US law firms reap the rewards of lobbying work as five reach top 20

Lobbying work earned top US law firms $107.15m (£54.52m) in 2006, according to a study by the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), a Washington DC-based non-partisan think-tank.

Five law firms made the rankings of the top 20 lobbying earners among groups that work exclusively in government affairs and lobbying: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, DLA Piper, Hogan & Hartson, K&L Gates and Patton Boggs.

For the fourth year in a row Patton Boggs topped the chart, earning $34.69m (£17.65m) from lobbying work. This was slightly down, however, on 2005, when it earned $36.33m (£18.49m) from lobbying. As a share of its overall revenue, this represented 16 per cent.

According to research by the CRP, Patton Boggs’ most lucrative client in 2006 was confectioner Mars, which paid the firm $2.32m (£1.18m). The firm also received $920,000 (£468,100) from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Generally, 2006 was the best year ever for lobbyists, despite the $2.44bn (£1.24bn) industry coming under the spotlight after the conviction of former Greenberg Traurig partner and lobbyist Jack Abramoff for corruption. As a result, gifts and lunches from lobbyists to politicians have been banned.

Akin Gump came in third place overall, billing $25.82m (£13.14m). Its top client was Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, from which the firm earned $960,000 (£488,500) in 2006. Hogan finished third among the law firms, with $17.28m (£8.79m), and DLA Piper earned $16.48m (£8.39m) from lobbying.