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BALTIMORE, MD (4/25/03) Venable LLP announced today that James J. Hanks, Jr., one of Maryland's best-known corporate lawyers, has joined Venable LLP as a partner, along with seven other corporate attorneys, including Sharon A. Kroupa, who also joins Venable as a partner.

In addition to Mr. Hanks and Ms. Kroupa, William A. Agee and Teresa B. Carnell will join Venable as Of Counsel; Patricia McGowan, Michael A. Leber, Michael D. Schiffer and Christopher W. Pate will be joining as Associates. Mr. Hanks and his colleagues formerly practiced corporate law at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP. Their move to Venable further enhances Venable's strong corporate law and business transactions practice.

"As Venable is focused on the Maryland area and has more lawyers in Maryland than any other law firm, my colleagues and I felt that Venable was the natural home for our Maryland-oriented corporate law practice," explains Mr. Hanks.

Mr. Hanks has long provided advice on Maryland corporation law to corporations, REITs, and investment companies formed under Maryland law. More than 60% of all public REITs are formed in Maryland and, along with the other attorneys moving to Venable, Mr. Hanks has represented fully half of those Maryland REITs.

Mr. Hanks has also represented buyers and sellers in more than 200 mergers and acquisitions, including several valued at more than $1 billion. Mr. Hanks frequently provides advice to the boards of directors, independent directors, and management teams of many public companies and other entities on matters related to corporate governance, shareholder litigation, conflicts of interest, and various transactions.

Sharon A. Kroupa joins Venable with extensive experience in the areas of general corporate and securities law, with emphasis on mergers and acquisitions and real estate investment trusts. Ms. Kroupa has more than 20 years of experience representing public and private companies, including REITs, serving as both outside and in-house counsel for several public companies in Maryland. Ms. Kroupa has served as special and general corporate counsel to many special committees formed by boards of directors and represented companies in mergers and acquisitions, securities transactions and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

"We are delighted that this group of well known corporate attorneys, led by Jim Hanks and Sharon Kroupa, are joining our corporate law practice," says Robert H. Geis, Jr., partner-in-charge of Venable's Baltimore office. "Their talents, breadth of legal knowledge, and their extensive experience in handling intricate corporate matters significantly expand our abilities to serve the increasingly complex needs of our corporate clients." The addition of this new group brings the total number of attorneys in Venable's corporate practice to more than 160.

The arrival of these eight attorneys comes on the heels of Venable's Washington office adding eight real estate, finance, and corporate attorneys, all of whom were formerly with the D.C. office of Arter & Hadden, LLP. The firm's Washington office also recently added Nora Garrote, an experienced technology transactions and intellectual property lawyer, and former U.S. Senate Finance Committee tax counsel Samuel Olchyk.

The six attorneys joining Mr. Hanks and Ms. Kroupa at Venable also bring strong credentials.

Of Counsel Additions


William A. Agee is a corporate attorney who focuses on general corporate law, securities, business transactions, banking, and real estate investment trust law. Teresa Burt "Tea" Carnell advises major corporate boards, especially investment companies, and is the legislative counsel for the Maryland Retailers Association.

Four Associates Complete the Team


Rounding out the new team of Venable attorneys, Patricia McGowan, Michael A. Leber, Michael D. Schiffer and Christopher W. Pate, all focus on corporate law with particular attention to business and finance, mergers and acquisitions, REITs, and securities law.

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.