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WASHINGTON � Greenberg Traurig’s newest lobby client is a mortgage lending operation called Self Help. It’s a far cry from the likes of Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, and Tyco � marquee names that the firm counted as clients as recently as 14 months ago. But perhaps it’s an apt place to start for a lobby shop that is still struggling to rebuild after the scandal over Jack Abramoff’s departure in March 2004. By now the story is familiar. In the months after Abramoff’s departure, Greenberg’s D.C. lobby practice suffered a precipitous decline. Revenues plummeted by $14 million. Ten lobbyists, including nearly all the members of the so-called Team Abramoff, either left the firm or were dismissed. And clients fled in droves. By the end of 2004, 64 of the 107 federal lobbying clients that Greenberg had been flying high with the year before had ditched the firm, according to Senate lobby disclosure filings. Since then, the firm has been trying to restore its scandal-tarnished reputation, but with only limited success. And 18 months after Abramoff’s fall, the rebuilding effort is far from complete. Greenberg declined to make any of its lobbyists available for interview for this article. But Fred Baggett, the Tallahassee, Fla.-based chair of Greenberg’s lobby practice, wrote in an e-mail to Recorder affiliate Influence that the firm sees reconstituting its Washington office as a long-term project that’s proceeding apace. “We continue to have an active governmental affairs practice in Washington, DC, despite the inevitable transition over the past year and a half,” he wrote. “We’re committed to this for the long term.” In the past 18 months, Greenberg’s D.C. office has hired 10 new lobbyists and added 43 new clients to its roster. But the addition of what would normally be an impressive number of new clients looks less so in the face of the revenue decline spurred by the loss of 64. And while Baggett freely admits to being in a rebuilding mode, he’s been preaching the same line ever since Abramoff’s departure. In an interview with Influence in March 2004, Baggett named Kevin Ring, Michael Smith, Gary Shiffman and Michael Williams as “future leaders or current leaders of the practice.” Today only Williams remains. Ronald Platt, a former senior lobbyist at the firm who did not work directly with Abramoff, left in August 2004 to head Buchanan Ingersoll’s lobby shop. He says the damage done to Greenberg by Abramoff was extensive. “Because of the scandal, clients became very concerned about the situation,” Platt recalls. “You were getting stories in the [Washington] Post, in Influence, all over the media. I was hearing from my clients . . . that either I [should] leave and they would leave with me, or they were going to leave without me.” He adds: “Most [lobbyists] left not because they didn’t like the firm but because of business pressure from [clients].” Big-dollar clients such as Campbell’s Soup Co. and Sportingbet followed Platt to Buchanan Ingersoll. Other Abramoff-era Greenberg clients are spread out among the firms that have absorbed the Greenberg diaspora, most notably Cassidy & Associates and Barnes & Thornburg, which collectively employ five ex-Greenberg lobbyists. But not all of Greenberg’s clients jumped ship. Unisys Corp., a firm client dating back more than a decade � well before Abramoff’s arrival � remains a satisfied customer. David Pingree, Unisys’ vice president of government relations, says he’s happy with the changes he’s seen at Greenberg. When Neil Volz, the former lead lobbyist on Unisys’ account, left for Barnes & Thornburg, Pingree says that Greenberg replaced him with two people he rates very highly. “As far as agency contacts, I think [new additions] Karl [Reichelt] and Bethany [Noble] are stronger,” Pingree notes. As for the Abramoff scandal, Pingree says it’s water under the bridge. “As long as they terminated the relationship [with Abramoff], that was my principal concern,” Pingree says. “We review our relationships every year, and we extended our contract six months ago.” Andy Metzger is a reporter for Influence, a Recorder affiliate based in Washington, D.C.

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