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When James Shea took the reins as Venable’s managing partner 11 years ago, the Baltimore-based firm had just 229 lawyers and revenues south of $70 million. When Shea handed the firm over to 43-year-old Karl Racine last week, he signaled that the now-440-lawyer firm is headed in a very different direction than it was when he took over. An associate White House counsel during the Clinton administration, Racine is a Washington lawyer, and his elevation signals Venable’s increasing reach inside the Beltway. He is also the first African-American to head an AmLaw 100 law firm. . . . Pittsburgh-based Eckert Seamans beefed up its Washington operation, adding five aviation lawyers from Condon & Forsyth last week and bringing the firm’s D.C. head count to 13. The group includes Condon’s former D.C. managing partner Thomas Whalen, John Delaney, and Evelyn Sahr. Associates Philip Livingston and Meaghan Molinini round out the group. . . . Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman picked its new chair last week. James Rishwain will replace Mary Cranston, who has led the firm since 1999. Rishwain will be joined by Washington-based Stephen Huttler as executive vice chair.
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected]. Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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