Government relations in United States
Unless otherwise indicated, attorneys mentioned in this section are based in Washington DC.
Comprising lawyers and consultants, including former members of Congress with experience in federal government, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's public law and policy team has an excellent reputation and is praised for its ‘personalized service’ in areas such as trade, healthcare, environment, tax and Native American law. Hunter Bates and Brian Pomper jointly lead the practice. Joel Jankowsky, who is the founder of the firm’s government relations practice, has expertise in matters pertaining to technology, entertainment and telecoms. In one highlight matter, Jankowsky is leading a team representing a coalition of 18 companies from various industry sectors to effect changes in legislation and regulations to reduce vexatious patent litigation and to strengthen and improve proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Office. Health policy expert John Jonas helped Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Incorporated to obtain approval from the FDA for a revolutionary new treatment option for people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Brendan Dunn, former policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Zachary Rudisill, former tax counsel to Senator Rob Portman, both joined in May 2018. Dunn brings with him knowledge in the areas of tax, financial services, banking, trade, pension, judiciary matters and healthcare, while Rudisill focuses on domestic and international tax and trade policy. Also recommended are tax specialist Jeffrey McMillen, Ed Pagano and Arshi Siddiqui, who ‘goes above and beyond’. Former US Senator Joe Donnelly joined the firm in April 2019. Michael Rossetti left the firm in August 2018 and is now with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP.
Considered a ‘great group of talented individuals’, ‘super responsive, knowledgeable and easy to work with’, Squire Patton Boggs has put together ‘one of the most complete and strongest public policy teams in the country’. The group handles matters in a wide variety of sectors, including defense and national security, energy and environment, financial services and tax, healthcare, international trade, tax, transportation, infrastructure and technology. Senior counsel Trent Lott, Edward Newberry, ‘who is one of the most talented lawyers in Washington’, as well as ‘an excellent strategic thinker and tactician’, and senior counsel and former senator John Breaux are the practice heads. The team successfully advocated for the government of US Virgin Islands in the passage of federal hurricane disaster legislation, providing billions of dollars of hurricane relief to help rebuild its economy. Aubrey Rothrock III represented the Coca-Cola Company’s interests during the US corporate tax reform debate. Other clients include Nissan North America, SK Group and Airbus. Carolina Mederos is a key team member, and associate Rory Murphy is recommended. Also two new big additions to the team are former US congressmen Joseph Crowley and Bill Shuster, who both joined in February 2019.
Hogan Lovells US LLP's government relations team deals with matters in the automotive, tax, aviation and drone sector. The team also has expertise in international trade and representing foreign governments. In a representative work highlight, Aaron Cutler, practice head, senior counsel and former US senator Norm Coleman and Ivan Zapien are representing Kinder Morgan regarding the Trump’s administration introduction of significant tariffs on steel, arguing that Kinder Morgan should be exempt from the tariffs, particularly when importing steel pipe for the $1.7bn Gulf Coast Express pipeline. The team is also very active when it comes to obtaining funding for significant construction, research, programmatic and equipment projects. In one particular example, the team was able to secure over $550 million in federal funding for infrastructure and economic development for a major US city. Having been former head of public policy and regulatory affairs at Project Wing, Google’s drone industry venture, Robert Taylor joined as senior counsel from the Department of Defense, while Laura Ponto joined as counsel in April 2018 from Google X. Other key members include drone law expert Lisa Ellman and sanctions law expert Robert Kyle.
