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Shepherd becomes president of premier honorary organization for practicing real estate attorneys; he earlier served as chair of the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

Baltimore, MD (November 3, 2009) – Kevin L. Shepherd, co-chair of Venable LLP’s Real Estate Practice Group, has been elected president of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). His term took effect at the conclusion of the annual meeting this past weekend in Washington, DC. He succeeds Philip Weller, a partner with DLA Piper.

Comprised of over 900 real estate attorneys nationally, ACREL is the premier professional organization of U.S. real estate lawyers. Admission is by invitation after a rigorous screening process. ACREL's members are elected to fellowship based on their outstanding legal ability, experience, and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law.

Mr. Shepherd has been an ACREL fellow since 1996. His elevation to president gives him the unique distinction of being the only lawyer of his generation to attain leadership positions in two of the legal profession’s preeminent real estate bodies. He previously served as chair of the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law in 2005-06. With nearly 30,000 members, it is the third largest section of the ABA.

As ACREL president, Mr. Shepherd plans to strengthen ACREL by implementing initiatives that will respond to the turbulent changes in the legal profession triggered by the economic recession.  Mr. Shepherd intends to appoint task forces to address matters of interest to real property law professors and in-house counsel and will work to improve ACREL’s already stellar CLE materials and programs.  Improved communication will be a focus of Mr. Shepherd’s attention as well.  As president, Mr. Shepherd oversees ACREL’s affairs and presides over all regular and special meetings. He is responsible for appointing committees, and works closely with the Board of Governors in setting the College’s annual agenda.

In addition to Mr. Shepherd, Venable counts six other partners who are fellows of ACREL: Robert Gottlieb, Jan Guben, Ronnie Reno, Stef Tucker, James Wright and Phil Horowitz, who served as ACREL president in 2006.

At Venable, Mr. Shepherd’s practice includes the representation of large national and multinational institutions in complex real estate transactions. A particular focus has been advising REITs and pension funds in the leasing, acquisition, disposition, and financing of properties.  He is a leading global authority on the Gatekeeper Initiative, an effort by the international community under the leadership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to impose anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing obligations on the legal profession.

“It is no secret to those of us who watch him work year in and year out that Kevin Shepherd is among the most accomplished and dedicated practicing real estate lawyers in the country. It is only fitting that he would be asked to lead the most eminent professional legal organization for the industry,” said Karl Racine, managing partner of Venable. “We are fortunate to have Kevin serve as co-chair of our own national real estate practice and proud of in the firm’s tradition of close association with ACREL through all of our elected attorneys.”

Mr. Shepherd said of his long-time affiliation with the College; “ACREL is truly the premier organization of real estate lawyers in the country, and I am honored to have been an active member for the past 13 years. I look forward to continuing my service to the College and work with the board and ACREL’s fellows in my new capacity as president.”

Mr. Shepherd is former editor-in-chief of Probate & Property, an ABA publication. He has served on a number of real estate task forces, including the ABA Task Force on Gatekeeper Regulation and the Profession and the ABA Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight.

Mr. Shepherd is a member of the Anglo-American Real Property Institute, an organization comprised of 50 United States real estate lawyers, developers and economists, as well as 50 United Kingdom real estate barristers, solicitors, developers and surveyors. Shepherd is also a member of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys and the American Bar Foundation.

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Note:  An American Lawyer top 100 law firm, 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.