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Washington, 05/02/01 --- Moving to strengthen its national communications practice, Venable today announced that William P. Cook and Julian L. Shepard have joined the firm as partners.

"Bill Cook and Julian Shepard offer Venable's clients a wealth of experience in telecommunications and regulatory affairs that will significantly enhance both our communications and public policy advocacy practices," said Venable Managing Partner James L. Shea.

Mr. Cook's practice principally involves legislative and federal regulatory advocacy for major telecommunications companies. He is a former Senior Attorney in the Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice (Reagan Administration) and served as General Counsel, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, U.S. Department of Justice (Bush Administration). On behalf of OpenNet, a national coalition of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Mr. Cook played a central role over the past two years in the fight for open access before policymakers at the FCC and the state and local level across the country. He formerly was a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

Mr. Shepard is an established communications lawyer with nearly two decades of experience in private practice, government, and industry. He maximizes value for clients in transactions involving communications assets and the Internet, as well as representing clients before the FCC, other regulatory agencies, and Congress. He served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and was Assistant General Counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters. During a critical period in the history of the television broadcasting industry, he served as Vice President and General Counsel of the Association for Maximum Service Television, Inc.

"Venable has one of the most well-known brand names in the Washington, D.C. region and is regarded nationally as a blue-chip firm, offering the highest quality legal work. Recently it has expanded that reputation to become one of the top legislative power firms in Washington," said Mr. Cook. "When you combine that success with the firm's commitment to building one of the top communications shops in D.C., the attraction was irresistible."

"It's not easy to find a firm that excels in all of the key complementary practice areas, particularly business transactions, taxation, intellectual property, technology and electronic commerce," Mr. Shepard said. "Venable offers clients an unparalleled platform for discovering the hidden value in all aspects of their transactions. I hope to harness Venable's many strengths in advising clients on the impact of communications laws and policies on business decision making."

Accompanying Mr. Cook are two other former Manatt, Phelps attorneys: Erik V. Huey, who joins as Of Counsel, formerly in the General Counsel's office (Legislative & Regulatory Matters) for BellSouth. Eric E. Tucker, joins as a transactional associate in the firm's Business unit. In addition, joining Mr. Cook is Sydney White, recently on the staffs of Congressman Ed Whitfield and Senator Sam Brownback, where she worked on Broadband and other communications/e-commerce policy issues.

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. For more, visit www.Venable.com.