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Washington, D.C.-- Two Washington, D.C. law firms with substantial intellectual property practices - Venable and Spencer & Frank - announced that the lawyers and staff of Spencer & Frank will join Venable effective October 1, 1998. The addition of the Spencer & Frank lawyers expands Venable's intellectual property group to approximately fifty professionals. The move also complements Venable's continued expansion in Greater Washington, D.C., national, and international markets.

"Our growth is driven by our clients' needs. More and more of our clients are consolidating legal work with firms they view as strategic partners," said James L. Shea, Venable's managing partner. "To build on our strength as a strategic partner, Venable is adding considerable heft to a full-service intellectual property practice. We were delighted to attract the Spencer & Frank lawyers for our expanding technology practice," Shea added.

Echoing that view, George H. Spencer, Senior Founding Partner of Spencer & Frank, noted, "Venable has the strategic focus, culture, and track record to integrate a strong team of intellectual property lawyers effectively. This affiliation is about meeting the expanding needs of clients in the information economy. We are managing substantial growth in intellectual property work across the board, and particularly in the electronic and biotechnology sectors."

Spencer & Frank, nearly forty years old, is a law firm devoted exclusively to the practice of intellectual property law. The firm, which is among the top thirty-five law firms in the nation in the volume of patents and trademarks issued annually, has an extensive practice representing foreign and domestic clients. Spencer & Frank's foreign clients include leading industrial concerns in Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Pacific Rim, particularly Japan and Taiwan. The firm is also one of only twelve law firms which represents NIH in its patent work.

The addition of fifteen intellectual property lawyers and several doctoral level scientists and engineers from Spencer & Frank augments Venable's strength in the information technology, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, aerospace, medical devices, retail services, and government contracts industries. This decision forges a leading technology practice with substantial patent and trademark, intellectual property litigation, and regulatory capacity.

William D. Coston, partner-in-charge of the D.C. office commented, "This move builds on Venable's strength in the D.C. market -- over half of the firm's 300 lawyers are here. By assembling a full service team of professionals, we are working to make every company's short list of law firms which offer sophisticated solutions to complicated problems." Coston further noted that, effective January 1, Venable is creating a Technology Division to provide the full array of legal services required by high-tech companies, including asset development, acquisition, licensing, and protection. Venable's new division will accelerate the integration of Venable and Spencer & Frank intellectual property attorneys. Venable's current technology practice serves market leaders in several important industries, such as defense contracting, health care, computers, and consumer goods and services. Clients in these industries include Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, Honeywell, Inc., Compaq Computer Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Inc., G.D. Searle & Co., Monsanto Company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Marriott International, Inc.

Venable, one of the nation's leading law firms, practices in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, and fields such as intellectual property, technology, government contracts, labor and employment, health care, marketing and communications, energy and the environment, and legislative and regulatory law. Venable attributes its growth to forward-moving practice strategies and meeting client needs in the new information economy.

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.