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Venable has broken into the D.C. 20 list for the first time, debuting at No. 20. The firm’s D.C. office registered a 10 percent spike in gross revenue, generating $127.6 million. Firmwide, Venable grossed $207.4 million. Average profits per partner increased by roughly 2 percent, to $510,000. And the number of lawyers in the District jumped from 230 to 238, a nearly 4 percent rise. William Coston, managing partner of the D.C. office, says the firm, founded more than a century ago, continued to strengthen all four of its principal areas: government, litigation, business, and technology. The legislative group completed significant work in the homeland security area for several clients, addressing, among other issues, terrorism insurance and liability of parties in the transportation industry. On the intellectual property side, the firm saw a significant amount of litigation, particularly in patents. “That’s a growth area for our firm and, I think, for many firms,” Coston says. Last year, the technology group jumped by about 10 percent in head count, and 20 percent in revenue growth, Coston says. On the business end, a real estate group joined the firm from now-dissolved Arter & Hadden, including partner Laurence Gesner, who represents home mortgage financing company Fannie Mae in financial transactions. In addition, Coston says, the business practice was very busy in all sectors — acquisitions, financing, securities. But “litigation has always been a bedrock practice for Venable,” Coston says. The firm is particularly strong in products liability and employment litigation, he says. “Those have remained rock-solid practices.” Last year, the firm was very busy working on a class action employment litigation on behalf of Sodexho Marriott Services. And it represented Abbott Laboratories in product liability litigation involving the prescription narcotic drug OxyContin. “Pharmaceutical [work] is a tremendous growth area, both in products liability and in intellectual property,” Coston says. The firm also does a significant amount of intellectual property work, led by partner George Pappas, for Johnson & Johnson. In addition, the firm is seeking to strengthen its food and drug law practice. The office works on issues relating to medical devices and nutritional supplements, Coston says. Last September, the firm, previously based in Baltimore, moved into a new building in downtown Washington. It was a symbolic move, Coston says, “because it establishes the Washington office as the home office of Venable.” Coston says the firm was devoting even more resources to growing in the District. “We’ve secured enough space in the new building to grow to as many as 400 lawyers in the next five years,” he says.

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