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Venable Announces Senior Management Changes: Managing Partner Jim Shea Becomes Firm Chair; Longtime Chair Benjamin Civiletti to Focus on Investigations/Governance Practice; Karl Racine Named Managing Partner

Mr. Shea's Tenure as MP Produced 11 Straight Years of Revenue Growth; Mr.

Civiletti Continues as Firm Director and Head of the Venable Foundation;

Karl Racine, Tapped Last Fall as Deputy Managing Partner, Becomes Managing

Partner of this American Lawyer Top 100 Firm



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    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
 practice groups.
     "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
 Division.
     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
 of Columbia.
     "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
 firm leadership."
     "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
 years ahead."
     Photographs available upon request.
     As one of The American Lawyer'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
 throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in
 Washington, D.C. and offices in Maryland, New York and Virginia. For more,
 visit www.venable.com.
     Contact: Allan Ripp 212-262-7477 arippnyc@aol.com
                 Joshua Spivak    510-849-1663    jspild@aol.com
                 Sarah Gudsnuk    202-344-8523    sgudsnuk@venable.com
 
 

SOURCE Venable LLP

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