A group of New York City lobbyists from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has left that firm to join Cozen O’Connor’s lobbying affiliate, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies.
The five-person group, led by Katie Schwab, Rose Christ and Reggie Thomas, represents Manatt’s entire lobbying practice, Schwab said, though the firm still has a government transactions group. According to City and State New York, Manatt was among the top 10 New York City lobbying firms for 2017, coming in at ninth with compensation of more than $2.6 million.
The Manatt lobbyists work with nonprofit and cultural institutions that are building and expanding facilities, Schwab said, and they work with a trade organization of affordable housing developers. Those clients in particular will likely benefit from Cozen O’Connor’s real estate and land use practices, she said.
While she expects the firm’s legal resources to be helpful in their public strategies work, she said, her group is also looking forward to joining a dedicated part of the business.
“In our former firm we were within a large law firm,” rather than part of an ancillary business, Schwab said. “The fact that here the subject matter has been so well-defined and emphasized as a value-driver for the firm is really important to us.”
Cozen O’Connor CEO Michael Heller also noted that the firm’s existing land use and zoning practice is politically connected, and the public strategies arm is well known in political circles in New York. With the addition of this group, he noted, Cozen O’Connor will have one of the top lobbying practices in New York City. Schwab said her group’s work does not overlap with Public Strategies’ existing practice, so it will be additive.
“It’s very consistent with our strategic plan of continuing to build our business, not just our legal business but also our ancillary businesses,” Heller said, and “consistent with our growth strategy to build the public strategies business in multiple geographies.”
The Manatt lobbyists are the latest in a string of additions at Cozen O’Connor. The firm’s most recent growth has been in California, where it brought on a labor and employment lawyer from Jackson Lewis in San Diego, and acquired all the attorneys from a 10-lawyer firm in Santa Monica.
Cozen O’Connor now has six public strategies professionals in New York City. Public Strategies, based in Washington, D.C., also has a presence in Albany, with one lobbyist and of counsel there full time, and another who splits his time between Albany and New York.
Manatt did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.