February 28, 2006

Venable’s New York Office Adds Two New Partners with Established Corporate and Bankruptcy Practices

5 min

Mark Vecchio brings well-rounded corporate and securities practice, with cross-border transactional experience; Edward Smith is a senior bankruptcy litigator and former Assistant U.S.Attorney in New York’s Southern District who has recently focused on Enron’s Chapter 11 proceedings.

NEW YORK/ WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2006) – The New York office of Venable LLP has added two new partners with substantial corporate and bankruptcy experience.

Established corporate attorney Mark S. Vecchio has joined from the New York office of Heller Ehrman, where he served for several years as managing partner.  Edward A. Smith, a top bankruptcy litigator and former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, joins from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

Mr. Vecchio and Mr. Smith are among the first additions to Venable’sNew York office since the Washington-based firm arrived in the city last summer through its merger with premier litigation boutique Heard & O’Toole.  Additional partners concentrating in transactional work are expected to join the office in coming weeks.  

“We’re pleased to gain two very experienced partners in our continuing expansion in New York – both Mark Vecchio and Ed Smith add considerable firepower to two very important practices,” said Edmund O’Toole, Partner-in-Charge of Venable’s New York office. 

“Mark has a sophisticated transactional and advisory practice that will be important in helping grow our corporate presence here in New York, while his added experience as a former managing partner should be very helpful as we continue to bring new attorneys and clients to the New York office,” Mr. O’Toole noted.

“Likewise, Ed’s bankruptcy experience is a terrific complement to Venable’s existing litigation work,” he added.  “Not only is he an experienced trial attorney, but his supervisory experience on big cases will be invaluable – consider that he has spent the better part of the last three years focusing on Enron matters.”

Vecchio Background

Mr. Vecchio has a diverse, two-decade practice in domestic and international corporate law.  He has advised clients on mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital.  His clients have ranged from Fortune 500 companies to individual entrepreneurs, as well as foreign businesses and governmental entities.  At Coudert Brothers, his prior firm, Mr. Vecchio represented such clients as Procter & Gamble, Shell Oil, Mobil Corporation, Daewoo, IBM, Calvin Klein Industries, General Electric and British Airways.

He has developed a particular niche in cross-border transactions, both inbound and outbound.  Mr. Vecchio has worked on sizable deals in Europe, including Russia, in South Americaand in the Middle East, including Dubai, Syria and Israel.

Between 2002 and 2004, Mr. Vecchio served as the managing shareholder of Heller Ehrman’s New Yorkoffice, a period which coincided with a significant growth spurt of that office.  Previously, he helped Coudert Brothers launch and manage new offices in Montreal and Moscow.

“I’ve always been interested in building an entrepreneurial corporate practice,” explained Mr. Vecchio.  “Venable has a terrific national reputation in many areas, and there is an opportunity here to create a full-scale corporate presence in New York – exactly the kind of challenge I couldn’t turn down.

“Venable also has a growing international practice representing foreign governments and U.S.clients with global operations,” Mr. Vecchio added.  “I hope to expand my cross-border counsel and believe my experience fits nicely with the firm’s ambitions to expand its international work.”

Mr. Vecchio teaches Strategic International Commercial Transactions as an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Law, from which he received his J.D. in 1985.  Prior to law school, he attended the Universityof Munichon a Fellowship in political science and international relations (1981-82).  He received his B.A. in Russian and East European Studies at Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1981.   

Smith Background

Mr. Smith has represented creditors and debtors in a range of complex and high-profile bankruptcy cases.  At Cadwalader, he worked almost exclusively on matters relating to Enron Corp.’s bankruptcy.  In addition to conducting two trials in bankruptcy court for Enron, he was heavily involved in defending the company against billions of dollars of market manipulation claims. 

Mr. Smith began doing bankruptcy work during his 10-year tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District (1990-2000).  Some of the matters he handled included defending the FCC against NextWave’s attempt to avoid over $4 billion in telecommunications license payments.  He also investigated alleged misconduct by the principals of 47th Street Photo, whose Chapter 11 bankruptcy was a major New Yorkevent in the 1990s.  In other cases, Mr. Smith represented the IRS in litigation over Drexel Burnham Lambert’s tax liabilities; the Environmental Protection Agency in litigation over Johns Manville’s environmental liabilities; and the Department of Defense in the proposed sale of LTV Steel’s Aerospace Division.

From 1998-2000 and 1996-1998, he was Chief of the Tax and Bankruptcy Unit and of the Environmental Protection Unit, respectively, exercising supervisory responsibility for the Southern District Office’s tax, bankruptcy and environmental cases. 

Mr. Smith came to know Venable through his work with partner Michael Schatzow, chair of Venable’s Commercial Litigation Group in New York, and of counsel Frederick Carter on various Enron matters.  “I gained a tremendous respect for the firm by working closely with Mike and Fred in the last several years,” Mr. Smith said.  “Like my new partner, Mark Vecchio, I see a great opportunity to bring my practice to the firm as it works to establish a more visible presence in New York.  We think there will be a lot more bankruptcy and restructuring work for us here.”

Prior to his government service, Mr. Smith worked in the corporate arena, serving as Associate General Counsel for Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc.  Mr. Smith graduated from FordhamUniversity Law School in 1983, where he was an Associate Editor of the Fordham International Law Journal.  He received an A.B. in Economics from Georgetown University in 1980.

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.