A new man at Venable firm

Attorney: James J. Hanks Jr., a corporate law expert, is coming aboard and bringing seven other lawyers with him.

April 25, 2003|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

James J. Hanks Jr., a widely respected expert in corporate law, is joining the Baltimore office of Venable LLP on Monday along with a support staff of seven attorneys.

Hanks, 60, a partner at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll LLP more than 10 years, will become a partner at Venable and is expected to expand the corporate practice by 50 percent.

"He's a terrific addition to our group, because he has such a high profile and has as a result all these national, corporate clients," said Robert H. Geis, partner-in-charge of the Baltimore office. "He's very well-known and well-respected, so it's very exciting to be able to bring him over here. He has a very loyal team. His team didn't know anything about this until last week."

The additional eight attorneys will boost Venable's number of lawyers to 158 in its Baltimore office, Geis said.

Hanks has long provided advice on Maryland corporate law to corporations, real estate investment trusts and investment companies. Because of favorable laws in Maryland, more than 60 percent of all public REITs have been formed in Maryland. Hanks and the other attorneys moving to Venable have represented about half of those Maryland REITs, he said.

"As Venable is focused on the Maryland area and has more lawyers in Maryland than any other law firm, my colleagues and I felt that Venable was the natural home for our Maryland-oriented corporate law practice," Hanks said.

Hanks, who has written a widely used treatise on Maryland corporate law, is an adjunct professor at the law schools of Cornell and Northwestern universities. For the past eight years, he taught a comparative corporate law course at the Cornell law school/Sorbonne joint summer program in Paris. He also has worked with the government of South Africa for about two years on the revision of its company and securities laws.

Sharon A. Kroupa of Ballard Spahr's Baltimore office also joins Venable as a partner. William A. Agee and Teresa B. Carnell will join as "of counsel." Patricia McGowan, Michael A. Leber, Michael D. Schiffer and Christopher W. Pate will be associates. All have extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, securities, REIT, and general corporate law.

"My colleagues and I are looking forward to working with the lawyers at Venable to enhance the breadth and depth of the advice we provide to our Maryland chartered clients, including corporations, real estate investment trusts and investment companies," Hanks said.

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