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Attorneys from the real estate, regulatory, SEC & white collar defense, tax and wealth planning, and product liability practices elected to partnership.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 6, 2010) - Venable LLP is pleased to announce that six of the firm's attorneys have been elected to partnership status: Michael L. Hecht, Ronald M. Jacobs, George Kostolampros, Brian S. Masterson, Sarah P. Smith and Kelly S. Weiner.

“Each of the partners in Venable’s class of 2010 exemplifies the core Venable values: providing superior counsel to our clients, conforming to the highest ethical standards, significantly contributing to the communities in which we live and work, and treating those with whom we work with decency and respect,” said Karl A. Racine, Venable's managing partner. “For more than 100 years, these attributes have been the calling card of a Venable partner, and I am pleased to welcome each of these dedicated attorneys to our partnership.”

Michael L. Hecht, a Baltimore-based litigator in Venable’s Litigation and Product Liability and Toxic Torts practice, represents clients in a wide range of matters, including national mass tort pharmaceutical litigation, other product liability litigation, complex commercial litigation, construction litigation, intentional torts, premises liability, negligence actions, business torts, and insurance coverage disputes, as well as domestic, criminal and civil rights matters. Mr. Hecht's recent focus has been on complex medical and scientific issues in pharmaceutical litigation for a large international manufacturer.

Mr. Hecht is actively involved in a variety of pro bono matters, primarily in the areas of contract, civil rights, domestic, and criminal law. He is a 2004 recipient of the Maryland Pro Bono Service Award. He received his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, with honors, in 1999 and his B.A. from Mount Saint Mary's College, magna cum laude, in 1996.

Ronald M. Jacobs, a Washington-based regulatory attorney, leads Venable’s political law practice. He counsels corporations, trade associations, advocacy organizations, and individuals on all aspects of state and federal campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, pay-to-play, and gift and ethics laws. In addition, he counsels clients on the tax implications of their political and lobbying activities.

Mr. Jacobs recently lead a Venable team representing a major national trade association during a congressional investigation into its lobbying activities. He has also assisted several Fortune 500 companies in developing compliance programs for their state and federal political activities. Mr. Jacobs is a frequent author and speaker on political law issues and has conducted a number of training sessions for the American League of Lobbyists.

In a pro-bono child custody case, Mr. Jacobs recently won a major change in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that will bring D.C. custody procedures into line with those of many other jurisdictions. In addition, he serves as pro-bono counsel to the Human Rights Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting democracy in the Americas. Mr. Jacobs received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, with high honors, in 2001 and his B.A. from George Washington University, cum laude, in 1997.

George Kostolampros, a member of Venable’s SEC & White Collar Defense practice in the firm’s Washington office, advises and represents individuals and public companies in civil and criminal government enforcement actions and complex litigation.

Prior to joining Venable, Mr. Kostolampros served for three years as an attorney in the Division of Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. While at the SEC, he investigated and prosecuted numerous cases involving allegations of accounting fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, market timing of mutual funds, offering fraud, broker-dealer practices and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Mr. Kostolampros received his J.D. from Widener University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 1999 and his B.A. from Syracuse University in 1996.

Brian S. Masterson, a tax & wealth planning attorney in Venable's Washington office, advises clients with respect to state and federal tax planning, tax controversy matters, mergers and acquisitions, lending transactions, commercial mortgaged-back securities servicing and the structuring of strategic business relationships, such as joint ventures and partnerships. Mr. Masterson represents public, closely-held and venture-financed companies, REMICs, partnerships, limited liability companies and sole proprietors. He also works with other Venable attorneys to conduct investigations of public companies. Mr. Masterson lectures and writes frequently on federal income tax issues affecting pass through entities and real estate transactions.

Mr. Masterson is a former Certified Public Accountant, and prior to attending law school, he was a senior tax consultant with Arthur Andersen LLP. He is also an adjunct professor in the graduate business school at Lipscomb University. Mr. Masterson received an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center in 2004, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina, with honors, in 2001 and his B.S. from Lipscomb University, summa cum laude, in 1995.

Sarah P. Smith, a real estate attorney in Venable's Washington office, focuses her practice on complex real estate transactions, including purchase and sale; public-private development; office, retail and government leasing; and land use matters. Ms. Smith also has experience in real estate finance transactions involving acquisition and construction loans, permanent loans and securitization of real estate assets, including multifamily housing loans.

Ms. Smith's recent significant matters include the development of a build-to-suit office building for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as part of the 32-acre development project adjacent to the White Flint Metro station in North Bethesda.

Ms. Smith has served as pro-bono counsel to Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place and Higher Achievement Program. She received her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 2000 and her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1996.

Kelly Shubic Weiner, a real estate attorney in Venable's Baltimore office, focuses her practice on sophisticated real estate and commercial transaction law. Her transactional experience includes representing owners and developers engaged in significant sales, acquisitions, development, joint ventures, financing, and leasing of commercial enterprises including office, retail, residential apartment buildings, hotel and mixed-use development projects.

Ms. Weiner is also a member of Venable's Special Servicing team in which she handles complex workouts and restructuring of CMBS loans, and advises lenders regarding the nuanced approach to a successful workout deal.

As an active leader in the American Bar Association's Real Property Section, Ms. Weiner's client representation includes legal advice on the forefront of cutting edge real estate law matters. She formerly served on the board of directors for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland. Ms. Weiner received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, with honors, in 2000 and her B.A. from Loyola College In Maryland, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1997.

An American Lawyer top 100 law firm, Venable LLP has attorneys 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 headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia.