Public Policy and Legislative Affairs
Our team is guided by Partner Jonathan Yarowsky—named a Top Lobbyist by The Hill each year since 2008—who previously served as Special Counsel to the President, General Counsel of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, Vice Chairman of the Joint Presidential/Congressional Antitrust Modernization Commission, and a member of the National Commission on Crime. The team's co-chair is Senior Public Policy Advisor Rob Lehman, who has more than 25 years of experience on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. He previously served as Chief of Staff to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), leading policy and strategic development and the implementation of Senator Portman's legislative priorities, including the introduction of 65 bipartisan bills.
Our group also includes:
- Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, who served as US Trade Representative—the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States—from 1997 to 2001, and as Acting Deputy USTR from 1993 to 1996;
- Reginald Brown, who served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel, where he was the principal legal liaison for the White House to the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, as well as many independent financial services agencies, and served as a counselor for the White House Office of Political Affairs, Presidential Personnel Office and National Economic Council; and who leads the firm's congressional investigations practice;
- Kirsten Donaldson, who was legislative director and counsel in the office of Congressman Jeffries at the US House of Representatives and a legal fellow for the Committee on the Judiciary and the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy;
- Jamie Gorelick, one of the longest-serving Deputy Attorneys General of the United States, the second highest position in the Department of Justice;
- David Ross, a former international trade counsel to the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee and associate general counsel in the Office of the US Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President;
- Ken Salazar, a former US Senator from Colorado, US Secretary of the Interior and State Attorney General;
- Andy Spielman, who served at the US Environmental Protection Agency as acting Associate Director of the Office of Sustainable Ecosystems and Communities and Special Assistant to EPA's Administrator; in the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget; and in the US Senate; and
- Thomas Strickland, who served as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the US Department of the Interior, US Attorney for the District of Colorado, Chief Legal Officer at UnitedHealth Group, and Policy Director for former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm.
In addition to the prior experience noted above, this group is supported by a team of lawyers and public policy professionals with experience that spans more than a dozen federal agencies and includes an Associate White House Counsel; former senior officials from the Department of Justice, including two former Deputy Attorneys General; former heads of the Civil Division, the Office of Legal Counsel and the Office of Legal Policy; more than 20 attorneys with US Attorney's Office experience; a former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury; former SEC Director of Enforcement; former General Counsel of the Defense Department, the Treasury Department, the National Security Council, the FBI, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; numerous lawyers with White House experience; and former staff from key congressional committees, including the appropriations and tax writing committees.
Many of our lawyers have served in senior government positions in Congress. Previous positions include Counsel on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and Committee on Environment and Public Works; Counsel for Crime and Terrorism, Committee on the Judiciary; Chief Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations, Committee on the Judiciary; Counsel to the Committee on Finance Staff; Counsel for the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions in Iran; and Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors and Legislative Assistants to US Senators and Representatives.
WilmerHale has represented clients across a vast range of industries in more than 100 high-stakes congressional situations in recent years. With balanced experience that spans decades on Capitol Hill and in the Clinton and Bush Administrations—and goes back to the earliest days of the firm, when Founding Partner Lloyd Cutler served as an advisor to two US Presidents—we draw from this substantive knowledge to help clients develop and execute integrated strategies to reach their government relations objectives and build successful relationships with key policymakers.
Our success on behalf of our clients is driven by the abiding relationships we have built across all branches of government, the ability to utilize the experience of a full-service law firm, and lawyers with past experience serving as general counsel and on public company boards. As a result of their public service on the Hill and in the Executive Branch, our lawyers have developed key relationships on Capitol Hill, earning a strong reputation as trusted advocates and defenders of public policy interests.
Given our deep experience as former high-ranking government officials and in the private sector, clients seek out our lawyers and public policy professionals to advise them in handling crises, responding to federal and state Executive Branch and congressional investigations and requests, identifying and addressing multi-state and global challenges and opportunities, evaluating and addressing public policy risk, and providing strategic support for proposed business transactions and initiatives.
While we are at home on the Hill, our capabilities extend far beyond it to various government agencies. Our lawyers regularly implement multi-branch strategies in order to help clients achieve their objectives across the government and with relevant policymakers. At times, these goals are reached through a better use of existing law, but other times our clients need guidance on pursuing changes to existing law or introducing new legislation. In some situations where broad-scale legislative action is indicated, our group can strategically develop and manage bipartisan, bicameral campaigns with outreach to multiple committees as well as to House and Senate leadership.
In order to provide coordinated, strategic advice addressing all of our clients' needs, we partner seamlessly with in-house and external service providers—including public relations, communications and other government affairs teams and grassroots and digital/social media organizations. We have the experience to handle all phases of a complex problem, coordinating multiple workstreams including executive or congressional advocacy, regulatory activity and communications.
The team is also well versed in congressional parliamentary procedure and is extremely well equipped to draft new legislation or amendments to alter existing statutes. We work closely with a range of Executive Branch agencies on the implementation of legislation in line with congressional intent. We follow this process from beginning to end, through drafting and implementation, and offer a deep understanding of the most complex legislation.
A wide range of corporations, individuals, and nonprofit and municipal organizations from across sectors turn to WilmerHale for effective solutions to advance their business and industry initiatives. Backed by the firm's comprehensive range of practice areas that are critical to the success of our clients—from mergers and acquisitions to antitrust, tax, trade and beyond—we work with clients to identify, develop and execute strategies to defend or advance a position, or craft and implement legislative or regulatory solutions. Our representation spans the high-tech, IP, financial services, transportation, national security, healthcare and life sciences industries.