Firm Profile > Venable LLP > New York , United States

Venable LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10020
United States

M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) Tier 1

Venable LLP is 'a go-to firm for US M&A transactions that is always good value for money'. The practice's clients include Fortune 100 companies, international and regional entrepreneurs, family businesses, venture capitalists, underwriters, and a range of investors; it is widely praised for its advice on acquisitions, mergers, spin-off and carve-out deals, minority interest acquisitions and joint ventures. The practice also assists with complex tax structuring, transaction financing, IP, employee benefit and executive compensation, corporate finance and securities, and regulatory issues. Recent work includes advising Drummond Company, a privately owned company that mines and processes coal and coal products, on the $400m sale of its Shoal Creek mining business to Peabody Energy. Charles Morton Jr divides his time between Washington DC and Baltimore, and focuses on the technology, consumer products and healthcare industries; Washington DC-based Robert Bolger Jr acts in a range of business transactions, including M&A, private placements, joint ventures, liquidations and sales; and across traditional and emerging media, Los Angeles-based Christopher O’Brien's clients include content producers and distributors, talent agencies, investors, and financing sources. Other key advisers are the 'highly recommended' Baltimore-based Anthony Rosso, whose clients include a global data-driven, technology–enabled performance marketing agency, a Fortune 250 provider of IT, consulting and business process services, and one of the largest US-based family-owned, innovative food and agricultural products companies; and Bryan Rakes, whose representative experience includes acting for a private equity fund in its acquisition of two restaurant franchise groups as well as advising the US subsidiary of a Canadian company on its acquisition of a global business-to-business digital music services and rights platform.

Leading lawyers

Not-for-profit (Fortune 1000 private foundations, and national trade associations and charities) Tier 1

Venable LLP is praised for its 'practical approach and true teamwork', but clients note in particular that the firm is 'not concerned with billable hours, but just with making sure its clients are taken care of'. The seven-partner team is led out of Washington DC by the 'very patientCynthia Lewin, who has enviable experience of the sector, and is known to 'guide clients toward the outcomes that protect their organizations'. Other key partners include regulatory head George E Constantine, who stands out for his 'significant stature in the entertainment industry', where the firm has an impressive track record advising on issues such as IP and contractual rights. On the transactional front, the team advised The Common Application, an undergraduate college admissions organization, on its acquisition of Reach Higher, the college access campaign established by Michelle Obama. Other key partners include Eric Berman and Andrew Price, and Baltimore-based Yosef Ziffer and Robert L Waldman.

Leading lawyers

Rising stars

Advertising and marketing: litigation Tier 2

Venable LLP's advertising litigation practice attracts praise for its 'in-depth knowledge of the industry's landscape, great communication skills, persuasive arguments and strategic approach'. Washington-based Roger Colaizzi heads the practice and boasts broad experience spanning Lanham Act cases, class action litigation and brand protection. The team recently achieved a dismissal with prejudice of a class action complaint brought against its client Nutraclick concerning three testosterone-boosting supplement products. It is also representing Henkel Corporation in a putative consumer class action alleging that the labeling of Henkel’s line of Purex 'Natural Elements' laundry detergents is false and misleading to consumers because the products contain ingredients alleged to be synthetic and artificial. In another work highlight, San Francisco-based Angel Garganta successfully defended Dannon Company in false advertising claims relating to the 'All Natural' labeling of products.

Leading lawyers

Advertising and marketing: transactional Tier 2

Venable LLP continues to enjoy a good reputation for assisting brands ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations on a range of transactional and regulatory matters. Practice head Jeffrey Knowles has impressive experience in the sector and recently advised Fashion Nova on Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigations relating to its shipping claims and practices. The team is also assisting the client with its social media influencer program and contracts with celebrities, including Kanye West. Another client is London-based promotions agency Prizeology regarding the coordination of a legal review for a user-generated content contests across more than 20 countries. Melissa Steinman boasts particular expertise in promotions and online gaming and is leading the firm's advice to Whole Foods Markets on state and local law regulatory considerations relating to the implementation of a loyalty rewards program. Other key names to note include Stuart Ingis, particularly for privacy and e-commerce, regulatory lawyer Ellen Berge and New York-based litigator Leonard Gordon, who co-heads the practice alongside Knowles and frequently represents clients in NAD challenges and FTC investigations. All individuals mentioned are based in Washington DC, except where otherwise specified. Changes to the team include the departures of Amy Mudge and Randal Shaheen, who left to Baker & Hostetler LLP and Po Yi who joined Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

Leading lawyers

Cyber law (including data privacy and data protection) Tier 2

The ‘up-to-date and comprehensive’ Washington DC-based e-commerce, privacy and cybersecurity team at Venable LLP is headed by ‘top privacy lawyerStuart Ingis and Emilio Cividanes, who specialize in crisis management and class action litigation, representing clients before Congress, the FTC and other institutions and agencies. Michael Signorelli advises marketers, advertisers, trade associations, e-commerce firms, retailers, social platforms and technology providers on privacy and consumer protection matters. Highlights included acting as general and policy counsel for the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) and assisting the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A) with GDPR compliance. Thomas Boyd joined from DLA Piper LLP (US) in May 2018.

