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BALTIMORE, MD / WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 9, 2005) – Kevin L. Shepherd, co-chair of Venable LLP’s Real Estate Practice Group and a partner in its Baltimore office, begins his one-year term as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law.

With nearly 30,000 members, the section is the ABA’s third largest, and is considered the preeminent association of attorneys practicing real estate, trust and probate law in the world.  Not one to rest on the status quo, Mr. Shepherd, 48, is determined to enhance the section’s reputation as a thought leader on topics important to real estate, probate, and trust lawyers.

“I know from personal experience what great value the section gives members in terms of enabling them to stay current on developing legal issues, establish nationwide resource networks, and advance their professional development opportunities,” Mr. Shepherd stated.  “That said, we want to continually increase the section’s relevance to our membership by providing quality CLE programs, speaking out on important practice concerns, and keeping members up-to-date on legal trends through our publications and programs.  I view my role as chair to ensure growth of these services.”

As chair, Mr. Shepherd plans to maintain the proactive approach taken by the section on key regulatory issues.  He views this type of advisory role as critical for enhancing credibility and influence with the IRS, Treasury Department and other key government agencies.

A prime example of the section’s impact is its on-going dialogue with the Treasury Department regarding proposed regulations under the USA Patriot Act.  Concerned about the regulatory burdens the legislation would impose on the real estate industry, the section’s USA Patriot Act Task Force has been working with the Department on the impact of various means of imposing an anti-money laundering regime on the real estate industry.

On another front, the section’s Property Preservation Task Force has sought to inform the Department of Agriculture and state lawmakers about the loss of farmland and other property held by tenants-in-common.  Following a recent report examining the growing loss of land by these property owners and their heirs, the Task Force is now seeking to draft remedial legislation to address what has become a looming problem for many of the nation’s poorest rural landowners.

Another major focus for Mr. Shepherd’s term is the enhancement of programs designed to keep section members up-to-date on current issues.  Among those recently produced was a widely attended on-line CLE course addressing the U.S. Supreme Court’s eminent domain decision in Kelo v. City of New London.  The section also produces a multitude of highly regarded publications, including its bi-monthly magazine Probate & Property, of which Mr. Shepherd previously served as editor-in-chief.

“It’s no secret that Venable has exceptionally talented real estate and trust attorneys, but for one of the firm’s own to take a leadership role at the legal profession’s foremost membership organization is a wonderful honor for the firm, as well as for Kevin,” said James L. Shea, managing partner of Venable.  “We congratulate Kevin and are confident that he will provide strong direction for the section, just as he has for our real estate group.”

“As a firm, we take pride in the part our attorneys have chosen to play in helping to shape legal policy through their pro bono work in voluntary associations,” said Venable’s Chairman Benjamin R. Civiletti. “Kevin joins a number of Venable partners who have been selected by their peers to serve as heads of major legal professional associations, including Philip M. Horowitz, who will begin his term as President of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers this January. We are glad that our attorneys are able to use their talents to better the profession of law.”

Mr. Shepherd is one of the nation’s leading real estate attorneys with a national practice encompassing complex property acquisition and development, commercial leasing and real estate financing.  He has particular experience representing pension fund investors and real estate investment trusts (REITs) in connection with the buying and selling of commercial real estate investments.

Mr. Shepherd is a magna cum laude graduate of both the University of Baltimore School of Law (J.D., 1984), where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, and Frostburg State College (B.A., 1979).

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.