Squire Sanders, which is voting on a merger with Patton Boggs, isn’t the only Am Law 100 firm putting a premium on public policy.
Edwards Wildman Palmer, formed through a late 2011 merger, has picked up four lobbyists from Boston-based public policy and consulting firm Smith, Ruddock & Hayes to launch its own government relations and public policy practice. The move roughly doubles the size of Edwards Wildman’s lobbying group in Washington, D.C.
“We’re looking forward to coming over and setting up our group at Edwards Wildman,” says R. Emmet Hayes, a former Massachusetts state legislator who will serve as president of the new Edwards Wildman Public Policy Group LLC (EWPPG), a separate but wholly owned subsidiary of the firm.
Hayes says that he has known Edwards Wildman’s public policy and government relations chair Gerald “Jed” Hendrick for years and that the two have worked together on various matters in the past. Discussions between the two got serious earlier this year, and on June 2, Hayes and three attorneys from his former firm will officially make the move to 540-lawyer Edwards Wildman.
Joining Edwards Wildman with Hayes, who is not a lawyer, are Daniel Cahill, Louis Rizoli and Robert Ruddock. Ruddock will be a senior vice president at EWPPG, while Rizoli and Cahill will serve as vice presidents. Smith Ruddock cofounder James Smith, partner James Segel and of counsel David Tibbetts are staying behind and will practice under a new firm name. (Smith Ruddock lost legendary Boston lawyer Herbert Gleason when he passed away in December.)
Hayes cites Boston-based trade group the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) and for-profit higher education institution the University of Phoenix as two clients he expects to follow his group to Edwards Wildman. The University of Phoenix paid Smith Ruddock $58,000 in 2013, according to public records on file with the commonwealth of Massachusetts. AIM paid the firm $24,000.
Ruddock, an energy expert and former general counsel at AIM, saw his total lobbying fees in the Bay State hit $151,750 last year, while Hayes generated $208,650, according to public records. Cahill and Rizoli took in $35,000 and $30,750, respectively, for their lobbying efforts. (Smith, who is not joining Edwards Wildman, billed $181,050 last year; there are no records for Segel, who is not a lobbyist, but a former of counsel at old-line Boston firm Hale and Dorr and one-time special counsel to retired congressman Barney Frank.)
Smith Ruddock’s other clients in 2013 included drugmakers Allergan ($42,000) and Genentech ($12,000); Bay State Hydropower Association ($35,000); Buddy Real Estate LLC ($40,000); Dominion Resources ($20,000); the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe ($105,500); the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association ($45,000); the National Electrical Contractors Association of Greater Boston ($55,000); PowerOptions ($40,000); Sojitz Corp. of America ($80,000); Steward Health Care ($120,000); TransCanada Hydro Northeast ($56,000); and the Western Massachusetts Industrial Group ($43,000).
Hayes says that energy, health care and transportation are among the industries that rely on lobbyists the most in Massachusetts. Public records show that of Edwards Wildman’s two publicly registered lobbying clients in Massachusetts, one was private equity-owned Steward Health Care, which operates 11 hospitals throughout the state. (Steward paid Edwards Wildman $243,114 last year to lobby on health care legislation and other public policy matters.)
“We were looking for a compatible group to augment what we already have,” says Jed Hendrick, the past partner-in-charge of Edwards Wildman’s Boston office, when asked what prompted his firm to recruit the new arrivals from Smith Ruddock’s ranks.
Edwards Wildman’s federal lobbying revenues in 2013 were roughly $310,000, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The firm’s key clients—which had paid Edwards Wildman about $55,000 through this year’s first quarter—include CenturyLink, Steward, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and Time Warner Cable, the latter of which hired the firm last October.
Edwards Wildman turned in a lackluster financial performance in 2013. The firm’s gross revenue slipped 9.4 percent, to $311.5 million, while its profits per partner were essentially flat at $680,000, according to The American Lawyer’s most recent Am Law 100 reporting. Edwards Wildman also confirmed in April that it would eliminate 42 administrative jobs and 10 lawyer positions. And like many other Am Law 100 firms, Edwards Wildman has experienced its fair share of lateral activity in 2014.
Labor and employment cochair Timothy Van Dyck left the firm’s Boston office this month for Boston-based Bowditch & Dewey in a move that coincided with life sciences cochair Nathaniel Gardiner’s departure to Watertown, Mass.-based Enanta Pharmaceuticals, where he will serve as general counsel. (Gardiner advised on a $56 million initial public offering by Enanta last year that generated $2.1 million in legal fees and expenses, according to an SEC filing at the time.)
Barnes & Thornburg announced Wednesday that it had hired Edwards Wildman corporate partner Jeffrey Gray in Chicago. Gray’s move followed the defection of other Edwards Wildman partners earlier this year to firms such as Blank Rome, Foley & Lardner, Fox Rothschild and Jones Day.
In March, a trio of former Edwards Wildman partners left the firm’s Providence office to launch their own estate-planning boutique, while gaming practice cochair Jesse Brody left the firm’s Los Angeles office that month to join Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.