Holland & Knight LLP
Led by Rich Gold and Atlanta-based Robert Highsmith, Holland & Knight LLP's public policy and regulation group has a reputation for working on big issues in different industries sectors, with particular expertise in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector. In a recent work highlight, Gold and Michael Werner helped alleviate concerns of the Biosimilars Forum, a trade association whose raison d’être it is to create a vibrant US market for biosimilars, regarding low reimbursement rates for biosimilars, thereby potentially stumping their development by convincing the Food and Drug Administration to review and approve its reimbursement standards. Other clients in the area include the Alliance to Restore Our Waterways and the Public Access to Sunscreens coalition. Joel Robertson is the name to note when it comes to issues surrounding autonomous vehicles and drone law. Kathryn Lehman, transportation expert David Whitestone and Tallahassee-based Mark Delegal are also key names. The practice has experienced a number of changes in the past year. The most recent additions include former congressmen Tom Davis and Christopher Armstrong, who both joined in January 2019. Further significant arrivals are Mark Kalpin from WilmerHale and Andrew Starrels from Market Square Real Estate Consulting. Marne Sussman joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, while Charles Borden comes from the Center for Analysis of Risk and Regulation. Finally, senior counsel Samuel Brown joined from Allen & Overy LLP and Jake Evans from Thompson Hine LLP.
K&L Gates’ bipartisan government relations practice stands out as ‘it leverages a broad set of political and subject-matter experts and is well versed in utilizing a broad array of influencing tools’. The team has not only a ‘strong background in space policy’, but ‘also great reach in other policy issues’. The group provides ongoing advocacy assistance to the Airport Minority Advisory Council, particularly in the wake of major changes in airport and aviation legislation. Avis Budget Group retains the firm for advocacy before Congress, state and local governments as well as foreign governments on issues pertaining to income tax, cost recovery, foreign taxation, privacy, consumer matters and safety regulatory issues. On behalf of Pitney Bowes, the team advocates policies to protect and grow its mail and parcel business. Further clients include Maxar Technologies, Math for America, Ford Motor Company, Amazon and Bank of America. Michael Scanlon and Bruce Heiman ‘have incredible subject-matter depth, are proactive and responsive’. Emanuel Rouvelas, Paul Stimers, William Kirk, Daniel Crowley, who focuses on public policy issues relating to financial services, and Karishma Shah Page are also key names. Associate Peter Nelson is recommended and Scott Nelson is a new of counsel who joined from Summit Strategies in October 2018.
Mayer Brown is recognized not only for its ‘deep experience and strong expertise in the advancement and passage of federal legislation, including tax law’, but also its ‘excellent base of contacts in Congress and the administration’. The group handles international, federal, state and local government affairs matters. John Janicik and Mitchell Holzrichter are key names in the Chicago office. Los-Angeles-based Philip Recht advises Bird Rides on regulatory matters in the City of Los Angeles involving the use and sharing of electric scooters, a new disruptive technology that appeared in the US and abroad in 2018. Joseph Seliga, also in Chicago, excels at ‘advising governments and private sector investors in the development and execution of public-private partnerships of major infrastructure projects’. Other recommended team members include Michael Kantor, Timothy Keeler and Duane Layton.
Arnold & Porter’s legislative and public policy group is able to handle matters related to congressional investigations, tax, IP as well as a wide range of industries, including cybersecurity, energy and environment, financial services, food and agriculture, healthcare, insurance, telecoms and transportation and infrastructure. Charles Landgraf and Kevin O’Neill jointly lead the practice. O’Neill and his team represent Samsung in a variety of matters; for example, lobbying for the company during the development of legislation regarding 5G wireless technology in order to enhance Samsung’s position in that upcoming technology. In another matter, the team advocates on behalf of the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), among other things, to revise the laws protecting single-sex student organizations and address issues regarding campus safety and sexual assault on college campuses. The firm’s broad client roster includes Lloyds of London, McGraw Hill Education, medical device company Dexcom and South Korean steelmaker POSCO. Christopher Dodd joined the firm as senior counsel in January 2018from the Motion Picture Association of America.