Leading lawyers

Next Generation Partners

Patents: litigation (full coverage) Tier 2

Venable LLP acquired New York IP boutique Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto and now has particular strength in the electronics and life science sectors, with an especially busy practice for branded pharmaceutical companies. Michael Sandonato, who chairs the ITC litigation practice with Edmund Haughey, obtained a precedential PTAB decision for long-standing client Canon regarding five ultimately denied follow-on IPRs that General Plastic Industrial had filed. Nicholas Kallas successfully defended two Novartis patents covering the use of the drug Afinitor against invalidity claims brought forward by West-Ward Pharmaceuticals in the district court of Delaware. Washington DC's Justin Oliver directs the PTAB practice, while Justin Pierce, also in Washington DC, chairs the intellectual property department with New York's Dominick CondeScott Reed and Washington DC-based Megan Woodworth jointly head the intellectual property litigation practice. Christopher Borello in New York is also noted. Charlotte Jacobsen joined Ropes & Gray LLP before the merger, and Tamany Vinson Bentz joined DLA Piper LLP (US). Additional clients include biopharmaceutical player Alkermes, Sanofi and Allergan.

Next Generation Partners

Product liability, mass tort and class actions: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense Tier 2

As ‘a responsive firm with individuals who are very skilled in all aspects of litigation’, Venable LLP provides comprehensive advice on product liability, mass torts and class action matters, and is especially experienced in the pharmaceutical industry. Recent highlights include representing Merck in litigation relating to the vaccine Fosamax, which allegedly causes patients to develop shingles as well as eye and neurologic injuries, and acting for Takeda Pharmaceuticals as co-national counsel in litigation relating to proton-pump inhibitor medication. The team is jointly led by Kathleen Hardway and Jason Rose, and also features Paul Strain, Bruce Parker and Sally Bryan. Other recommended lawyers are Stephen Marshall, who ‘provides excellent management of the entire team, and is excellent at setting and carrying out an overall strategy’, and the ‘outstanding communicator’ and ‘power house trial attorneyCraig Thompson. All named partners are based in Baltimore.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) Tier 2

Venable LLP 'has excellent knowledge of the relevant laws, a commercial approach and is responsive'. The team stands out for its advice to publicl traded Maryland REITs on Maryland corporate law in relation to IPOs, stock and debt offerings, M&A deals and spin-offs. It also regularly assists boards and board committees of publicly traded REITs with corporate governance; Vornado Realty Trust, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Hudson Pacific Properties are active clients. Patricia McGowan led advice, as Maryland counsel, to large-cap REIT Invitation Homes on the acquisition of Starwood Waypoint Homes; the combined company became the largest single-family rental company in the US. Sharon Kroupa is 'a superstar who is smart, commercial and experienced'; Christopher Pate is also 'a standout lawyer, who is highly responsive and knowledgeable'; and James Hanks is 'a senior partner who has helped write many of the real estate and corporate laws in place'. Carmen Fonda and Michael Schiffer are also key contacts. All named advisers are in Maryland.

Leading lawyers

Technology transactions Tier 2

The ‘dedicated team’ at Venable LLP is noted for its ‘exceptional service' in high-value licensing and development agreements. Recent highlights include acting for a hotel company in an agreement for the development of a central reservations system, and advising a payment processing company on an agreement for the integration of the client’s payment processing technology into third-party billing platforms. The practice group is jointly headed by Armand J. Zottola and Nora E. Garrote in Washington DC; another key contact, William T. Russell, divides his time between Washington DC and New York and provides ongoing advice to General Electric on the structuring and negotiation of technology-driven deals in support of its energy and digital solutions businesses. New York-based Eric A. Prager joined from K&L Gates in June 2018.

Outsourcing Tier 3

Leveraging ‘great client management’ and 'excellent analytical and communication skills', Venable LLP‘s ‘dedicated team offers pragmatic and real life solutions to complex legal matters’. In particular, the practice group has considerable experience in the automotive, petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, retail and payment processing sectors. Washington DC-based Nora E. Garrote and William T. Russell, who divides his time between New York and Washington DC, jointly manage the interdisciplinary technology transactions and outsourcing group. The firm recently advised a car manufacturer on a variety of technological, operational and administrative outsourcing matters. Other names to note include Washington DC-based Armand J. Zottola and New York-based Eric A. Prager, who joined from K&L Gates in June 2018.

