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Politics makes strange bedfellows. Inspiration makes things all the stranger. Which is how it came to be on a recent morning that a pair of enterprising young lawyers — Christina E. Daigneault and Chad A. Marlow, both ardent Democrats — had a moment of guilty pleasure in admiring a business slogan touted by a man customarily associated with the other side of the aisle. On that special morning, when he and Daigneault abandoned their world of law and set up shop as New York City’s newest political consultant team, Marlow gazed out a window overlooking the Manhattan Bridge and said, “I never thought I’d be quoting Donald Trump, but he did say one thing: ‘If you’re not completely happy with what you’re doing, you can’t be great.’” In resigning as litigation associates — Daigneault, 30, from Schindler, Cohen & Hochman; Marlow, 33, from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe — the team dares to be great as The Public Policy Advocacy Group. Do they expect to miss the law? “We’ll miss the people,” said Daigneault. “But do I want to practice law for the rest of my life? Life’s too short.” On the other hand, she added, “We wouldn’t be able to do this if not for the law firm experience.” Marlow spoke of the inevitable drawback in leaving behind the comfortable salary of a senior associate. “Life is happiness, not money,” said Marlow. He noted, however, that his new endeavor is a for-profit proposition. “We’re giving up a little in the short run for a lot later.” He added, “There are people in the law who love being there. They’re the winners; they hit the jackpot. Being a corporate litigator was not where my heart was.” Two hearts beat as one in their respective campaign trenches of the Democratic Party. While a political science major at Marymount Manhattan College, Daigneault was president of the campus Democrats. She then worked as an aide to President Bill Clinton and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She also helped manage the 1998 Democratic primary campaign of Evan A. Davis, who lost the New York attorney general nomination to Eliot L. Spitzer. “She is so outgoing and so likeable,” said Davis, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. He said further of his former aide that she embodies what a serious candidate seeks in hiring a consultant. “Someone who’s a quick study on substantive issues,” said Davis. “Substance matters, both in dealing with the Legislature and in dealing with voters. And it’s important to have someone with a good ear for public opinion.” Marlow is a former president of the city’s best-known political club, the Village Independent Democrats. He has worked as an aide to two Massachusetts Democrats, U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank. A few years ago, he organized an annual charity softball tournament among city law firms that has yielded $200,000 so far in donations to the Legal Aid Society. “Chad is one of the most energetic guys I’ve ever come across,” said Michael T. Stolper, an Orrick litigation partner. “When he gets wrapped up in something, like his idea for the softball tournament, he really gets his teeth into it and carries through.” Marlow and Daigneault are now wrapped up in policy research and political advice on behalf of “an elected New York City official” they are obliged to keep nameless for the moment. Additionally, they report preliminary conversations with “a few” corporations interested in retaining them as lobbyists. They acknowledge this as thin pickings for newly minted entrepreneurs responsible for rent on a Wall Street suite. “You have to create your own safety net, but it doesn’t have to be as solid as you think,” said Marlow. “You need enough to keep you going just a little while.” “If you plan carefully for a viable business, which we have, it doesn’t have to overwhelm you,” said Daigneault. “And not having that cushy law firm salary is a very helpful motivator.”

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