At Bracewell LLP, Scott Segal and Dee Martin ‘lead a terrific and experienced team’. Segal attracts praise for his expertise, ‘especially in energy and environmental policy issues’, which he showcased when representing the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, together with Jeffrey Holmstead, in regulatory, congressional, public advocacy and media outreach matters. In another matter from the energy space, the team is acting for Valero Energy in a series of lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); in one case, for the EPA’s failure to conduct required periodic reviews of the consequences of and viability of compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard program of the Clean Air Act. For Andeavor, the group provides ongoing assistance on climate change and energy tax matters before the government and various committees, such as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Subcommittee on Air Quality and the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee. Utilizing its experience of pipeline and energy infrastructure projects, the team assisted Williams Companies to develop a reliable regulatory framework for constructing and operating a pipeline infrastructure. Non-energy related work included advocacy for the National Brain Tumor Society for more childhood cancer research funding, the provision of grants to states to identify and track childhood cancer cases and enhance the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
The government relations team at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP acts for major companies and associations providing sector-specific expertise across a wide range of industries, including gaming, private equity, sports, telecoms, financial services, professional services, life sciences and healthcare. In a notable example, Will Moschella advises the American Gaming Association on matters pertaining to sports wagering as well as the enforcement of illegal gambling activity, particularly on whether the federal government has the right to control state lawmaking. Practice head Marc Lampkin’s workload includes matters involving mergers and acquisitions, transportation, infrastructure and trade. Alfred Mottur is the other key team member. Russell Sullivan, Harold Hancock and counsel Rosemary Becchi joined in August 2018 to form the firm's national tax policy group.
The ‘remarkable’ government relations group at Dentons is acknowledged for its ‘can-do’ attitude as well as its ‘depth and extent’, being able to provide clients with public policy and regulatory assistance across all 50 states on issues of taxation, healthcare, international trade, energy, environment and congressional investigations. The firm's attorney general practice is a key strength, with Thurbert Baker providing ongoing assistance to Adtalem Global Education, which has come under scrutiny from more than 30 state attorneys general, the Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission concerning marketing materials and statements made to prospective students regarding graduation and job placement rates. With ‘extensive knowledge of international business, coupled with his experience in both the public and private sector’, Atlanta-based Gordon Giffin helped Repsol become an influential thought leader on state, federal and international environmental and social policy risks and opportunities. Eric Tanenblatt chairs the government affairs practice from Atlanta and senior managing associate Andrew Shaw is recommended. Chris Fetzer joined from Haake & Associates in 2018, as did the former attorney general of Georgia, Samuel Olens; both as counsel.
King & Spalding LLP’s government relations team is very active in matters related to congressional investigations, particularly in the healthcare sector. Other work concerns international trade as well as data, privacy and security issues, with clients coming from a wide range of industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive/transportation, infrastructure and sports. In addition to being known for representing clients in political law issues, particularly pharmaceutical companies, the firm has a growing attorney general practice, which in 2018 saw the arrival of former congressman and California attorney general Daniel Lungren as senior counsel. Practice head Thomas Spulak provides ongoing assistance to Embraer and its subsidiary Embraer Aircraft on several issues before the executive and legislative branches, including the development of regulations for autonomous electric aircraft operations in US airspace and support for a number of US Air Force programs. Spulak also advocates on behalf Mood Media before Congress concerning the standard used to set royalties associated with the cost of licensing music. Theodore Hester, Steve Kupka, J C Boggs and Eleanor Hill are the other names to note. Another recruit in 2018 was senior adviser James Miller, who was previously chair of the FTC, and in January 2019, the firm welcomed the former managing partner of Troutman Sanders LLP’s Atlanta office, Pete Robinson.
Steptoe & Johnson LLP has ‘put together a solid team’ of ‘well-respected advocates’ that lobbies for clients in the energy, telecoms, health, insurance, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. Douglas Kantor acts for the Secure Payments Partnership, a coalition consisting of merchant trade associations, debit card networks and payment processors, to advocate for numerous industries to have votes in setting payment security standards, advocate for more secure authentication and promote competition in payment cards. ‘Very organized and exceptional advocates’ Darryl Nirenberg and associate Eva Rigamonti are recommended. Advocating on behalf of 1-800 Contacts, Nirenberg was instrumental in achieving enactment of a piece of legislation that secures every American the right to a copy of his or her contact lens prescription after an eye exam. Bond Dealers of American and KLX are new clients. Scott Sinder leads the practice, and James Barnette is also a key name.
