Public Law and Policy > Overview

The public law and policy practice at Akin Gump has long understood that solutions to many issues facing clients involve the very processes by which legislation and policy are conceived, developed and implemented by governments in the United States and around the world. For this reason, Akin Gump has built and maintained one of the largest and most diverse government relations practices of any major law firm worldwide. Our practice stresses careful evaluation of client issues and detailed design of strategies and tactics to achieve objectives and provide advocacy that is executed in an effective, timely and coordinated manner.

Experienced Lawyers and Professional Advocates

Akin Gump’s bipartisan public law and policy practice comprises more than 75 lawyers and other professionals who practice exclusively on legislative, policy and regulatory matters, including many former members of Congress and other lawyers with considerable experience in government service, many of whom also engage in outside political activities in both major U.S. political parties. These former members of Congress and political operatives are able to assist our clients in building and maintaining relationships with current members of Congress who are in key leadership positions.

Our public law and policy practice is consistently ranked as one of the top government relations practices in Washington, D.C., by both publications and our peers, which is reflected in the recognition received by our firm and individual team members:

  • Akin Gump remains the only government relations practice ranked Band 1 in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In the most recent Chambers rankings, Akin Gump was referred to as “a strong talent group” and received praise for its “size and scope.” The team was known for a “Stellar lobbying offering, representing domestic and foreign clients before a wide range of policymakers on Capitol Hill, including the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees. Significant capabilities in international trade, including a recent focus on assisting clients navigate the newly open Cuban market. Additional areas of expertise include tax, healthcare and IP reform.”
  • Akin Gump is the only law firm ranked in Tier 1 for Government Relations by Legal 500, with seven lawyers recognized and recommended for their practices. The public law and policy team has been noted as “very client-oriented, knowledgeable and responsive,” including lawyers who are “beyond excellent.” The practice has been highlighted in specialty areas, such as Cuba law and policy, complex or controversial projects, and emerging technology.
  • For the ninth year in a row, Akin Gump has claimed a top spot in The National Law Journal’s “Influence 50,” its annual survey of the lobbying industry.
  • Four Akin Gump lawyers and advisors have been named to The Hill’s “Top Lobbyists” list for 2016, noting their ability to take action on “everything from drones to Cuba to health care policy.”
  • Two Akin Gump public law and policy matters were ranked in The Hill’s top 10 lobbying victories of 2016.
  • In December 2014, The Washington Post, in its annual Post 200 “guide to the region’s top businesses,” ranked Akin Gump as the top lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., as measured by both lobbying revenue and number of lobbyists.
  • Akin Gump ranks first tier in Washington, D.C., for Government Relations in the U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers’ sixth annual ranking of “America’s Best Law Firms.”
  • Four Akin Gump policy lawyers and advisors have been named top “Shakers and Movers in Washington, D.C.” by the Association of Accredited Public Policy Advocates to the European Union.

Broad Issue and Industry Exposure

Success in Washington, D.C. increasingly is determined not simply by whom you know but by what you know about a particular policy issue. The proliferation of complex issues before Congress and the accompanying explosion and specialization of staff members has created a need for increased information—often coming from experts outside Congress. These developments, combined with a series of congressional reforms opening the legislative process and dividing power between many subcommittee chairpersons, have changed the legislative process. The result is that virtually every issue before Congress today is lobbied by sophisticated public policy advocates. Similarly, regulatory officials in the government need to be convinced that there are substantial and objective arguments in favor of, or opposed to, actions sought from the agency. Akin Gump, based on the combination of its strong substantive resources in all areas of proceedings, can make those arguments convincingly.

The sectors and issues in which the public law and policy practice maintains major ongoing representations include:

Bipartisan Political and Legal Perspective

As a result of the breadth and depth of our experience and relationships, our firm is well positioned to represent its clients—regardless of which party controls the legislative or executive branch.

Further, the firm is respected for its ability to assess client issues not only from a legal framework, but also within policy and political contexts. In an era in which issues of “political compliance”—that is, compliance with the myriad laws and regulations that control lobbying and political activities—provide daily media headlines, clients derive significant security and value from having an informed and experienced law firm handle government relations and policy matters.

Range of Services

The public law and policy practice represents many Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 U.S. corporations. We also represent a wide range of individuals, small or medium-sized U.S. companies, nonprofit organizations, municipal governments and agencies, Native American tribes, foreign governments, foreign-based companies and organizations, foreign nationals and domestic and international coalitions and trade associations.

Akin Gump has organized its public law and policy practice in a way that affords clients the widest possible range of services, including the following:

  • development of comprehensive strategic and tactical plans to achieve specific legislative, policy or regulatory objectives at all levels of government in the United States and abroad
  • direct advocacy with government decision-makers
  • formation and coordination of professional teams—including, for example, media, local counsel and/or other consultants—to advance client objectives at a single level of government or in multiple government venues (e.g., state/federal, multistate, international)
  • support for advocacy by client government relations staff
  • drafting, analysis and monitoring of legislation, policy and regulations
  • legislative and oversight investigation, including witness hearing preparation
  • formation and management of coalitions
  • management and organization of grass roots and grass tops lobbying efforts
  • advocacy related to mergers and acquisitions
  • planning and communication of public policy initiatives
  • counseling on election law, ethics rules and political compliance
  • advocacy and management of state referenda and initiatives.

Geographic Reach and Multiforum Coordination

Representations handled by the public law and policy practice can focus exclusively on a particular committee or subcommittee of Congress or involve all three branches of the federal government. Representations may require advocacy before units of local and state government to complement and support efforts at the federal level. Representations may also involve U.S. relations with international parties or governments and/or matters before international organizations, thus requiring advocacy before multiple institutions and venues based outside the United States. Our practitioners are highly skilled at assembling appropriate teams and coordinating services in multiforum representations whenever necessary in order to achieve client objectives.

Integrated, Team-Based Approach

As part of a full-service law firm, our lawyers and lobbyists are able to draw upon the experience of members of other Akin Gump practices—including bankruptcy, communications, corporate, energy, environmental, labor and employment, health care, intellectual property, international trade, investment fund and private equity, real estate and tax—that may have substantive, day-to-day experience with the issues that lie at the heart of a client’s situation. This is the internal component of Akin Gump’s team-based approach: matching the needs of clients with the appropriate area of experience in the firm.

This team-based approach has an external element as well. In the course of representing hundreds of clients on thousands of matters, our public law and policy professionals have gained invaluable experience working with the entire range of related service providers, including media relations specialists, public opinion polling organizations, grass roots consultants, local counsel and other outside experts. Thus, Akin Gump is able to consult with clients to evaluate the need for additional professional services necessary to accomplish a particular objective, make recommendations to pair clients with professionals best suited to a case or task and coordinate the assembled professional team in a seamless and efficient fashion on behalf of its clients.