based EBEC practice. Clients include national retailers, staffing companies, and insurance companies. Barbara Schlaff’s EBEC group includes IRS and Treasury specialist Lisa Tavares and multi-employer law expert Kenneth Hoffman, who ‘are both exceptionally knowledgeable, but are able to explain difficult concepts in a way that is understandable to non-attorneys’. Thora Johnson, who has niche experience in advising on healthcare law, is also recommended.

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United States: Litigation

Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Venable LLP is a third tier firm,

Levels of service are ‘excellent’ at Venable LLP where the team acted as national counsel to Merck in the Fosamax litigation, defending it against claims that the drug allegedly causes osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femur fractures. Bruce Parker, who is highlighted for his ability to handle complex scientific cases, recently acted for Takeda in national litigation involving Actos. Together with Jason Rose, Parker also acted as national counsel to Boehringer Ingelheim in federal lawsuits pertaining to Mirapex, a drug used for the treatment of Parkinson disease. ‘Excellent trial lawyerPaul Strain is considered to be among the ‘top tier of product liability defense lawyers in the country’. He is ‘fiercely loyal to the client’ and ‘tough when he has to be’. Stephen Marshall is also ‘very good’ and Dino Sangiamo is also recommended.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Marketing and advertising, Venable LLP is a first tier firm,

Venable LLP’s 60-lawyer advertising practice lawyers in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles handles regulatory, transactional and litigation work and is described as ‘unparalleled for NAD FTC matters’. Clients consider practice head Jeffrey Knowlesthe best advertising lawyer in the United States’ whose ‘understanding of the business of advertising and marketing that make him a real star’, with significant expertise and experience in direct response advertising and advertising compliance, reviewing television and radio scripts, internet and direct mail advertisements. Knowles, supported by Melissa Landau Steinman,who is recommended for her ‘promotions expertise and actionable advice’, and Ellen Berge assisted BlackBerry with the global launch of the BlackBerry 10, providing counsel on global marketing and advertising matters, social media and the marketing of third-party mobile apps. The group in Washington DC represents numerous marketing industry associations and coalitions lobbying for industry self-regulation of online marketing. Privacy expert Stuart Ingis is assisting the Digital Advertising Alliance with its AdChoices industry self-regulatory framework for online behavioral advertising. Contentious work includes IP disputes, Sherman Act claims and FTC and FDA cases. Knowles and litigation head Roger Colaizzi, considered ‘the clear choice for marketers combating IP infringement, product counterfeiting and deceptive claims by competing marketers’, successfully represented The Sugar Association with its opposition to the $100m campaign by the Corn Refiners Association to rebrand high fructose corn syrup as “Corn Sugar". Michael Volpe in New York led a team that successfully defended New York Law School against a putative class action in a precedent setting case refuting allegations that it systematically misled students and prospective students about their employment prospects after graduation. Other key clients include American Express, Bank of America, Chrysler, Dannon, Guthy-Renker, Intel and Kellogg. New clients include Nintendo. Food and drug advertising specialist John Moore from Hunton & Williams LLP strengthened the team, advising retain chains, notably Chick-fil-A. Clients appreciate Randal Shaheen’s ‘no-nonsense, smart, actionable advice’, and ‘well-connected, strong advocateAmy Mudge.

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Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Venable LLP is a second tier firm,

Venable LLP’s 20-attorney team in Washington DC and Tysons Corner is supported by the firm’s strong marketing, advertising and technology practices. Attorneys are recommended as ‘effective representatives who understand the key business issues’ affected by traditional and emerging privacy issues. They handle regulatory engagements across healthcare, telecoms, technology and financial services, regularly assisting companies in FTC investigations, and privacy litigation. Practice head Stuart Ingis, who has ‘good political instincts and is a valued advisor’, and Emilio Cividanes wins praise for his ‘depth of knowledge and ability to analyze issues in a timely, efficient manner’. He advised the Coalition of Association of National Advertisers, the Direct Marketing Association, American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau on privacy principles for online behavioral advertising and the Direct Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Magazine Publishers of America on revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. High-profile clients include Reed Elsevier, Time Warner and Experian. Lateral hires Bobby Turnage and Leonard Gordon strengthened the team.

