The lawyers that shepherd their clients down the road to the White House do everything from renting office space to vetting television ads to navigating the complex financial regulations that govern campaigns. These attorneys get front-row seats at the conventions, but are they making any money?"I can assure you that I do this for a profit and for a living," says Jan Baran of Wiley Rein, who most recently represented Stephen Colbert in his short-lived presidential run and acted as general counsel for George Bush senior's 1988 campaign. "But it is a lot easier dealing with business clients that recognise the need for counsel, pay for it promptly, and in amounts that would make most politicians blanch."This time around, the lead lawyers for the remaining candidates seem to be doing just fine, thank you. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie, general counsel to the Obama campaign, brought the firm close to $800,000 (£494,000) between January 2007 and July 2008. Trevor Potter of Caplin & Drysdale, general counsel for McCain, has raked in more than $400,000 (£247,000) during the same period. (The McCain campaign has made smaller payments to Bryan Cave, Dickstein Shapiro, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Akerman Senterfitt)."We're talking about a huge amount of money spent on a lot of innovative programming and outreach efforts," Bauer says. "At that level, there is a lot for lawyers to do."Both Bauer and Potter are loyalists. Bauer has worked for Obama since 2004, and his resume is packed with work for Democratic candidates and organisations reaching back through his 30 years of practice. Potter left his old firm, Wiley Rein, in 2001 over conflicts in his defence of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act so he could continue representing the Arizona senator. Both say they have kept up with other clients to a certain degree although, as the election looms, they have devoted themselves fully to the campaign.
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