Lawyers Rush In to Grab Work From Lobbyists

Having fewer restrictions on lawyers' activities attracts clients
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Apr 21, 2009 10:02 AM CDT
Former Rep. Jon Porter now works for a law firm doing lobbying-style work.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – The Obama White House may have toughened rules on lobbyists, but the bonanza of new spending and regulation ushered in by the new administration has created a gold rush of lobbying opportunities, nonetheless, and law firms are horning in on the action, Politico reports. Staffing up with experts who provide similar services but aren't registered lobbyists, they offer an end run around rules banning lobbyists from meetings.

Law firms can talk to agencies, points out a lawyer at a newly beefed-up firm, and lobbyists can’t. “The focus on more complex issues, including health care and climate change, and the amount of activity going on at regulatory agencies all mitigate toward bigger operations with more technical capabilities.” Those “bigger operations” are a big draw for former elected officials who might ordinarily become lobbyists, including former Sens. John Warner and Gordon Smith.