Van Ness Feldman LLP
Energy, natural resources and environmental issues are cornerstones of Van Ness Feldman LLP’s ‘effective’ public policy group. Firm chair Richard Agnew’s areas of expertise include natural resource and Native American law. On behalf of Xavier University of Louisiana, a largely African American university, the group secured a provision in the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act alleviating the financial burden it faces following a loan it received from the Department of Education to rebuild due to extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, which it struggled to repay as a result of reduced enrollment due to the economic crisis. In another matter, the group, representing the Sonoma County Water Agency, through successful lobbying efforts, helped to establish the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, which funds local projects necessary for conservation of threatened, endangered, or at risk salmon and steelhead populations. The team also successfully lobbied Congress on behalf of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation to implement law that allows ASCR to develop the oil and gas resources underneath its lands within the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The firm’s client roster includes the likes of Toyota, Amazon, Kinder Morgan, Shell and the International Bottled Water Association. Bob Szabo leads the practice. Tom Roberts and Alan Mintz are also key names.
Led by Jonathan Yarowsky, who is praised as ‘an excellent government relations adviser on legal/judiciary matters, specifically housing and restructuring’, the team at WilmerHale’s ‘full-service government relations’ practice is adept in developing multi-branch advocacy strategies to successfully to assist clients. Jamie Gorelick, who handles matters in the regulatory and enforcement space, advises T-Mobile USA on antitrust concerns and consumer issues regarding its proposed merger with Sprint. The team also supported Monsanto in its $62bn merger with Bayer, handling the regulatory, public policy, trade and antitrust issues. Other areas of expertise include intellectual property and trade. Charter Communications and The Beer Institute are also key clients. David Ross is the other name to note. Counsel Kristen Donaldson joined Gray Plant Mooty in September 2018 as special counsel.
Miller & Chevalier Chartered
Miller & Chevalier Chartered’s focus is on tax policy, where the team solves legislative and administrative issues for clients before Congress, the IRS and Treasury Department. On behalf of a primary trade association in the engineering industry, Marc Gerson, who leads the practice, was successful in achieving inclusion for engineering companies in the new 20% deduction for pass-through income enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2017. Gerson also achieved a similar deduction for staffing companies acting for the American Staffing Association. The team also represents multinationals and insurance companies; in one example, Gerson and Leonard Bickwit represented one of the largest privately owned insurance companies in the US during consideration of the Affordable Care Act, where they monitored and analyzed proposed legislation, drafted material for congressional briefings, and represented client’s interests in meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. Other areas of activities include financial services and trade matters. Tax policy expert Jorge Castro joined the firm in December 2018 from his own Washington DC-based tax consulting firm Castro Strategies LLC. Loren Ponds is another new addition; she joined in October 2018 from the House of Representatives' Committee of Ways and Means and specializes in international tax mater.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s public policy team is mainly housed in Washington DC, but it also has a presence at state level in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Massachusetts. Dennis Wicker and David Wilkins jointly lead the practice. Wilkins, former US ambassador to Canada who has a special focus on US-Canada relations, helped the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to obtain approval for the TransCanada’s KXL pipeline by the Trump administration, which was rejected under the previous administration. Robert Crowe lobbies on behalf of the government of Qatar, specifically advising on domestic trade missions, the blockade and charitable contributions in the US. Other clients include technology company Weedmaps, Korean company Hyosung and Newsmax Media.
Led by Elizabeth Moeller, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s public policy team has ‘a high degree of knowledge in their areas of specialization’. Moeller represented disability advocacy business Binder & Binder when it became the subject of an investigation by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. In another matter, working with the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project, the group provides legal representation, advocacy and counseling to domestic violence victims. As part of that engagement, the team drafted a congressional concurrent resolution seeking to compel family courts to assess child safety considerations before making any custody or visitation decisions. Brian Finch is the name to note for global security and cybersecurity matters. Finch frequently helps clients to obtain SAFETY Act liability protection certifications. Craig Saperstein, who became partner in January 2019, is another key team member.