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Within Technology: outsourcing, Venable LLP is a third tier firm,

Venable LLP’s practice features William Russell and James Nelson in New York, and Nora Garrote and A J Zottola in Washington DC, who combine intellectual property and technology expertise. As well as representing longstanding client GE, recent instructions included representing Jones Lang LaSalle in various deals to provide facilities management, project management and lease administration outsourcing services to customers across the United States, Europe and Asia. The group represents customers and suppliers and has particular strength in highly regulated sectors, including healthcare, energy and real estate. A prestigious client list includes Verizon, Accenture, Deloitte and longstanding client GE.

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Within Technology: transactions, Venable LLP is a second tier firm,

Venable LLP’s team is commended for its ‘high level of service and expertise’, advising vendors and customers on cloud computing, data privacy and security and handling multiparty transactions in the healthcare, automotive and leisure sectors. In New York, William Russell and Michelle Gross represented longstanding client GE Healthcare, negotiating strategic alliances, joint development and distribution agreements, including a global strategic alliance agreement for the cross-supply of patient monitoring and life support products for global resale. In Washington DC, Nora Garrote, who advises on licensing, service agreements and IT outsourcing, advised a large, mid-Atlantic energy company on license agreements and related orders for the procurement of customer relationship management (CRM) and billing software. The ‘reliable, responsive and smartA J Zottola advised iVerse Media in a content distribution agreement with Marvel Worldwide involving the digital distribution of comic books in 100 languages and advised COLA on a cloud computing and data storage arrangement between laboratory accreditation bodies to facilitate data sharing and big data analysis.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m), Venable LLP is a second tier firm,

Venable LLP’s ‘service is very strong and we get all the attention we need’. The practice recently served as lead counsel to Allegis Group, and some of its affiliates, in their acquisition of the Commercial Division of Computer Horizons Corporation, an information technology staffing and consulting company; acted for a US-Australian joint venture development company in connection with the structuring, negotiation and documentation of multiple transactions, resulting in the acquisition of a majority interest in a liquefied, natural gas-receiving, storage and gasification terminal located on the Texas Gulf Coast; and acted for Guthy-Renker in its sale of a minority equity interest. Charles Morton Jr, in Washington DC, is ‘a standout attorney in every respect; he has exceptional market knowledge and a willingness to engage on our behalf’. Baltimore-based Sharon Kroupa is also praised. Bobby Turnage Jr joined the Washington DC office from Network Solutions; and Elizabeth Hughes retired from the practice.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, tier 4

Venable LLP advises on a range of construction matters including project structuring and claim litigation, contract negotiation, environmental issues, performance issues and disputes, and state and local government issues. The 21-strong team operates from five offices along the East Coast. Transactional experience includes the drafting and negotiation of design-build agreements for engineering, procurement and construction services in connection with a $1bn toll road project. The practice also acted for a government contractor to settle a dispute over the adequacy of equipment, after a subcontractor sued to recover $4.5m, but paid $3m to avoid trial following pretrial rulings.

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Within Land use/zoning, Venable LLP is a third tier firm,

Venable LLP’s team in the Tysons Corner and Towson offices is currently representing David S Brown Enterprises in all land use matters pertaining to the its mixed-use development at Owings Mills Metro Station, which is a public-private partnership project valued in excess of $200m. John Milliken heads the team.

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Within Real estate, tier 5

Thomas Millspaugh chairs the 29-partner real estate team at Venable LLP, which added eight partners including Peter Koffler, from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; Valentin Aguilar II, from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Mitchell Evall and Andrew Schmerzler, from Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall LLP; and Peter Britell, Gordon Davis and Michael Peskowitz, formerly of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. The firm delivers a broad range of real estate services, including local transactions, multi-faceted projects, and sophisticated financings. It recently assisted Marriott in relation to a $1.45bn hotel portfolio acquisition.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: East Coast, tier 7

Venable LLP has a substantial full-service tax practice on the East Coast, with partners based in the Washington DC and Baltimore offices. Brian O’Connor and Jeffrey Gonya co-chair the department. The firm’s broad scope encompasses federal, state, local and international tax advice to corporations, as well as to nonprofits, individuals and families. Sarah Johnson was promoted to partner in December 2012, her practice focuses on estate planning and administration, business succession planning and charitable giving while minimizing estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

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