WASHINGTON, D.C./TYSONS CORNER, VA (October 31, 2006) – Expanding its capacity as one of the country’s leading real estate law firms, Venable LLP announced that Deborah Rochkind, Director of Real Estate and Records Management for America Online, Inc., has joined the firm as a partner in its Tysons Corner office.
Ms. Rochkind, 42, has been in charge of all of AOL's worldwide real estate transactions for the last six years, overseeing a large, international portfolio that spans 15 countries. She has also been actively involved in development and public works issues in the Mid-Atlantic region where she serves as a commissioner on the Loudoun County Economic Development Commission in Northern Virginiaand is chair of its Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Joining AOL’s legal department in 1999 as the company began an unprecedented boom in subscribers, Ms. Rochkind helped lead an ambitious property expansion to fulfill AOL’s voracious need for well-equipped data centers, call centers and office facilities around the world.
At one point, AOL’s real estate holdings surpassed six million square feet. Overseeing it all, Ms. Rochkind was responsible for leasing and subleasing, acquisitions and dispositions, as well as settlements, land use, zoning and development issues globally. Her oversight included 2.5 million square feet of company-owned real estate, as well as 55 domestic and 17 international leases, from Dulles, Virginia to Bangalore, India.
In addition to acquiring and leasing existing properties, Ms. Rochkind scouted sites and entitled land for construction of AOL’s data centers – robust, heavily reinforced facilities that could withstand hurricane-force winds in safeguarding the company’s servers and other vital technology. Ms. Rochkind noted that she approached new projects from the standpoint of sustainable development, environmental sensitivities, and prudent corporate strategies.
In addition to serving as real estate counsel, Ms. Rochkind provided strategic planning and counsel for AOL’s mergers and acquisitions activity, including the firm’s historic combination with Time Warner, as well as earlier high-profile acquisitions of Netscape, Moviefone, Mapquest, and Spinner. As a result of the Time Warner union, Ms. Rochkind gained a seat on Time Warner’s Real Estate Council, encompassing seven different divisions of the sprawling media and Internet empire. Ms. Rochkind also was in charge of records management at AOL, where she led the development and rollout of AOL's Records Management Program, including company-wide protocols for document retention.
“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that we are elated by the arrival of Deborah Rochkind,” said Venable real estate partner Philip Horowitz, who is vice chair of the firm’s Business Development group. “She is an exceptionally talented and well-rounded real estate attorney with a world of experience at her command. And well beyond knowing the nuts and bolts of real estate transactions, leasing and other property matters, Deborah truly understands the strategic needs of businesses.”
Mr. Horowitz noted Ms. Rochkinds’ considerable geographic and transactional range, which complements Venable’s recent expansions into New York and California. “Deborah’s tenure at AOL gave her an enviable deal book that very few real estate attorneys could match – she has worked in the biggest markets, as well as some of the most challenging,” he noted. “We have a number of clients with sizable international real estate portfolios who will benefit greatly from her addition to our practice. And her leadership in nearbyLoudoun County is of equal importance to our significant real estate work in the Mid-Atlantic market.”
Based out of AOL’s Dulles, VA headquarters, Ms. Rochkind did indeed log plenty of miles keeping tabs with the company’s far-flung real estate. Besides regular travel to Bangalore, where AOL maintains a large office and call center presence, she handled real estate matters in the U.K., Ireland, Hong Kong and China, Japan, France, Canada and the Philippines, as well as across the U.S.
“I couldn’t be happier moving to Venable, which boasts one of the country’s pre-eminent real estate practices, one that is notable for its breadth of work as for the quality of its clients and attorneys,” Ms. Rochkind said. “The firm has played a major role in many of the big development and lease transactions in the Mid-Atlantic region, while working with many of the nation’s leading REITs, as well as with major institutions and multinationals on key real estate matters. Venable’s reputation for excellence is well established and I look forward to helping the practice further grow and flourish.”
Ms. Rochkind is an active participant in Northern Virginia government and organizations. She is active in bringing rail service to Loudoun County, greatly improving transportation for what has become one of the country’s prime business and technology corridors. She also represented the Loudoun County Route 28 Tax District in negotiation of the Route 28 PPTA, which resulted in the construction of a series of six highway interchanges built to ease heavy traffic congestion in the region, with some additional Route 28 improvements to occur in years to come.
“Loudoun County has become one of America’s premiere business centers and I am extremely proud to have contributed to improving quality of life in the community through major enhancements to the county’s transportation and infrastructure,” Ms. Rochkind said. “I certainly intend to remain actively engaged in this area.”
Ms. Rochkind initially joined AOL as assistant general counsel, responsible for all legal work supporting the company’s facilities (primarily real estate and construction), as well as equipment leasing and finance.
She previously was assistant general counsel at Clark Enterprises Inc., parent company of Clark Construction Group and Clark Realty Advisors. Ms. Rochkind began her legal career as an associate at Arent Fox, PLLC.
Ms. Rochkind received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center (1990). She earned a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from American University School of Public Administration (1988) and her B.A. from BostonUniversity (1986).
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.