When Mitt Romney pops into the Washington headquarters of Patton Boggs this week, his visit will be about more than collecting big checks. The presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor will have a chance to solidify his support among the Republican legal establishment.

The Romney campaign is the most aggressive player so far in what could be called the 2012 lawyer primary. The campaign is reaching out to those who held top legal jobs in past administrations and asking them to take on formal advisory duties. And it’s counting on them to validate Romney in the eyes of their peers as the best candidate to take on President Barack Obama.

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