Patents: prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings) Tier 3

Venable LLP merged with Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto in autumn 2018, combining Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto's strength in patent prosecution with the acquiring firm's wider geographical footprint and service offering. Instructions often come from life sciences clients, but the team is also adept at advising on electronics and technology patents. The group is primarily known for its PTAB practice, directed by Justin Oliver in the Washington DC office. For Canon, the group recently secured a precedential PTAB decision regarding follow-on IPR petitions, defeating petitioner General Plastic Industrial. Counsel Benjamin Pelletier joined the San Francisco office from Arnold & Porter. Former patent chair Michael Sartori joined Baker Botts L.L.P.. Steven Schwarz joined Johnson & Johnson as senior patent counsel.

Government contracts Tier 4

Venable LLP’s government contracts department distinguishes itself with ‘good communication’, to the benefit of clients in the technology, aerospace and defense sectors, such as Kratos Defense & Security Solutions. Scott Hommer and Paul Debolt, who has a ‘good understanding of government contract law’, jointly lead the practice. Recently, the team has successfully handled a number of bid protests, including for Agile Defense, where a team under Debolt’s leadership filed a NAWCAD protest, defended the award of a contract from a GOA protest by Octo Consulting, defended against a size status protest before the Small Business Administration and intervened at the Alliant 2 GWAC protest. Other work includes handling breach of contract of claims, for instance as counsel for Taylor Energy Company, which arose as a result of a trust agreement between Taylor Energy and the Department of the Interior. On the counseling side, Dismas Locaria helped Securitas Security Services’ affiliate, Securitas Critical Infrastructure Services, to obtain Safety Act protections for its background investigation services. James Boland and Rebecca Pearson are also key names. Keir Bancroft left to join the United States Air Force in December 2017.

Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design Tier 5

Venable LLP’s practice head Thora Johnson has a particular focus on employer health plans and welfare benefits, and routinely advises clients on the establishment of plans pursuant to ERISA, IRS, ACA and HIPAA regulations. Harry Atlas is the key name for devising and implementing 403(b) and 457 non-qualified plans, as well as equity compensation agreements. The team also handles the fiduciary and tax qualification aspects of ESOPs and managing DOL fiduciary rule risk. Washington DC-based Kenneth Hoffman is also a key contact. Johnson and Atlas are based in Maryland.

Financial services regulation Tier 7

Based in Washington DC and able to tap into the insider knowledge of numerous former government officials (including several CFPB alumni), Venable LLP excels in handling enforcement, transactional and advisory work for an array of consumer finance entities, including mortgage brokers, student loan servicers, payment processors and marketplace lenders. Andrew Arculin has vast experience across consumer lending, fintech and mortgage banking; he recently assisted Laurel Road Bank on the launch of brand and online lending platforms for mortgages, student loans and personal loans. Co-chair Jonathan Pompan's recent work has included advising LendingUSA on consumer financial services law regulatory compliance and product development, as well as providing regulatory due diligence to Warburg Pincus in relation to potential consumer finance-related acquisitions. The arrival in September 2018 of Laura Biddle from Hogan Lovells US LLP adds further weight to the team, given her credibility before the regulators on behalf of domestic and foreign banks, fintech providers and non-bank companies. Co-head Allyson Baker is also recommended, particularly for contentious matters. Other clients include JPMorgan Chase, Citadel Servicing Corporation and Republic Bank and Trust.

At Fitzpatrick, IP is not just a practice area – it is the firm’s sole focus.

The firm’s work covers patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and all other forms of intellectual property. It provides a full spectrum of services relating to intellectual property such as:

Controversies: Fitzpatrick is one of the premier patent litigation practices in the nation. The firm represents clients in federal and state litigation and appeals, as well as arbitration proceedings before the International Trade Commission, and post-grant challenges before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board, including inter partes review.

Licensing and transactional services: the firm’s services for clients include negotiating licenses, providing opinions, and due diligence in advance of acquisitions and other major transactions.

Patent and trademark prosecution: For many years, Fitzpatrick has been a leader among New York-based firms in the prosecution and securing of patents.


Expertise: the firm brings rigor and precision to the challenging work it does on behalf of clients. Its technical acumen plus legal ability result in razor-sharp professional services in a multitude of industries.

Ingenuity: the firm has a dynamic team of deep thinkers. And clients depend on it to apply smart and resourceful solutions to real-world problems.

