Call it a victory for career services: Venable, Baetjer &
Howard was formed in 1900 when Richard Venable, a law professor in
Baltimore, partnered with two of his former students.
Over 100 years later, Venable LLP is a mid-Atlantic force that,
until the capital markets meltdown, had defined itself by
aggressive expansion. A politically-connected firm, Venable
complements a conventional BigLaw practice with Beltway-specific
A Morphing Midsized Regional
The venerable, mono-monikered Venable is a titan of the
mid-Atlantic I-95 corridor (where seven of its eight offices are
located). Venable specializes in corporate and business law,
complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs.
The firm's litigation practice carries a particularly heavy
workload in products liability, toxic torts and environmental law
cases, with corporate defense the group's overwhelming forte.
Venable has grown substantially since around the Millennium, thanks
largely to a series of mergers. A 1999 buyout of Tucker Flyer LLP
bolstered the firm's Beltway contingent and preceded Venable's
campaign to increasingly target companies benefiting from
government contracts. The acquisition also provided Venable with a
convenient launching pad for dealings with tech clients in the
bustling suburbs of northern Virginia. Six years later, the firm
merged with Manhattan boutique Heard & O'Toole to provide
litigation support in New York-the New York office now houses
around 60 lawyers. A year later, Venable swallowed up smaller Los
Angeles outfits Whitwell Jacoby Emhoff LLP and Gorry, Meyer &
Rudd LLP. The SoCal additions represent the realization of
Venable's long-held aspiration of establishing a presence in the
comparatively far-flung region.
The same year Venable made its grand Hollywood entrance, the firm
took on a new look at the top: longtime managing partner James Shea
switched over to the chairman's seat, opening the door for lifelong
Venable lawyer (and former associate White House counsel) Karl
Racine to become the first black managing partner of an AmLaw 100
firm. One of Racine's first acts as MP was the successful pursuance
of the L.A. firms.
Venable is no slouch when it comes to political experience-the
firm's past and current attorneys include a US Attorney General,
two Maryland Deputy Attorneys General, three members of the Senate
(Indiana and two from Maryland), four members of the House
(California, Arkansas, Maryland, and Michigan), a former head of
the DEA, a Secretary of Transportation, and ten federal
Perhaps most noteworthy among Venable's who's-who are Francis
Murnaghan, who sat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for 21
years, and Senator Paul Sarbanes, who co-sponsored the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act and is father to John Sarbanes-a 17-year veteran
of Venable and current member of the House.
IN THE NEWS
A Winning First Impression
Venable secured a victory on behalf of CW Government Travel Inc. in
a case of first impression. A federal judge ruled the U.S. General
Services Administration (GSA) wrongfully shut out CW from a $1.4
billion contract and did not adequately justify its decision to
award the contract one bidder. The judge ordered the GSA to
reevaluate CW's ability to compete for the award saying federal
acquisitions regulations prohibits the awarding of the contract to
Wilmington Widens Reach
Planting a flag in one of the country's most important
jurisdictions for corporate litigation and bankruptcy matters,
Venable announced that it opened a Wilmington, Delaware office.
Delaware is an important hub for corporate bankruptcies and
restructurings and the firm is well-positioned to become a bigger
factor in creditor committee work and other representations.
Securitization Dispute Win
A trial team from Venable won a complete victory in its December
2012 bench trial in Orange County (California) Superior Court in
connection with the Impac securitization disputes which the firm
had been litigating since October 2010. The trial was the
culmination of a matter that began when the securitization trustee,
Deutsche Bank, filed a petition in Orange County Probate Court
seeking "instructions" because of an alleged scrivener's error in
the master agreement directing how payments of principal and
interest must be made to investors. Venable represented three of
the senior-most institutional investors in the reformation action
in which more than $100 Million was at issue.
The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First
Department, upheld the dismissal of all tort- and fraud-based
claims brought by a putative class of New York Law School students
and alumni in the Gomez-Jimenez v. New York Law School case. The
original decision in that case, known as the New York Law School
case, was handed down in March 2012 by Justice Schweitzer in New
York State Court and dismissed each of Plaintiffs' claims of
statutory consumer fraud, common law fraud and negligent
misrepresentation. The First Department unanimously rejected all
three of the Plaintiffs' legal theories.
Best Law Firms named Venable the 2013 "Law Firm of the Year" in
Criminal Defense: White-Collar - Litigation. Additionally, Best Law
Firms named Venable a "First Tier" firm for Criminal Defense:
White-Collar - Litigation in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington,
DC. The Law Firm of the Year award recognizes only one law firm in
each of the 80 practice areas ranked nationally by Best Law Firms.
Venable received this award based on a combination of factors
including high performance on client surveys, feedback from
attorneys in other firms in the same practice area, and information
provided in a firm survey.
Victory for Paraguay
A Venable team obtained an important victory for the Republic of
Paraguay in an international arbitration before a three-person
tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment
Disputes ("ICSID") in Washington, DC. The matter concerned an
agreement between BIVAC, a Dutch company, and Paraguay. BIVAC
argued that by failing to pay BIVAC under the contract, Paraguay
was in breach of international legal obligations found in the
bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the Netherlands and
Paraguay. The Tribunal concluded that BIVAC had only alleged a
contract dispute, while breach of treaty requires abuse of
sovereign authority in which Paraguay did not engage.