in fees from public relations, legislative monitoring activity and grass-roots advocacy. It also highlighted that law firms made a lot more than non-law firms in revenue growth. As a whole, revenue rose by 11 percent. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld tops the list with $89.8 million in lobbying income. It is closely followed by Patton Boggs which made $89.3 million. The Influence outlines a new trend in the earnings of lobbying firms. They increased their revenues thanks to activities other than legislative lobbying. Patton Boggs, for instance, drew half of its gross revenue increase – roughly $9.1 million – from less traditional lobbying work. That “other related work” category accounted for a third of the gross revenue made by the Influence 50. It is also the fastest source of revenue. Hence the fact that firms now more and more look forward to it. It has not always been that rosy. In fact, many big law firms witnessed small gains in 2006 or even a decline in the case of Patton Boggs. The reason behind this change is that the various lobbying scandals have tainted the reputation of non- law firms. Clients now have a preference for hiring law firms because they have a reputation for professional ethics. Firms are also catching clients’ attention since they are able to handle complicated policy and regulatory work.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Hogan & Hartson
Holland & Knight
Covington & Burling
In January 2006, Republicans promised to introduce sweeping changes so as to clean up lobbying practices in Congress. This decision came after Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist, was found guilty of federal corruption. Dennis Hastert, a Republican from Illinois and Speaker of the House at the time, said gifts, meals and travels paid for special interests would not be allowed anymore. The ban on privately funded trips was also a consequence of Abramoff’s behavior. He notably arranged golf outings for members of Congress. As for the ban on gifts and meals, Hastert said lawmakers and their aides may only accept gifts worth up to $50, with an annual limit of $100 for meals and gifts coming from any one source. Hastert believed that “to regain the trust of American people in [Congress], [it] must go further than just prosecuting the bad actors”. Likewise, Rick Santorum, a Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, was asked to draft a proposal
The Influence 50: Lobby shops and law firms with the highest revenues from lobbying work in 2007
Table 3. Source: the Center for Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, August 6, 2008.