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Venable LLP received high rankings for several practice groups in the second annual lawyer rankings from Chambers USA in its survey of America’s leading business lawyers. A number of Venable lawyers were also singled out for praise by the survey’s respondents.

The rankings, which are compiled from interviews of the area’s top business leaders and legal advisors, found that Venable’s "reliable and responsive" Employment Defense group and "high-quality" Real Estate group were among the top-tier practices in their class in Maryland. The Corporate/M&A group and the General Commercial Litigation group also scored highly among respondents. In addition, the firm received praise for practice groups in the Washington and Virginia offices.

"It is very gratifying to see our practices recognized by the top business and legal leaders," said James L. Shea, Venable’s Managing Partner. "The results highlight a breadth of talent across the practices and offices of this firm."

The Employment Defense practice, ranked in the top tier in Maryland was praised for its "reliable and responsive" approach, with respondents saying that it "won't delay" in a crisis. Praises for individual attorneys included Jeffrey Ayres, who is admired for his "ability, versatility and standing in the market," and Ronald Taylor, a "top negotiator" with the ability to "resolve problems quickly." Robert Ames, who represents "the largest employers in the most difficult cases," is "well thought of in collective bargaining negotiations with unions." "A key player" and "a fantastic lawyer," George Johnston stands out for employment litigation. Maurice Baskin, a "superb traditional labor lawyer" and a "skilled adversary" from the Washington office, has carved out a national reputation. John Bredehoft, from the Virginia branch, is an "incredibly gifted" attorney, "a walking encyclopedia" who "always sees the big picture."

The Real Estate group was praised as a "high-quality outfit" with a broad-based practice serving both institutional and entrepreneurial clients. Clients value "bright and timely" Kevin Shepherd for his "top-quality work product." Jim Wright is particularly noted for his long-standing role as one of the principal outside attorneys for the hotel chain Marriott. "The dean of the local real estate Bar" and "a prince of a guy," Russell Reno is a senior partner in the group. In Washington,Philip Horowitz was cited as "an expert in joint ventures, acquisitions and disposal." Stefan Tucker, "a doyen of real estate tax in DC" is "the closest one can get to being a real estate lawyer while actually specializing in tax," and is said to be "able to handle almost anything."

The Corporate/M&A group, noted as a "center of corporate strength," is "always client-focused and extremely business-minded," collectively and individually, with three partners from the group ranked in the top-tier. James Hanks is well known in the market as "one of the leading authorities on Maryland-oriented corporate law," with a particular focus on REITs and investment companies. Tuck Washburne impressed sources with the breadth of his practice and his strong corporate background. Bryson Cook was cited as a "tremendous lawyer" who skillfully combines corporate and tax experience. Thomas France "keeps deals on schedule and has sound business judgment" and is admired for being "practical and solution-oriented" with "a tremendous ability to focus on the issue at hand at all times."

Commercial Litigation has a good stable of trial lawyers throughout Maryland, including managing partner James Shea who was described as "the first port in a conflict storm." James Archibald is highly rated for his experience in products liability, toxic torts and commercial disputes, while John Lewin's experience includes antitrust, securities fraud and trade secrets. Peers commented that Paul Strain "spends a lot of his time on the road" handling "mostly high-level, complicated products liability litigation, which takes him around the country." James Gray was described as "a good, aggressive business lawyer."

The Environmental Criminal Defense group is a recognized leader boasting three former high-ranking officials from the DOJ. Judson Starr was cited as the "gold standard for white collar crime."

The Construction team is respected for its breadth, experience and the ability to "train youngsters to the uppermost standard." "Top-notch attorney" David Lane, is cited as being "one of the leaders in the field" with a "practical outlook." Wayne Lalle is admired for his "excellent trial skills" in the field of construction litigation.

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, 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.