Venable Expands into New York Market, Combines with Premier Commercial and White-Collar Litigation Firm Heard & O'Toole LLP

Move by DC-based Venable adds firm with big-case track record in complex civil

and white-collar criminal litigation and arbitration. Combination represents

a step in firm's strategy to expand coast-to-coast.

Jun 16, 2005, 01:00 ET from Venable LLP

    WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- To better serve its
 clients, Washington-based Venable LLP is entering the New York market with the
 addition of litigation firm Heard & O'Toole LLP.  The 12-attorney Heard &
 O'Toole, with an outsized caseload in complex civil and white-collar
 litigation and arbitration, will combine with Venable on June 30, 2005.
     The combination brings seven new partners, four associates and one of
 counsel to Venable, giving the DC-based firm nearly 460 attorneys in seven
 U.S. offices.  The opening of a New York office represents a further step in
 Venable's strategy to expand its geographic reach coast-to-coast.
     Heard & O'Toole has developed a formidable niche in big-ticket defense
 work through its two principal partners, C. Stephen Heard, Jr. and Edmund M.
 O'Toole.  The firm is heavily involved in complex securities, product
 liability, insurance, environmental and other civil litigation, including
 substantial cross-border matters for major Japanese and Canadian clients.
 Heard & O'Toole also handles extensive white-collar criminal defense work and
 investigations.  The firm currently represents clients in four separate
 investigations by the New York State Attorney General's office.
     Venable, an American Lawyer top 100 firm, was founded more than a century
 ago and is chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti, one
 of only a few former U.S. Attorneys General in private practice.  The firm has
 nationally recognized practices in a number of areas, including government
 contracts, homeland security, regulatory and legislative affairs, advertising
 and marketing, environmental, employment/labor, intellectual property,
 litigation and investigations, telecommunications, and real estate, among
     According to Venable managing partner James L. Shea, "Given the size of
 our practice and the national scope of our clients, including many clients in
 the New York metropolitan area, we've been looking for the right opportunity
 to establish a presence in New York."  He adds, "Once we met the attorneys of
 Heard & O'Toole, we quickly realized we'd found the right partner to build our
 New York office."  Venable represents some significant clients in the region,
 including Viacom and Verizon.  According to Mr. Shea, "This combination will
 be successful because of the clear match between our practices and our many
 clients in consumer products, pharmaceuticals, media and entertainment, as
 well as other sectors."
     "Heard & O'Toole has first-rate corporate, class action and white collar
 defense practices, handling complex matters for leading institutional and
 corporate clients," Mr. Shea noted.  "Their litigation sweet spot complements
 many of our practices, and their attorneys mesh extremely well with ours."
     According to Mr. Heard, "There is a great fit between our respective
 litigation caseloads.  For a corporate defense and investigations practice
 like ours, what more can you say than being able to team with a firm led by
 former U.S. Attorney General Ben Civiletti?"  Mr. Civiletti's comments
 indicate the respect is mutual.  "Over the course of his illustrious career,
 Steve Heard has built a tremendous practice.  We're pleased to be teaming with
 someone of his caliber," said Mr. Civiletti.
     Going forward, Venable has strong growth plans for New York.  Mr. Shea
 adds, "Litigation and corporate investigations are just the first point of
 combined strength.  Over the next 18 to 24 months, we intend to build other
 practice capabilities in New York that complement our current national
 practices, including bankruptcy, marketing and advertising, IP, and others."
 Venable represents clients such as Marriott International and Yahoo!
     "We realize the incomparable value of joining a prominent firm, well
 established in Washington, with senior attorneys who have worked in all phases
 of government and who are keenly grounded in investigative and enforcement
 matters" observed Mr. O'Toole.  Mr. O'Toole focuses his practice on corporate
 and commercial litigation, as well as investigative labor and employment
     According to Mr. Heard, the combination with Venable fulfills his firm's
 strategic vision, too.  "The attorneys in our firm all earned their stripes in
 the major New York law firms.  We decided to form our own firm several years
 ago.  Our ultimate vision was to be the New York office of a well regarded
 firm with a national or even international platform - one which would enable
 us to serve our clients with a broad range of capabilities and talented
 attorneys.  We were looking for a partner firm that would complement our
 practice and our culture.  We found that match with Venable."
     Venable has grown steadily in recent years, with prominent hires from
 other major law firms as well as from top-level staff and executive positions
 at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications
 Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office,
 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Departments of Homeland
 Security, Transportation, Agriculture, Treasury, Justice, and Health & Human
 Services.  The firm's partnership includes former high-ranking U.S.
 Congressmen and Senators.
     According to Mr. Shea, Venable is also looking to expand into California.
 "Given the size and national scope of our clients, we've been looking to
 expand our geographic presence so that we can better serve our clients in
 these key regions of the country."
     Mr. Shea said that the New York market has been in the firm's sights for
 some time.  "We have a national and international practice, with substantial
 business ties in the New York region.  We felt it was important to be able to
 serve new and existing clients with added capabilities in New York.  With
 Heard & O'Toole, we're off to a great start."
     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 throughout the U.S. and around
 the world from its base of operations in and around Washington, DC.  Visit .
      Contact:  Allan Ripp               212-721-7468
                Sarah Gudsnuk            202-344-8523
                Christine Horan          202-344-4073