Government: Political Law: Nationwide
Covington & Burling LLPPerkins Coie LLPPillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLPSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & AffiliatesWiley Rein LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
Government: Political Law: Nationwide
- Band 1Jan W Baran (Wiley Rein LLP)Robert F Bauer (Perkins Coie LLP)Marc Erik Elias (Perkins Coie LLP)Benjamin L Ginsberg (Patton Boggs LLP)Kenneth A Gross (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates)Chip Nielsen (Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP)Joseph E Sandler (Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb, P.C)Michael E Toner (Wiley Rein LLP)Lyn Utrecht (Utrecht & Phillips, PLLC)
- Band 2Joseph Birkenstock (Caplin & Drysdale)Craig Engle (Arent Fox LLP)Ki P Hong (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates)Robert K Kelner (Covington & Burling LLP)Frederick K Lowell (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)William Minor (DLA Piper LLP (US))Trevor Potter (Caplin & Drysdale)
- Band 3Elliot Berke (McGuireWoods LLP)Bobby R Burchfield (McDermott Will & Emery LLP)Caleb P Burns (Wiley Rein LLP)David E Frulla (Kelley Drye & Warren LLP)Ronald Jacobs (Venable LLP)Cleta D Mitchell (Foley & Lardner LLP)Lawrence H Norton (Venable LLP)Stefan Passantino (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)Charles Spies (Clark Hill PLC)Scott Thomas (Dickstein Shapiro LLP)Michael Zolandz (Dentons)
- Up and ComingWilliam McGinley (Patton Boggs LLP)
- Associates to watchMatthew Bobys (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates)
Government: Political Law: Nationwide
THE FIRM This highly regarded practice is recognized as the first port of call for Democrat candidates within the legislative and executive branches of government. The 28-strong team has a wealth of expertise and experience, and advises the most significant clients on a range of political matters, including strategic campaign advice and Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) compliance. Highlights include advising the Obama for America campaign on all strategic issues relating to President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, and representing Facebook in its state-level lobbying program, which demonstrates the team's corporate reach.
Client Service "Perkins Coie is the go-to political law shop. I rely on the firm very heavily."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients regard Marc Elias as "the first person to get on the phone" when it comes to the most complex matters. He takes the lead on most of the team's corporate mandates, and counts Facebook and Google among his key clients.
The hugely respected Robert Bauer rejoined the firm in 2011 after a stint as White House Counsel. He resumes his role as lead partner on a range of key Democratic Party mandates, leading the Obama for America representative team.
THE FIRM Skadden advises high-profile clients on FEC, pay-to-play, campaign finance and compliance issues relating to M&A transactions, reaffirming its position as the leading corporate practice in the political law sphere. It notably represented PokerStars in connection with an FBI investigation into political contributions made by foreign entities to state legislators. Other clients of the political law group include industry giants GE, JPMorgan Chase and Viacom.
Client Service "This is an outstanding firm. The group does everything we could want or need."
Commercial Awareness "Knowledgeable and practical. The team will not quote a statute without applying it to us and our issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kenneth Gross leads the firm's political law practice and is revered among peers and clients alike, with one remarking: "He is one of the deans of that practice." Gross leads the team representing PokerStars.
Ki Hong is highly recommended for his knowledge of the law, particularly when it comes to pay-to-play matters. Clients describe him as "an expert in the area and a delight to work with."
Clients enjoy working with the highly rated Matthew Bobys, who is particularly well regarded for his work in the pay-to-play arena. "He is a great resource that I use a lot," said one interviewee.
THE FIRM Wiley Rein is widely viewed as the leading firm representing Republican candidates at all levels of the political process. The team's deep and broad expertise enables it to act on a range of issues from both a compliance and investigatory perspective. Among many highlights demonstrating these credentials, the team represented Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner in a state investigation relating to a political conspiracy. It also regularly works with the likes of Microsoft and Boeing, highlighting its corporate capacity.
