Former White House Advisor and Sen. Leahy Chief of Staff Ed Pagano Joins Akin Gump
(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump today announced that Ed Pagano, former White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and chief of staff for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), has joined the firm as a partner in its public law and policy practice in Washington.
Mr. Pagano, who has had a long and distinguished career in public service, spent the past two years in the Obama administration, where he served as the president’s liaison to the Senate. In this role, Mr. Pagano was responsible for managing the White House Senate Legislative Affairs Office and charged with advancing the president’s legislative agenda. He coordinated the administration’s legislative strategy on Senate action concerning issues that included patent reform, immigration reform, the Violence Against Women Act, reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, gun violence prevention, the Affordable Care Act and judicial nominations.
“Ed is truly an outstanding addition to the firm,” said Kim Koopersmith, Akin Gump chairperson. “With two decades of experience in the public sector, including on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he has developed an excellent reputation throughout Washington. Ed’s experience and guidance will be a great asset to our many clients whose interests intersect with the federal government, and I am thrilled to welcome him as one of our partners.”
Before joining the White House in 2012, Mr. Pagano worked for nearly two decades with Sen. Leahy, 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 Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Don Pongrace, head of Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice, added, “Ed’s professional background, both at the White House and on Capitol Hill working for Sen. Leahy and the Judiciary Committee, makes him an ideal fit for Akin Gump. He brings a unique vantage point to a number of policy issues that will allow him to become a valued and trusted advisor to our clients, and I am excited to welcome him to the team.”
Mr. Pagano said, “As I considered moving on to this next chapter in my career, I looked at many options, but in the end determined Akin Gump clearly had the best platform for me. The firm’s top-ranked public law and policy team, wide breadth of practices and expansive global footprint make it a very appealing place to put my experience to work on behalf of the firm’s clients. I am very excited to begin the next phase of my career at Akin Gump.”
About Ed Pagano
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.A. from the University of Vermont.
Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 850 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
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