Hunter Bates has more than 20 years of law, policy and advocacy experience. He combines his knowledge of policy, process and key players to provide strategic advice to, and advocacy on behalf of, a wide range of clients, including Fortune 100 companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations. He has repeatedly been named as one of the “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill. He is also co-leader of the firm’s public law and policy practice.

Practice & Background

Prior to joining Akin Gump, Mr. Bates served as legal counsel and chief of staff to current Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. In this role, he worked with members of the Senate and House on a wide range of issues, including appropriations, agriculture, health care, tax and civil justice reform. During his time as chief counsel of the Senate Rules Committee, Mr. Bates also advised Sen. McConnell on ethics and campaign finance issues.

Mr. Bates also has played a key role in multiple Senate campaigns for Sen. McConnell, including serving as campaign manager in 2002, when Sen. McConnell set the Kentucky GOP record by garnering more than 65 percent of the vote. Mr. Bates also served as statewide grassroots chairman for the Bush/Cheney campaign in Kentucky and has been a delegate or alternate to multiple Republican National Conventions.

Previously, Mr. Bates served as the chairman of the board of regents for Eastern Kentucky University. He has also served on the board of directors of First Southern Bancorp, Baptist Healthcare Systems and the Center for Technology Enterprise, Inc., a nonprofit organization seeking to increase access to, and use of, technology throughout Kentucky. He currently serves on the board of Centric Broadband and on the board of the Center for Competitive Politics.

Mr. Bates received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1994, where he was chosen by his classmates to be the class marshal and deliver the student commencement address. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Eastern Kentucky University in 1989. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eugene E. Siler, Jr. in the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Awards and Accolades

  • Legal 500 – Government Relations (2017-2018)
  • Consistently named by The Hill as one of Washington, D.C.’s “Top Lobbyists.”