James J. Hanks

Hanks, James J.

Senior Lecturer

Phone: (410) 244-7500
E-mail: jhanks@venable.com

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

James J. Hanks, Jr. is a partner in the 550-lawyer firm of Venable LLP, with offices in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York and Washington.  He received his A.B. from Princeton University; his LL.B. from the University of Maryland Law School, where he was an editor of the Maryland Law Review; and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School.  For a year after receiving his LL.B., he was law clerk to Judge Charles Fahy of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

In private practice, Professor Hanks represents public and private companies in a wide variety of general corporate law and governance matters, securities offerings and other capital markets transactions.  He has advised buyers or sellers in more than 250 mergers or acquisitions, many valued at more than one billion dollars (U.S.) each, including providing advice on Maryland law to Stanley Works in its acquisition of Black & Decker Corporation and to Equity Office Properties Trust in its $40 billion sale, at that time the largest private equity buy-out and the largest real estate transaction in history.  He has also represented parties in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other transactions.  Professor Hanks regularly serves as independent counsel to boards of directors and board committees of major U.S. corporations and as an expert witness in connection with significant transactions, stockholder litigation, conflicts of interest and corporate governance issues.  Professor Hanks also advises governments on revision of their corporate and securities laws. 

Professor Hanks is a Senior Lecturer at Northwestern Law School, where he has taught courses in mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance.  Professor Hanks has taught Corporate Law and Governance in the Northwestern Law School-Instituto de Empresa Executive LL.M. program since its first year in 2006.  He has also taught classes in corporation law at various law and business schools in the United States, the Republic of South Africa and Guatemala and at the Institute of Law in Beijing.  During the Fall, 2003, he was Commerzbank Visiting Professor of Law at Bucerius Law School, in Hamburg, Germany, and has taught there periodically since then.  Since 2008, he has taught in the Master of Law and Business program. 

Professor Hanks is the author of the definitive 650-page treatise Maryland Corporation Law (supplemented annually) and the co-author (with former Stanford Law School Dean Bayless Manning) of the third edition of Legal Capital.  He is the author of several law review articles and a frequent speaker on corporation law and governance issues.  He is also co-editor of the Handbook for the Conduct of Shareholders’ Meetings.  Professor Hanks has been actively involved in the revision of the Maryland General Corporation Law, the Maryland REIT Law, the Model Business Corporation Act, the Corporate Director’s Guidebook and the Fund Director’s Guidebook.  He is a member of The American Law Institute. 

For several years, Professor Hanks has appeared in The Best Lawyers in America in three categories:  Corporate Governance and Compliance Law, Corporate Law, and Mergers and Acquisitions Law.  He is also named in the current edition of Chambers USA for Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions, Maryland (Band 1) and for Capital Markets:  REITS, Nationwide (Band 1).  In 2008, Professor Hanks received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award of the Maryland State Bar Association Section of Business Law.  In 2012, he was the fifth recipient of the Honorary Medal of Bucerius Law School, presented by the former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Helmut Schmidt. 

Professor Hanks is married to Sabine Senoner, of Kitzbühel, Austria, and they have an utterly charming daughter, Maria Dorothy, age eight, who will talk your head off in either German or English.

View full bio

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Law

Selected Publications

  • Legal Capital, 4th edition (Foundation Press, 2013) (with Bayless Manning).


  • AB, Princeton University
  • LLB, University of Maryland
  • LLM, Harvard Law School

Prior Appointments

  • Law Clerk, Judge Charles Fahy, United States Court of Appeals
  • Commerzbank Visiting Professor of Law, Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany