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Sure, the usual suspects are on top again this year, but big deal. The lobbying earnings of perennial heavy hitters such as Patton Boggs, Hogan & Hartson, and DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary were all predictably steady in 2005 and not so newsworthy. The real action was with relative newcomers McKenna Long & Aldridge and Buchanan Ingersoll, both of which made a splashy debut on this year’s Influence Top 50 list. Combined, the firms earned more than $17 million in 2005, a surprising improvement considering that in 2004 both firms’ lobby filings were nearly nonexistent. And the growth in business of the two hometown firms was fueled largely by hometown clients � most significantly, the Department of Homeland Security. McKenna, the product of a 2002 merger between Atlanta-based Long Aldridge & Norman and D.C.-based McKenna & Cuneo, began capturing large chunks of the homeland security, bio defense, and technology markets last year, registering with the Senate to lobby for a handful of clients, including Emergent Biosolutions Inc. and EMD Pharmaceuticals. The firm grossed $10.3 million last year. Eric Tanenblatt, who heads McKenna’s government affairs practice, says the firm’s growth spurt last year was largely fueled by some high-profile hires. Powell Moore, former assistant defense secretary for legislative affairs under Donald Rumsfeld, came on board January 2005, as did the retired Democratic firebrand Sen. Zell Miller (Ga.). Jason Klitenic, the former deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security, also signed on with McKenna. (Klitenic is prohibited from representing firm clients before his old department but may still advise them on related issues.) And the addition, in November, of Douglas Farry, a former senior policy adviser to ex-House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), has also been a boon, says Tanenblatt. Farry, who is managing director of the firm’s government affairs practice and is based in San Diego, has extensive ties to the tech community. Tanenblatt, a former chief of staff to Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue (Ga.), says that McKenna has been in a high-growth mode since September 2004. That’s when Joseph Dowley, a former chief counsel to the House Ways & Means Committee during the 1980s, joined the firm, bringing in a bevy of big clients from his previous practice. Tanenblatt says his firm also spent a considerable amount of last year beefing up its presence in California and Colorado, doing regulatory work and scouting procurement opportunities for clients eager to sell their services to the government. Buchanan Ingersoll is working to be a homeland security player too, though the bulk of its 2005 work dealt with appropriations, says Ronald Platt, the firm’s government affairs director. That was the case with AVID Identification Systems, a company that manufactures microchips for pet identification. Platt and his team successfully defeated a rider in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which would have mandated a single standard frequency for microchips used for pet identification. “To go to a different frequency than where the scanners [in the United States currently are] . . . you’d have to replace all the scanners in every vet and shelter in the U.S.,” says Platt. “So we knocked it out in the Senate and basically in the conference, as well.” Buchanan also did work for Metrix Technologies Inc., on government management issues within the Department of Homeland Security, and Transformational Defense Industries, a defense contractor, while maintaining a bevy of Pennsylvania clients, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. With its recent acquisition of the Pennsylvania lobby firm Hill Solutions, 2006 also looks strong for Buchanan, which grossed $7.2 million last year. But the quick departure of Hill Solutions’ top dogs, Jack Tomarchio, who left less than a month after the merger, and Jonathan Duecker, could hurt the firm’s revenues, though at least one Republican lobbyist with ties to Pennsylvania spins their leaving as a net plus for the firm. David Urban of American Continental Group notes that both men landed plum jobs: Tomarchio became deputy director of intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security; Duecker is now assistant commissioner for counterterrorism in New York City. “They are very well placed in high-ranking [positions],” says Urban. “It’s extremely positive for the firm. . . . Folks who work there are really subject-matter experts.” Buchanan did retain Eric Weinberg and Mark Lenker from Hill Solutions. Weinberg is now co-chair of the firm’s government relations and national security practice group, and Lenker is an assistant director of government relations. The firm also picked up some notable Democrats, including William Gray, a former House member and majority whip from Pennsylvania during the 1980s, and Gray’s son, Justin, who was named director of the firm’s federal government relations practice. Buchanan is adding more talent in ’06, having recently snatched up Republican Terry Haines, the former chief counsel and staff director of the House Financial Services Committee. And Platt, a Democrat, says he’s continuing to work to create a bipartisan practice. The firm spent so much time recruiting last year that Platt says many times he felt more like a college football coach than a K Street lobbyist. “I turned to my assistant in November and said, �I think I did an hour and a half of work for my clients [this year],’ ” he says.
Joe Crea can be contacted at [email protected].
TOP LAW FIRMSLobbying practices at law firms that earned more than $7 million in 2005
Firm (2004 Rank) 2005 Revenue
1 Patton Boggs (1) $75.7 M
2 Akin Gump (2) $66.9 M
3 Hogan & Hartson (3) $60.3 M
4 DLA Piper Rudnick (4) $44.1 M
5 Hunton & Williams (5) $31.9 M
6 Holland & Knight (7) $30.4 M
7 Covington & Burling (6) $29.3 M
8 Preston Gates (10) $23 M
9 Bingham McCutchen (8) $20.4 M
10 Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal (14) $18.8 M
11 Greenberg Traurig (8) $18.4 M
12 Williams & Jensen (12) $17.5 M
13 Arent Fox (13) $15.8 M
14 Venable (15) $14.1 M
15 Sidley Austin (16) $12.4 M
16 Dickstein Shapiro (18) $11 M
17 McKenna Long & Aldridge (-) $10.3 M
18 Bracewell & Giuliani (22) $9.3 M
19 Mayer, Brown (11) $8.7 M
20 Loeffler Group (17) $8 M
21 Capitol Tax Partners (23) $7.5 M
22 Buchanan Ingersoll (-) $7.2 M
To qualify for the list, firms must have had more than $2 million in Lobbying Disclosure Act filings during 2005 and $7 million or more in overall lobbying fees.

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