Client Service "The team provides well-conceived guidance for clients – it's often the advice around which the rest of the legal community coalesces." "Wiley Rein is the gold standard in this business – the team is outstanding."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Jan Baran's gravitas and expertise are greatly appreciated by clients, who describe him as an "innovative, thorough and passionate attorney." He regularly supervises key investigatory matters on behalf of the team's leading clients.
Michael Toner's addition to the team has underscored its ascendancy in the political law market, particularly from a Republican perspective. He is widely praised by peers as a "superstar," and notably represented the Republican National Senatorial Committee in an FEC investigation.
Caleb Burns has a broad practice representing a range of political entities and corporate bodies, and is praised by clients as "a practical guy; he understands our business." He represented Clear Channel Communications in a matter before the FEC.
THE FIRM This firm's broad expertise and national reach enables its political law team to advise major corporate clients such as Visa and Verizon on a range of compliance matters on a state-by-state basis. The team is equally adept in assisting clients with the formation and ongoing activities of Super PACs. Highlights include representing leading broadcaster and comedian Stephen Colbert in connection with the establishment of his Super PAC.
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, Joseph Birkenstock is "knowledgeable and experienced." He advises the likes of Humana on a range of political law activities, including campaign finance, pay-to-play laws, lobbying and ethics at a state and federal level.
Trevor Potter leads the political law group and is responsible for some of the team's most high-profile matters. He has risen to national prominence through his work with Stephen Colbert's Super PAC.
THE FIRM This DC mainstay operates a significant political law practice, and is particularly acclaimed on the Republican side of the aisle. The team regularly works with the firm's market-leading government relations group, and advises corporates, trade associations, candidates and party committees on campaign finance issues and lobbying compliance matters. Its wide national reach means the firm can advise clients from both a state and federal perspective.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Benjamin Ginsberg is universally praised as "one of the best lawyers in this arena," who "has been a superstar in the field for a long time." He is particularly noted for his work on redistricting matters.
William McGinley is a new addition to the rankings, having had a successful year working with candidates and party committees before the FEC. He stands out for his work as general counsel to Michele Bachmann in connection with her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
THE FIRM This highly regarded Washington, DC boutique has developed a solid practice on the back of its Democratic candidate and party committee work. The sophisticated practice regularly advises on a broad range of political law matters, including campaign finance, FEC and lobbying compliance and ethics issues. In addition, the firm specializes in handling litigation for nonprofit organizations and companies providing services to the nonprofit sector.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Joseph Sandler is highly regarded in the political law sphere, standing out in particular for his work with Democratic Party committees. One source remarked: "I cannot speak highly enough of him – he is an absolute subject matter expert."
THE FIRM This firm's broad political law team enters the rankings having had a successful year representing both candidates and corporate entities. It has made a name for itself on the Republican side, representing candidates for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination and high-profile Republican Party committees. The group also handles various strategy and compliance matters for significant Washington, DC-based entities.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Craig Engle has a broad practice and is often the first point of contact for candidates and corporate clients alike. Sources describe him as "a practical thinker – he understands the economic and political realities involved with this practice."
THE FIRM This practice focuses on advising corporate clients on their political law needs. It advises the likes of Bank of America and Procter & Gamble on FEC compliance, pay-to-play laws and issues affecting Super PACs. The group is a leader in the field of Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) regulation, and notably represented The Monitor Group in connection with a FARA registration pertaining to its activities with the Libyan government.
Client Service "From a client service perspective, this group is streets ahead. The firm is an excellent partner, and we constantly recommend the group to our peers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Kelner is highly respected by clients and peers alike. Clients are particularly impressed with the level of service he provides, with one saying: "I give him unfair deadlines but he always meets them. He is extremely responsive whatever the time of day."
