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
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SOURCE Venable LLP