Patton Boggs tops the charts as lobbying firms see bumper year

The lobbying arms of US law firms reported a storming 2004, despite depleted congressional activity in the election year.

According to figures published by lobbying publication Influence, lobbying activity contributed $420m (£221m) to the 13 law firms with the largest presence in the area. Lobbying is defined as activity directed at Congress and certain members of the Federal Executive.

The lobbying practice at government specialist firm Patton Boggs reported revenues of £65.8m (£34.6m), up from $58m (£30.5m) in 2003. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld was knocked into second place in the tables with turnover rising 8 per cent to $64.2m (£33.8m). Washington DC giant Hogan & Hartson, which represents the Japanese government, reported a 16 per cent increase in lobbying revenues, with turnover from lobbying activity hitting $51.6m (£27.2m).

Meanwhile, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw’s 18-person lobbying group saw revenues soar 131 per cent to $18m (£9.5m).

Lobbying revenues at Miami-based firm Greenberg Traurig fell sharply after the departure of disgraced star lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff was ousted from the firm last year after becoming embroiled in a scandal surrounding multimillion dollar payments received from Indian tribes seeking to lobby congress for the reopening of their casinos.

DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary and New York’s Swidler Berlin also saw revenues dip.

Signs are emerging that lobbying on behalf of foreign clients – whether governments or private sector bodies – is growing. The foreign lobbying practice of Patton Boggs doubled in size, accounting for $6.4m (£3.4m) in turnover. The firm, which represents a number of foreign governments particularly in the Middle East, established a Qatar office to service the authorities there. However, John Jonas of Patton Boggs said the bulk of foreign lobbying work was inbound.

In the UK, DLA Piper, through its government affairs and media relations practice DLA Upstream, is the only major firm with a significant domestic lobbying practice.

Law firms with highest lobbying revenues 2004

Firm   2004 gross ($m) 2004 gross (£m) +/- (%)
1 Patton Boggs 65.8 34.6 +13
2 Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld 64.2 33.8 +8
3 Hogan & Hartson 51.6 27.2 +16
4 DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary 42.4 22.3 -3
5 Cassidy & Associates * 28.9 15.2 +1
6 Van Scoyoc Associates * 25.7 13.5 +15
7 Hunton & Williams 25.0 13.2 +16
8 Dutko Worldwide 23.8 12.5 +27
9 Covington & Burling 23.4 12.3 +4
10 Holland & Knight 23.0 12.1 +21
11= Swidler Berlin 22.2 11.7 -1
11= Greenberg Traurig 22.2 11.7 -33
13 Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds 21.4 11.3 +14
14 Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw 18.0 9.5 +131
15 Williams & Jensen 17.0 8.9 -16
* Professional lobbying organisations not law firms Source: Influence