Ed Pagano focuses his practice on public law and policy matters.

Practice & Background

Mr. Pagano joined Akin Gump after serving in the Obama administration as Senate Liaison and Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, where he served as the president’s liaison to the Senate. In this role, Mr. Pagano was responsible for managing the Senate Legislative Affairs Office and charged with advancing the president’s legislative agenda and promoting his priorities on Capitol Hill. He coordinated the administration’s legislative strategy on Senate action concerning issues that included patent reform, immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, the Violence Against Women Act, reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), gun violence prevention and judicial nominations. He was a member of the White House privacy and FISA working groups.

Before joining the White House in 2012, Mr. Pagano worked for nearly two decades with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), both for the senator’s office and for the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Leahy. This included serving as Sen. Leahy’s chief of staff, managing the senator’s offices in Washington and Vermont and overseeing the senator’s work on the Judiciary, Agriculture and Appropriations committees. During that time, Mr. Pagano advised Sen. Leahy on legislation—such as the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the first major reform of the patent system in 60 years—and Supreme Court hearings and confirmations, including those of Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan.

Prior to becoming Sen. Leahy’s chief of staff, Mr. Pagano served as his senior counsel on the Judiciary Committee, focusing on economic and criminal justice legislation, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the USA PATRIOT Act and the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, as well as antitrust issues and data breach legislation. Mr. Pagano earlier worked as a legislative counsel for Sen. Leahy, monitoring legislative developments and implementing plans on tax and commerce legislation, as well as coordinating economic development outreach in Vermont.

Mr. Pagano began his professional career as an associate at a large law firm before moving on to serve as a field director for the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992.

Mr. Pagano received his J.D. from Fordham Law School and his B.S. from the University of Vermont, where he played power forward for four years for the Vermont Catamounts basketball team.  He remains active at the University of Vermont both as a member of the Board of Trustees and through alumni and student engagement.

Public Service

  • Senate Liaison and Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, White House, 2012-2014
  • Chief of Staff, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), 2005-2011
  • Senior Counsel, Senate Judiciary Committee, 1997-2004
  • Legislative Counsel, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), 1993-1996.

Awards and Accolades

  • Legal 500 – Antitrust: Merger Control (2017).

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Lawyers for Civil Justice, “The Impact of the Senate Filibuster on the Judiciary”, May 4, 2015
  • Keynote speaker, University of Vermont’s Department of Athletics 2014 Catamount Kick-off