Authenticity: listens to its people and respects their opinions, bringing the best ideas to bear in the work that they do. The firm encourages honest and open dialogue among attorneys and clients. Clients’ business opportunities are complex. But, the firm makes things happen. The firm has the mettle to take on this demanding work and execute fearlessly.

Integrity: Fitzpatrick plays a critical role in helping clients safeguard their intellectual property so that they can be at the top of their competitive game. The firm considers this role a privilege, and acknowledges that it requires an aggressive, unrelenting commitment.

Department Name Email Telephone
Aerospace, automotive and marine Edmund J Haughey
Biotechnology Brandon O'Malley, PhD
Biotechnology Robert S Schwartz, PhD
Chemicals John D Murnane
Consumer goods Edmund J Haughey
Due diligence Alicia A Russo
Electronics, computers and software Michael P Sandonato
Energy Alicia A Russo
Financial services John D Carlin
Industrial equipment and manufacturing Steven E Warner
ITC Section 337 litigation Edmund J Haughey
ITC Section 337 litigation Michael P Sandonato
Licensing and transactions Brian Klock
Litigation Scott K Reed
Medical devices Douglas Sharrott
Nanotechnology Michael K O'Neill
Patent prosecution Brian L Klock
Patent prosecution Jason M Okun
Pharmaceuticals Dominick A Conde
PTO contested proceedings Justin J Oliver
Semiconductor technologies Lock See Yu-Jahnes
Telecommunications and networks Douglas Sharrott
Trademarks Edmund J Haughey
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Susan Golden  photo Ms Susan Golden
Mr Leonard Gordon  photo Mr Leonard Gordon
Mr Eric A. Prager  photo Mr Eric A. Prager
Number of Partners : 46
Number of Other Fee-Earners : 56
Administrative Partner : Christopher P Borello

Founded more than a century ago, Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, and high-net-worth entrepreneurs and individuals. With more than 850 professionals across the country, including California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients’ business objectives in the US and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines. The firm has built its practice around leading attorneys who have served in senior corporate, regulatory, prosecutorial, legislative, and executive branch positions.

Main areas of practice: 

Business: Venable represents and advises individual and corporate clients on banking and financial services matters, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, banking regulations, corporate finance and securities, employee benefits and executive compensation, franchise and distribution, mergers and acquisitions, mezzanine finance, real estate and land use, strategic alliances and joint ventures, taxation, technology transactions and outsourcing, and trusts and estates. Venable represents and advises state and local governments and nonprofit organizations on municipal and tax-exempt finance and tax compliance. Clients include Fortune 100 corporations, entrepreneurs, family businesses, venture capitalists, underwriters, investors of all descriptions, state and local governments, and nonprofit corporations and associations, including healthcare and educational institutions.

Government: Venable advises clients on a wide array of issues related to pending legislation, government contracts, regulatory matters, and cybersecurity and risk management before state and federal authorities. The Venable team has extensive experience working with officials in numerous executive branch agencies, including the departments of agriculture, energy, defense, health and human services, homeland security, justice, treasury, and transportation. Venable attorneys and legislative advisors also work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Postal Regulatory Commission, US Postal Service, Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, OSHA, US Patent and Trademark Office, Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other financial services regulatory agencies. Venable provides its clients with a full complement of government affairs and legislative support, including political analysis, issue management and direct advocacy, and preparation of draft legislation, congressional testimony, and committee report language.

Litigation: Venable’s litigation practice is broad enough to handle virtually all areas of civil and criminal law, and deep enough to handle bet-the-company litigation. General counsel at Fortune 500 companies look to the firm’s trial lawyers on matters ranging from defense against class actions to internal investigations. Venable handles all major areas of litigation, including appellate, products liability and mass torts, commercial disputes, labor and employment, antitrust, intellectual property, class action, and SEC and white-collar defense. Venable’s many former federal prosecutors have considerable experience conducting internal investigations and representing clients in administrative and grand jury investigations.

Intellectual Property: Venable’s IP attorneys practice in every aspect of intellectual property law, including patent prosecution and litigation, trademark, copyright, brand protection, trade secrets, antitrust, and unfair competition. With technical backgrounds and experience extending across a host of industries and technologies, the firm’s attorneys advise clients on all issues pertaining to domestic and foreign patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Venable also negotiates and drafts domestic and international licenses, joint venture and technology transfer agreements, and research contracts. Venable’s IP litigators represent clients before the International Trade Commission and aggressively enforce and defend intellectual property claims in venues across the country.

Number of Partners : 328
Number of Lawyers : 783
Chairman : Stuart P Ingis
Managing Partners : Lawrence H Gesner
Managing Partners : Daniel P Moylan