THE FIRM This established practice has a core focus on election law and campaign finance matters. Thanks to a historic relationship with the Republican Party, the group advises a number of key candidates and party committees. Highlights include advising Texas Congressman Michael McCaul on a range of campaign finance matters. The practice also extends to corporate entities, as highlighted by the mandate from AstraZeneca to assist with campaign finance, lobbying disclosure and pay-to-play compliance matters.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The practice is led by political law veteran Bobby Burchfield, who is acknowledged for his gravitas and experience. "He does the largest election law matters – if I had a really complex piece of political law litigation, I would go to him," said one peer.
THE FIRM McKenna Long & Aldridge makes its debut in the political law rankings this year. The team is fully conversant in campaign finance, election law, ethics and pay-to-play matters, and can also call on the resources of the firm's respected white-collar and tax teams. The team has been involved in some impressive big-ticket matters of late, including acting as campaign counsel to Newt Gingrich's campaign for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination. The team also represents a number of corporate entities in a range of political law matters, including Forest Laboratories.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Stefan Passantino is described by clients as "knowledgeable and creative – he finds a way to get us an answer." He serves as chief campaign counsel to Newt Gingrich, and also leads on a number of additional matters.
THE FIRM This bipartisan group has a solid practice, advising a range of high-profile corporate entities on a broad spectrum of political law matters. It regularly establishes political law compliance programs for the likes of Chevron and AT&T. The team is particularly dominant in the California market, where it has notably represented various Schwarzenegger political committees in several political law compliance matters.
Client Service "The team always has the resources to answer any question. The group provides excellent and accurate, ethical advice above and beyond the call of duty."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Highly respected practice group leader Frederick Lowell is a significant figure in the California political law scene. One source remarked: "He is extremely political and ethical in his advice. He knows his business really well."
of Utrecht & Phillips, PLLC is a highly regarded campaign finance and electoral law practitioner. She is particularly prominent in Democratic Party circles, regularly advising candidates in all branches of the legislature and executive, and party committees.
Vastly experienced "prominent practitioner
" Chip Nielsen
of Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni LLP is hugely respected for his work in California. He advises a broad range of clients on campaign finance, pay-to-play and lobbying compliance matters.
of DLA Piper LLP (US) has a sophisticated practice, advising corporate entities such as Target and Gap on a range of political law matters including PAC activities, lobbying compliance and ethics. One client remarked: "We use William when we have a complex, nuanced matter that requires deep understanding of the subject
Clients find Ronald Jacobs
of Venable LLP "easy to work with
." He is an expert in PAC activities, including formation, compliance and expansion, and clients are impressed with his "professionalism and understanding of key issues
Sources describe Cleta Mitchell
of Foley & Lardner LLP as being "spectacular in the political law market!"
She continues to rise in prominence through her ongoing representation of Rick Santorum in respect of his candidacy for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination.
of Dickstein Shapiro LLP is highly regarded by peers. He has notable expertise in election law matters, and is well known for assisting clients with FEC, campaign finance and ethics investigations.
of McGuireWoods LLP is noted for his increasing prominence in the political law sphere. He represents a broad range of clients, including corporate entities, party committees and private individuals before Congressional ethics committees and the FEC.
Clients enjoy working with Dave Frulla
of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, with one describing him as "quite remarkable – he has an ability to look at legal arguments in a unique fashion
." Frulla defended former Congressional chief of staff Joe Racalto in alleged Congressional ethics and campaign finance violations.
of Venable LLP enters the rankings this year having earned glowing praise for his FEC practice. Peers describe him as "detailed, incredibly knowledgeable and a superstar
of Clark Hill PLC is "thorough and professional,
" and is lauded by clients for his breadth of experience. He is the lead counsel for the Restore Our Future Super PAC, which acts as a key strategic PAC in respect of Mitt Romney's campaign for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination.
of SNR Denton counsels a variety of corporate clients on campaign finance, lobbying disclosure and ethics matters. "His knowledge base is excellent, and he is very customer-focused,
" say interviewees.
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