July 16, 2007

Venable’s Baltimore Office Adds Five Attorneys From Saul Ewing

5 min

Experienced corporate attorney Herbert Frerichs arrives with litigator George Ritchie; Bernard Rhee and Guido Galvez add life sciences and patent experience, while Aida Lebbos brings trademark law and intellectual property experience to firm's Baltimore office.


BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON, DC (July 16, 2007) - Venable LLP announced that it has added two new partners -- Herbert D. Frerichs and George F. Ritchie -- to its Baltimore office, as well as Bernard Rhee, of counsel, and associates Aida M. Lebbos and Guido J. Galvez. All five attorneys join from the firm of Saul Ewing LLP.

Mr. Frerichs is an experienced business lawyer with added tenure as an in-house corporate counsel. Mr. Ritchie is a litigator with an extensive background in products liability and commercial litigation.

Both Frerichs and Ritchie bring established practices and longtime client relationships to Venable. Mr. Frerichs advises businesses on corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, as well as joint ventures, private equity and debt financings. Since 1996, he has served as counsel for international food processor Perdue Incorporated. Mr. Frerichs had previously been corporate counsel for UNC, Inc., a publicly traded aerospace company.

Mr. Frerichs has overseen all of the Perdue's recent acquisitions, including its investments in ethanol production and other emerging areas of agribusiness. "As Perdue continues to focus on renewable fuels and other agricultural sectors, I can draw from Venable's strong resources in that area, not least of which is the firm's Agriculture and Food Group, which includes former General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nancy Bryson," said Mr. Frerichs.

A versatile litigator, Mr. Ritchie will largely focus on product, pharmaceutical and medical device defense work at Venable. Among his notable past wins, he helped spearhead a successful motion for summary judgment in Estate of White v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. That decision was cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals (4th Cir.) in affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment in a subsequent individual smoking and health case in federal court in Maryland, curtailing the likelihood of future similar suits in the state.

Mr. Ritchie brings experience in a wide range of other areas, including complex commercial and class action litigation arising out of mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and shareholder claims, as well as life sciences. He also plans to expand his patent litigation practice. "I enjoy learning about and working within many different business areas," he explained. "Litigation is just the point of departure."

Messrs. Rhee and Galvez focus their practices on intellectual property and business issues, assisting a number of life sciences and technology companies to develop and commercialize the intellectual property assets. Ms. Lebbos regularly counsels clients on patent and software licensing, trademark registration and protection, and advertising issues. She is experienced in representing life sciences and other technology companies formed around the intellectual property that results from university and federal laboratory research efforts.

Thomas Washburne, chair of Venable's Business Transactions Practice Group, and Geoffrey Garinther, head of the firm's Litigation Division, joined in welcoming the group to the firm.

"These experienced attorneys add even more muscle to two already powerful core practices," Mr. Washburne said. "Herb's experience in both the legal and practical business aspects of commercial transactions - including his ten-plus years working with one of the country's best-known food brands - will be invaluable to our corporate clients as they strive constantly to retain their competitive edge. Aida, Bernie and Guido bring a deep understanding of intellectual property and technology transfer issues, which will allow Venable to better serve Baltimore's growing life sciences industry."

Mr. Garinther noted of Mr. Ritchie: "George possesses unusual range and flexibility as a litigator. With his successes representing major manufacturers and retailers in so many different types of actions - ranging from personal injury and wrongful death to defective design, patent infringement, and breach of contract - we see him immediately becoming an integral part of our national litigation team."

Mr. Frerichs received his J.D., with honors, from the University of Maryland School of Law (1988); his Masters of Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island (1985); and his B.S. from the United States Naval Academy (1980). After graduating from the Naval Academy, he served for five years as a surface warfare officer. Mr. Frerichs remains active in alumni affairs at the Academy. He also serves on the boards of directors for The Hippodrome Foundation, which brings Broadway shows to Baltimore, as well as the USS Constellation Museum, Living Classrooms Foundation and Business Volunteers Unlimited of Maryland. An appointee to the Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission, Mr. Frerichs was named one of "Maryland's Legal Elite" by Baltimore SmartCEO magazine in 2006.

Also named one of "Maryland's Legal Elite," Mr. Ritchie is a member of the Business Litigation and Drug & Medical Device Committees of the Defense Research Institute. He received his J.D. from Notre Dame (1992) and his B.A. from Middlebury College (1988). He serves on the board of the non-profit, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, which both produces plays and has an educational arm that introduces the subject to school children.

A registered patent attorney, Mr. Rhee received his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law (2000) and his B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (1991).

Mr. Galvez is also a registered patent attorney, and received his J.D. from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (2001). He holds an M.S. in Applied Molecular Biology (1997) and a B.S. in Biology (1995), both from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Ms. Lebbos received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Baltimore School of Law (2000) and her B.A. from Duke University (1988).

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.