As Patton Boggs looks to rebound from a poor financial showing in 2012, the Washington-based law firm will have to make do without $780,000 annually from Ecuador.
The firm has stopped lobbying for the country, according to a Foreign Agents Registration Act report the firm filed Friday with the U.S. Justice Department. Ecuador in 2009 hired Patton Boggs to "improve its reputational image and bilateral relations with the United States" under a $780,000-per-year contract, Justice Department records show.
Paperwork the firm submitted to the Justice Department doesn't explain why the lobbying ended. Patton Boggs spokesman Elliott Frieder declined to comment.
The termination report came one day after Ecuador government spokesman Fernando Alvarado said, according to Reuters, that the country unilaterally pulled out of a trade preference system with the United States in response to U.S. pressure over National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who applied for asylum in the nation.
Renewal of the Andean Trade Preference Act, which is slated to expire July 31, was a key focus of the Patton Boggs lobbying team, according to the firm's most recent semiannual report on foreign lobbying.
Patton Boggs partners Edward Newberry, Frank Samolis and Robert Kapla, as well as associates Mara Giorgio and Karen Kudelko, handled the Ecuador account. Newberry is the managing partner of Patton Boggs.
The firm's termination disclosure also came on the heels of news last week that more than a dozen partners in Washington, Dallas and Denver have left the firm. Some of the partners have landed at Holland & Knight, Thompson Hine, King & Spalding and Jackson Lewis.
The partner departures followed a Patton Boggs announcement in March that the firm laid off 30 lawyers and 35 other employees. About 18 partners were told that their "performance here isn’t satisfactory" and should leave before the end of the year if their work doesn’t improve, Newberry said in an interview at the time.
In 2012, revenue per lawyer and profits per partner fell 5.1 percent to $655,000 and 14.9 percent to $736,000, respectively. Gross revenue dropped 6.3 percent to $317.5 million.
As Patton Boggs grapples with its financial woes, the firm also is battling Chevron Corp. over claims the law firm committed fraud by trying to enforce a $19 billion judgment in Ecuador against the oil giant. Patton Boggs represented a group of Ecuadorian plaintiffs who sought environmental and health damages from oil drilling in the country. Patton Boggs has denied in court papers that the firm committed any wrongdoing in the pursuit of the judgment.
The firm hasn't mentioned any advocacy work related to the Chevron case in its foreign lobbying filings to the Justice Department.