April 16, 2007

Derick Berlage Brings Experience in Public-Private Partnerships to Venable's Rockville Office

5 min

Former Chairman of Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission and President of Montgomery County Council; Berlage brings extensive experience in facilitating transportation and development partnerships to firm's State and Local Government Practice


WASHINGTON, DC (April 16, 2007) – Venable LLP announced that attorney Derick P. Berlage, an experienced player in high profile public-private partnerships and most recently the Chairman of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has joined the firm’s Rockville, Maryland office.  He is a partner in the State and Local Government Practice group.

Mr. Berlage, 50, will counsel the firm’s public and private-sector clients on complex public-private partnerships in urban redevelopment, sports/recreation, transportation, and other development projects.  He will also bring his longtime public-sector experience to advise clients on their dealings with government officials, agencies, and lawmakers, as well as on general legislative and regulatory matters.

As Chairman, from 2002 to 2006, of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission—which guides and regulates all land development in Montgomery County—Mr. Berlage oversaw 990 employees, an annual budget of $107 million, and the county’s acclaimed 32,000-acre park system.

Mr. Berlage helped guide some of the region’s most successful public-private partnerships—including the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring, MD into an award-winning town center, as well as the development of the North Bethesda Conference Center, Silver Spring Transit Center, and Germantown Soccerplex. 

Mr. Berlage lists the Silver Spring project as one of the highlights of his public service in Maryland.  “When I came into office, the downtown area was starting to see crack houses,” he said.  “Now Silver Spring is home to a remarkable array of commercial, governmental, cultural, and educational interests, and the area is still growing.  This ongoing project exemplifies perfectly what public-private partnerships are supposed to be about—commercially successful development that also meets important community needs,” he added.

Silver Spring now hosts such entities as Discovery Communications, the American Film Institute's Silver Theater and Culture Center, as well as a diverse variety of retail stores, restaurants, schools, and places of worship.  Downtown Silver Spring is also home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parent organization of the National Weather Service. 

According to David Edgerley, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, “Derick Berlage has a distinguished record of community service and integrity.  As he takes on this new role, I'm sure Venable's clients will be well served by Derick's extensive experience and expertise. ”

“Derick has a profound understanding of how to bring public and private parties together," said Brock Landry, Co-Chair of Venable's Government Division.  "His ability to advance their respective development, legislative and land-use interests in a way that ultimately enhances the community makes him someone you definitely want on your team.”

“Bridging that gap between public and private sector development has indeed become one of my prime skill sets,” Mr. Berlage responded. “It is one that I have found to be particularly rewarding because of my deep roots in Maryland.  The key, I think, is in realizing that public and private interests, despite good intentions, don’t always communicate well.  Having an experienced facilitator who can make and maintain that connection is often that critical link which allows such projects to succeed.”

He added, “I’m looking forward to continuing to play an active role in large-scale public development, for both public and private-sector clients, at a firm with Venable’s reputation for excellence and integrity, commitment to public service, and eminence in real estate, finance, and environmental law.  The firm’s longstanding ties to Maryland were another obvious draw for me.”

Prior to his tenure at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Mr. Berlage was elected three times (serving as President in 1994-1995) to the Montgomery County Council, a legislature that oversees a $3 billion budget, enacts land use and zoning laws, and approves other municipal ordinances.  Montgomery County is Maryland’s largest and most affluent county.  It is also home to many leading corporations in hospitality, defense, and technology/bio-tech, including Marriott, Lockheed Martin and MedImmune. 

Mr. Berlage has also served as Chairman of Montgomery County’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee and was a member of the county’s Committee on Transportation and Environment. 

During his seven years at the National Capital Transportation Planning Board (as Chairman in 1997), Mr. Berlage represented Montgomery County on the regional body charged with transportation planning for the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  He reviewed and approved major road and transit projects, including the completion and expansion of the Metro system; the expansion and improvement of the I-270 corridor; and other improvements to traffic management. 

Mr. Berlage also brings to Venable a strong background in litigation and appellate law.  Earlier in his career, he was a litigator at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  He also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Harold H. Greene, United States District Judge in Washington, DC.

On the political front, Mr. Berlage recently assisted the transition team of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley; participated in many successful political campaigns in Maryland; and was the legislative author of Montgomery County’s Economic Development Fund. 

Mr. Berlage received his J.D., cum laude, from the New York University School of Law in 1985, where he was Projects Editor of the New York University Law Review, and his B.A. from Princeton University in 1978.  His publication credits include Quorum Magazine and Region Magazine.  He has testified before Congress, the Maryland General Assembly, and many other government bodies.  He lectures frequently on land use, housing and transportation 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.