Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Dept. of Homeland Security, Joins Venable as New Chair of Firm's Homeland Security Practice

Former Arkansas Congressman, U.S. Attorney and head of Drug Enforcement Agency

completes two-year term as leader of nation's border and transportation

controls; Will lead Venable's multi-disciplinary Homeland Security Practice

Mar 02, 2005, 00:00 ET from Venable LLP

    WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the leading homeland security
 law firm practices will now be headed by one of the founding members of the
 U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Asa Hutchinson, the nation's first
 Under Secretary of Border and Transportation Security, is joining
 Washington-based Venable LLP.  He will serve as chair of the firm's
 established Homeland Security practice.
     Mr. Hutchinson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary of
 Homeland Security in January 2003, shortly after the department was created.
 As one of the nation's top-ranking homeland security officials after Secretary
 Tom Ridge, he was responsible for more than 110,000 federal employees housed
 in such agencies as the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and
 Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Law
 Enforcement Training Center.  Mr. Hutchinson was in charge of managing the
 overall security of U.S. borders and transportation systems.  He also set
 immigration enforcement policies and developed and implemented visa security
     "We are extraordinarily fortunate to be gaining a respected lawmaker and
 government leader in Asa Hutchinson," said Benjamin Civiletti, former U.S.
 Attorney General and Chair of Venable.  "America's domestic security apparatus
 has undergone a complete overhaul since September 11. Asa was not only present
 at the creation of this vast new security infrastructure, he was one of its
 chief architects and implementers."
     Outgoing Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge echoed that view, calling Mr.
 Hutchinson "an excellent choice to lead Venable's Homeland Security practice.
 His dedication to fostering the public-private partnership will be a
 tremendous asset to the firm's work in this vital area."
     Venable's Homeland Security practice, one of the first of its kind, was
 formed in 2002 shortly after the adoption of legislation creating the DHS.
 With its deep bench of former government officials, experienced legislative
 practitioners and top-tier Washington attorneys working across a broad
 spectrum of practice areas, Venable has proven to be particularly well suited
 for making its mark in the homeland security arena.
     The firm's Homeland Security practice advises corporations, government
 institutions, government contractors, and an emerging segment of start-up
 companies born of the new security regulatory system.  In September 2004, the
 firm authored Homeland Security Deskbook: Private Sector Impacts of the
 Defense Against Terrorism, the first legal treatise examining all aspects of
 the nation's new homeland security regime.  The 17-chapter deskbook is
 published by LexisNexis Matthew Bender.
     "Although I may be leaving the DHS, I remain fully committed to
 strengthening domestic security on behalf of U.S. business, industry, and
 state and local governments.  I sought to partner with a law firm that had not
 only shown a dedication to homeland issues, but also one that understands how
 homeland security impacts business and industry," said Mr. Hutchinson.
 "Venable exceeded those expectations.  It was one of the first firms in the
 country to create a full-fledged homeland security practice.  Additionally, it
 has tremendous all-around practice strengths, and is an indisputable D.C.
     Mr. Hutchinson will split his time between Venable's Washington office and
 Little Rock, Arkansas, where he will pursue additional personal and business
     Among the many initiatives led by Mr. Hutchinson during his tenure as
 Under Secretary are: modernizing border inspections through the successful
 reorganization of Customs and Border Protection; advancing new border
 technology, including development of the US-VISIT program . a historic
 biometric entry-exit system for foreign visitors to the United States;
 enhancing the security of transportation systems through new federal security
 requirements for the aviation, rail and transit sectors; innovative technology
 pilot programs for passenger and baggage screening; and more effective cargo
 inspections, as well as increased information sharing among formerly
 fragmented agencies.
     Prior to serving in DHS, Mr. Hutchinson led the U.S. Drug Enforcement
 Agency for two years.  He served three terms in the U.S. House of
 Representatives, where he was a prominent member of the Judiciary and
 Intelligence Committees.  In 1982, President Reagan appointed Mr. Hutchinson
 U.S. Attorney for Western Arkansas, making him the youngest U.S. Attorney in
 the country. While in that post, he prosecuted the violent white supremacist
 group The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord.  Mr. Hutchinson helped
 negotiate the surrender of Covenant leader James Ellison and prosecuted 13 of
 the group's members.
     In moving to Venable, Mr. Hutchinson joins a formidable list of former
 high-ranking elected and appointed officials.  In addition to Mr. Civiletti,
 the firm's partnership includes the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation;
 the former head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; several former
 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, ex-SEC enforcement lawyers, and former FCC staff
 members; senior bank regulators and Coast Guard officials; as well as elected
 officials from both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
     Mr. Hutchinson earned his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of
 Law, Fayetteville, and his B.S. from Bob Jones University.
     As one of America's top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has lawyers practicing
 in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual
 property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional,
 governmental, nonprofit and individual clients from its base of operations in
 and around Washington, D.C.  For more, visit
      Contact:  Allan Ripp /Joshua Spivak  212-721-7468 or 510-849-1663
                Sarah Gudsnuk              202-344-8523
                Jill Grabowski             202-344-8060