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575 7th Street, NW Washington, DC 20004 (202) 344-4000 (202) 344-8300 (fax) www.venable.com
Venable is the only new addition to this year’s chart. Riding the strength of its real estate and environmental practices, the Baltimore-based firm makes its return to the D.C. 20 after a one-year hiatus — and just edges into the 20th slot. “We’d always like to see growth in the neighborhood of 10 percent,” says James Shea, chairman of Venable, whose firm’s local revenues rose steadily by 8 percent to $147.5 million. “Our environmental practice had a robust year on both the criminal and civil side.” But beneath the surface of Venable’s copacetic numbers, 2005 was a bit more volatile. Over recent years the firm has lost a few top names, including this year’s departure of notable intellectual property lawyer George Pappas to Covington & Burling and up-and-coming labor and employment lawyer Connie Bertram to Winston & Strawn. The root cause of some discomfort stems from compensation; more than half of the firm’s lawyers are partners, and nearly two-thirds of those are equity members. In ’05, Venable’s profits per partner came in at $573,000, compared with $551,000 the year before. William Coston, the D.C. office’s managing partner, says of the increase, “We’re pleased with the number, but there’s always room for more growth, and it should go up based on some of the large litigation cases we’ve already had this year.” Along that line, Venable is pushing forward, reeling in more lawyers and foraying into New York – the firm’s first move outside of the D.C. area – where it opened a small shop. The increased head count and some key blue-chip clients are keeping Venable relatively healthy and the numbers up. Those clients include Abbott Labs, Merck, Potomac Electric Power Co., and Fannie Mae. Pointing the way in 2005 were environmental lawyers Judson Starr and Joseph Block, who oversaw an environmental crime investigation of McWane Inc., a nationwide ductile iron pipe manufacturer, and real estate practitioners Philip Horowitz and Robert Gottlieb, who handled the $1 billion sale of 12 Westfield buildings in Northern Virginia. “It’s been a great year for real estate, and the local market had a direct effect on our firm’s numbers,” says Shea. Looking forward, Shea says that Venable expects steady growth, bearing in mind that 10 percent number, while expanding its regulatory practice. “It’s not a boom market, but it’s a solid growth market,” he says. “There’s great prospects for companies doing business with the government, and that is an area of strength for us.”
• RANKINGS •
D.C. 20 (2006)Rank by D.C. revenue: 20D.C. Revenue (2005): 147,000,000D.C. Revenue (2004): 135,100,000Revenue per lawyer: 570,000Profits per partner: 575,000Average Compensation All Partners: 480,000Lawyers/Equity All Partners; 259/93Firmwide Revenue (2005): 239,300,000 D.C. 20 (2005)NOT RANKED

LT150 (2006)Rank by D.C. size of D.C. office (2005): 19Lawyers in Office (2006): 213Partners in Office (2006): 115Lawyers in office (2005): 224Partners in office: (2005) 114Percent Change in Number of Lawyers; -4.9Associate Hires Expected 2006: 19 LT150 (2005)Rank: 16Lawyers 2005: 224Partners 2005: 114Lawyers 2004: 211Partners 2004: 109Percent Change: 6.20Associate Hires: 21

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