Hunter Bates, Former Chief of Staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Justin McCarthy, Former White House Official, Join Akin Gump

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump announced today two significant additions to its public law and policy practice in Washington, D.C.: Hunter Bates, who previously served as legal counsel and chief of staff to current Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Justin J. McCarthy, who formerly served in the George W. Bush administration as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will join the firm as partner and senior advisor, respectively. Mr. Bates joins Akin Gump from government affairs consulting firm Republic Consulting LLC, which he co-founded; Mr. McCarthy most recently served as a lobbyist at Peck Madigan Jones.

Hunter Bates brings to Akin Gump more than 20 years of law, policy and advocacy experience, along with a strong track record working with senior Senate Republican leadership. As chief of staff to Sen. McConnell, Mr. Bates worked with the Senator and other members of the Senate and House on a wide range of issues, including appropriations, tax, trade, health care and civil justice reform, among others. During a stint as chief counsel of the Senate Rules Committee, Mr. Bates also advised Sen. McConnell on ethics and campaign finance issues.

In private practice, Mr. Bates has employed his legal and policy knowledge and experience to advocate on behalf of a wide range of clients, developing and executing successful government relations and legislative strategies. Mr. Bates’ clients include Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations.

Justin McCarthy adds significant depth to Akin Gump’s experience on issues relating to trade, tax and health policy and also strengthens the firm’s capabilities on policy matters concerning, among others, financial services, energy, technology, appropriations, intellectual property and agriculture.

In particular, Mr. McCarthy’s recent efforts include working to secure the passage of the Trade Promotion Authority in 2015 and working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. His extensive background on trade issues in the public and private sectors, coupled with the firm’s existing comprehensive trade policy and regulatory practices, further strengthens Akin Gump’s ability to serve clients in this important area.

At Akin Gump, both Mr. Bates and Mr. McCarthy will not only work with the House and Senate Republican leadership but also advise clients on a breadth of issues that are under the jurisdiction of the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith commented, “At Akin Gump, we pride ourselves on offering our clients a premiere public law and policy team capable of addressing their most pressing and challenging policy issues. Hunter and Justin represent tremendous additions to our ‘best-in-class’ team, and I’m thrilled to welcome them to the firm.”

Added Akin Gump public law and policy head Donald Pongrace, “We’re proud to put forward a strong, bipartisan team that excels in its ability to advise clients on any number of issues in Washington that affect their business. Hunter and Justin bring outstanding experience and have sterling reputations throughout Washington. They will be ideal complements to our existing practice, and I am excited to welcome them.”

About Hunter Bates

Mr. Bates began his legal career as an associate at a Washington, D.C. firm and then went to Capitol Hill to serve as counsel and then chief of staff to current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Following his work for Leader McConnell, he built a thriving government relations firm representing a wide range of marquee global companies and trade associations.

Stated Mr. Bates, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to join Washington’s preeminent law and public policy team. Akin Gump has broad respect on both sides of the aisle and has been consistently ranked as the nation’s top lobbying firm. I look forward to integrating my practice into a firm with a truly global platform and the depth of knowledge and experience to handle the most critical legal and policy issues.”

Mr. Bates has repeatedly been named as among Washington’s “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill, including in 2016. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1994, where he was chosen by his classmates to serve as 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., on the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

About Justin J. McCarthy

Mr. McCarthy’s previous experience includes serving as the legislative director for the international trade practice at Mayer Brown, where he worked alongside Akin Gump public law and policy partner Scott Parven. Following that, he served as director of government relations at Pfizer Inc., after which Mr. McCarthy was appointed by President Bush as the Assistant United States Trade Representative for Congressional Affairs. In that role, he worked with Akin Gump partner Brian Pomper, who was the Chief International Trade Counsel to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), then the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee. Following that, Mr. McCarthy served in the Bush administration as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs.

Concerning his move to Akin Gump, Mr. McCarthy commented, “I know of no better platform from which to practice than Akin Gump. In addition to the many strong personal relationships I have with members of the firm, Akin Gump’s reputation as a top-tier firm in Washington for both its policy and regulatory work, and its tremendous talent across many issue areas that are of great concern to my existing clients, made this move very appealing. I could not be more excited to be here.”

Mr. McCarthy received his B.A. from Stonehill College in 1993.

About Akin Gump’s Public Law and Policy Practice

Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice 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.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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