WASHINGTON, May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Coming off its 11th consecutive year
of revenue growth and increased profits, Venable LLP has announced several
senior management changes, signaling a historic changing of the guard for
the 100-year-old Washington-area legal institution.
Managing partner James L. Shea, who has served in that position since
1994, becomes chair of the 470-attorney firm, succeeding former U.S.
Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti. Mr. Civiletti, who helped build
Venable into a premier national firm based in Washington, will remain a
member of the firm's board and will continue to head the Venable
Foundation, while also devoting more time to his practice as one of the
country's leading corporate investigations attorneys. Mr. Civiletti is one
of only a few former U.S. Attorneys General in private practice.
Karl A. Racine, who was appointed deputy managing partner last summer,
has been elected managing partner. A former associate White House counsel
under President Clinton as well as a former public defender in Washington,
Mr. Racine has been a litigator in Venable's civil and white collar
"It is a great honor to assume the chairmanship from my longtime
partner and friend Ben Civiletti, who has taken our firm to great heights
and who continues to set a remarkable example through his service to our
clients, and his commitment to the community and to the legal profession,"
said Mr. Shea.
"Indeed, we expect Ben to remain engaged in firm affairs, while staying
active with his substantial practice in litigation, corporate
investigations and corporate governance. Ben will continue to oversee the
Venable Foundation, which supports a span of philanthropic activities in
the communities in which the firm operates .- Washington, Maryland,
Virginia and New York."
In the 11 years since Mr. Shea became managing partner, Venable has
transformed into a national firm with a primary base in Washington, DC. The
firm has grown from 227 attorneys to 470, with significant practices in
government relations and legislative counsel, litigation and corporate
investigations, tax, real estate, corporate finance and business
transactions, telecommunications, transportation, intellectual property,
and homeland security. During that same 11-year period, firm revenue has
more than tripled from $68 million to $239 million.
Last summer, Venable opened a New York office by combining with the New
York white collar and commercial litigation firm Heard & O'Toole. The firm
is actively pursuing further expansion in California.
As firm-wide chair, Mr. Shea will focus on strategic planning, firm
expansion and business development. Venable has been among the leaders in
acquiring top legal and government talent in Washington, bringing in former
U.S. Senators and Congressmen, ex-Cabinet members, and high-ranking policy
makers and regulators. Recent additions have included USDA General Counsel
Nancy Bryson, Joint Committee on Taxation Legislation Counsel Ray Beeman,
former senior bank regulator Ralph Sharpe, and Treazure Johnson, former
Senior Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel for the SEC's Enforcement
Karl Racine Background
In electing Karl Racine managing partner, Venable is making a seamless
shift in leadership.
Mr. Racine, 43, began his career as a Venable litigation associate in
1989. He left Venable to serve in the D.C. Public Defender's Service, the
first of several positions in the legal and political landscape of
Washington, DC that would lead him back to Venable as a litigation partner
in 2002. After serving as a Public Defender, he became a partner in the
Washington law firm of Cacheris & Treanor.
From 1997 to 2000, he served in the Clinton White House, representing
the President and White House staff on civil and criminal investigations,
including Congressional, Justice Department, and Office of Independent
Counsel inquiries. He was part of a team of lawyers responsible for
selecting local judges in the District of Columbia, as well as federal
judges and other Presidential appointments. Mr. Racine also advised White
House staff on inquiries into government ethics.
Since returning to Venable, he has been engaged in some of the firm's
most significant litigation matters, including the defense of one of the
largest civil rights class actions in the country and corporate
investigations. In early 2005, Mr. Racine became chair of legal personnel,
in charge of all associate recruitment, training and development. Then in
August, he was named deputy managing partner, a new position at the firm.
In this capacity, he worked closely with Mr. Shea, and the firm's Board of
Directors and Executive Committee in every aspect of firm management.
Born in Haiti, Mr. Racine emigrated to the United States and settled in
the District of Columbia with his family at the age of three. Prior to
leaving Haiti, his father was mayor of Croix Des Bouquettes, a city near
Port- au-Prince. His mother earned her Ph.D. in French and Linguistics from
Georgetown University and is a professor at the University of the District
"I've always been grateful for the opportunities that living in the
United States has afforded me," Mr. Racine said. "My parents taught me the
importance of giving back to the community. For this reason, I chose to
become a public defender and remain active in the community where I was
raised." At the Public Defender Service, he established a reputation as a
fierce advocate and was frequently asked to testify before the D.C. City
Council on juvenile crime issues. Mr. Racine has served on the Board of the
Public Defender Service since 2003.
Mr. Racine is active in the firm's pro bono efforts and community
outreach, representing individuals on a range of issues and participating
in programs, such as Street Law.
Mr. Racine graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 with a
degree in Economics. He was a four-year letterman on Penn's varsity
basketball team and, as a two-time captain and MVP, led Penn to the Ivy
League championship in 1985. Mr. Racine received the school's most
prestigious Senior Award, the Spoon, which seniors bestow upon the
classmate with the most potential.
Mr. Racine earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1989.
Prior to graduating from law school, Mr. Racine studied French and French
Civilization at the Sorbonne in Paris and taught English in Zimbabwe.
In 1994, he worked with his mother to co-author the first
Haitian/Creole/English legal dictionary -. a critical resource to thousands
of Haitians who immigrate to the United States.
On Change in Leadership
"I am grateful to all my colleagues at Venable for the opportunity to
take on this senior management role," Mr. Racine said. "Under the
leadership of Ben Civiletti and Jim Shea, Venable has undergone tremendous
growth in terms of size, profitability and prestige -- we have become a
national firm while still maintaining strong roots in Washington, Baltimore
and the greater DC area. We're on sound financial footing and our intention
is to build on the marked successes of the past decade, as well as on the
traditions that have made Venable a great firm for well over a century."
Mr. Civiletti, who has been with Venable since stepping down as U.S.
Attorney General in 1981, commented on the shift in management: "The
satisfaction of leading our firm to national prominence, with
across-the-board practice strength and outstanding professionals, along
with a welcoming culture and commitment to the community, has been
immeasurable. The time was exactly right to elevate the next generation of
"As I devote myself to my own practice and to our firm's wonderful
charitable foundation, it's a great feeling to know that my longtime
partner Jim Shea will be standing in as chair, at a time when we continue
to move into new markets and plan for a next level of national and even
international expansion," Mr. Civiletti added.
"At the same time, we are fortunate to have Karl Racine as our new
managing partner. A star litigator with a first-rate legal mind, Karl is a
natural leader, capable of inspiring the firm's lawyers and professionals
to work together to achieve new heights. He is a home-grown Washington
product with exactly the right skill set and vision to lead Venable for
Photographs available upon request.
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SOURCE Venable LLP