This week, Venable announced that Stu Ingis, co-head of the firm's Privacy and Data Security Practice, would succeed Jim Shea as firm Chair effective February 1, 2017. A former Partner-in-Charge of the firm's Washington, DC, office, Ingis will continue to be active in his practice while focusing on strategic planning and outreach for the firm. Shea, who will serve as Chair Emeritus, succeeded former U.S. Attorney General Ben Civiletti as Venable's Managing Partner in 1995 and Chair in 2006. During his tenure, Venable has grown steadily, expanding from its Washington, DC, and Baltimore origins to New York and the West Coast. The firm has consistently achieved record growth in revenue and profits, outperforming the AmLaw 100 average.
Multiple publications featured news of Ingis' new position including Law360, Bloomberg Law, Baltimore Business Journal, National Law Journal, and The Daily Record.
"This is not a vote to change the firm in any way, but really to continue," Ingis told Bloomberg Law. "We're going to stick to our knitting." He noted that his "election speaks to the growing significance of privacy and data security as a practice area." Ingis echoed these comments in a National Law Journal interview saying, "It's not a time of transition and change, but a time of continuity…When I started, [privacy and data security] wasn't even an area of law that people focused on."
"I've been managing partner or chairman for 22 years and it's been a great run with a great group of people...but it's time for a change. And it's a good change," Shea said in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal. He added that Ingis is a "marvelous practitioner and terrific leader." Speaking with The Daily Record, Shea said, "It's a good time now because we are doing well and the foreseeable future looks good… It's always better to make changes moving ahead, as opposed to trying to solve problems with changes."
Discussing future growth for Venable with The Daily Record, Ingis said, "We certainly are going to continue to evolve and change and grow just as we have…We've been very deliberate in our growth — we're not trying to be in every city throughout the world. In today's market, you don't need to be. I think we will continue to grow, but it'll be steady growth and smart growth. We will continue to look for the right opportunities for our partners, as well as listening to where our clients would like us to be." In the same interview, Shea said, "The world, including the legal profession — maybe even particularly the legal profession — is changing rapidly, and the pace of change is accelerating…The biggest challenge is to be ready for the unexpected. When you know what the problems are going to be, they're much easier to solve than the ones you can't foresee, and you usually can't foresee the toughest ones."
Shea and Ingis both emphasized that the change in leadership does not mean Venable is turning away from its Baltimore roots. "We will continue to really be the leading and largest firm in Maryland and in Baltimore," Ingis told The Daily Record. "We fully intend to continue that 100 years of strength in legal services. Many of our lawyers are pillars of the community there, and that's going to continue…I'm looking forward to being a good caretaker and working more closely with a broader set of partners to continue our long history of success and participation in the communities where we work."
Read Bloomberg Law's story on Ingis' new role as firm Chair.