28 October 2004 LAWFUEL – Law, legal, attorney, law firm news Piper Rudnick LLP, a leading national law firm with one of Washington’s premier federal affairs practices, today announced the formation of a State Affairs Practice Group to provide clients with the same level of effective advocacy before decision makers in the state capitals as it provides in the nation’s capital.
The co-chairs of the new practice group are James J. Blanchard, a former Governor of Michigan and U.S. Ambassador to Canada; and Paul A. Tiburzi, managing partner of the firm’s Baltimore office and leader of the firm’s longstanding and well regarded Maryland State Affairs group, which is based in Baltimore and Annapolis.
“The states are increasingly at the forefront of developing national public policy and the regulation of business practices, particularly in the consumer sectors. We are moving ahead of this trend,” said Thomas F. O’Neil III, Chair of the firm’s Government Affairs Practice Group.
“Our clients are often drawn into the debate at the state level, or seek to drive it,” O’Neil continued. “With 13 offices across the country, from California to Massachusetts, Piper Rudnick has the presence and the reach to help our clients navigate through the increasingly complex legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities they face at the state level.”
Piper Rudnick’s move comes at a time when state leaders – governors, attorneys general, legislators and other officials – are asserting ever greater influence on a broad range of issues relating to financial services, the environment, health care, labor, privacy, public safety and law enforcement.
Currently, more than 125 firm professionals are engaged in State Affairs matters in more than 30 practice areas. The issues involved range from land use and zoning, to financial services to transportation issues.
The expansion of the Government Affairs practice into the state government policy arena is an extension of the firm’s commitment to provide clients with an integrated approach to problem-solving, accessing the firm’s extensive bipartisan working relationships with the National Governors Association (NGA) and associations representing state attorneys general, legislators and other key state officials. These efforts are closely linked with the other broad capabilities of the firm in regulatory oversight, administrative agency action, litigation, tax matters and other areas of law.
“Our goal in forming the State Affairs Practice Group is to build upon our successful work at the federal level and in state capitals to provide our clients with a comprehensive approach for addressing their government affairs needs,” Blanchard said.
“Since we already know our clients and their issues, we can step right in to provide effective advocacy on issues at the state level, without the learning curve involved in bringing in a new and untested team,” Blanchard added. “Beyond the strong contacts we have at the state level, we have a proven ability to think through and implement winning strategies that fit in with our clients’ overall goals.
“We also closely monitor developments in the political and policy arenas for potential impacts, providing an early-warning system on developing state issues,” Blanchard continued. “As we have done at the federal level, our State Practice Group seeks to go beyond traditional advocacy, offering creative political and media outreach, grassroots campaigns, public education projects and coalition-building among constituent interest groups.”
Tiburzi noted that many of the clients for whom the firm is currently working on national or international issues must also contend with issues in states where they have important facilities or significant markets, or where they are trying to establish themselves.
“In expanding our ongoing efforts at the state level into a major new practice group, we are guided by the same principle that has always informed our work: to solve our clients’ problems by persuasively communicating our clients’ concerns and views to the relevant decision makers,” Tiburzi said.
O’Neil noted that firm lawyers and principals are currently representing clients on numerous matters involving interactions with state and local governments. For example, lawyers in the firm’s Baltimore and Annapolis offices have for many years represented clients before the Maryland General Assembly, state executive branch agencies and officials, local governments, and in regulatory and administrative law proceedings before state administrative agencies, as well as counseling clients on state procurement law issues, the state public ethics law and the state and federal election laws.
“Leveraging the expertise and experience of the firm’s partners and other professionals who have held senior elected, appointed or staff positions in various state governments, the new practice group is expanding those efforts into a state-level lobbying and regulatory team that is truly national in scope,” O’Neil said. “A dynamic group, guided by the hands-on experience of former officials and public policy experts, the State Affairs Practice Group provides our clients with strategic solutions to a wide range of issues at the state level.”
Among the key professionals at Piper Rudnick with state and local government experience are: Charles A. Baker III, of the firm’s Boston office, who has held a senior post in every Democratic presidential campaign since 1988; Carville B. Collins, Baltimore and Annapolis offices, counsel to numerous state and federal campaigns, candidates and office holders in Maryland; Robert C. Douglas, Baltimore and Annapolis offices, Press Secretary and Director of Communications for former Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer; Rosemary B. Freeman, Washington, DC, office, served as deputy director for the state of Michigan’s Washington office under Governor Blanchard; Governor Blanchard’s representative to the National Governors’ Association; member of the executive committee of the Council of Great Lakes Governors; Theodore J. Novak, Chicago office, one of the country’s most highly regarded land use and development attorneys, ranked by leading national and international legal publishers as among the top lawyers in his profession, teacher, author, and the only member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers in the Midwest who concentrates on land use, zoning, and condemnation matters.
About Piper Rudnick LLP
In October 2004, Piper Rudnick and West Coast-based Gray Carey agreed to a merger that becomes effective January 1, 2005, creating a new firm with added capabilities to address the needs of public and private companies. Piper Rudnick Gray Carey will be a business law firm of more than 1,300 lawyers with powerful offices in key locations on the East and West Coasts and across the country, as well as a European office in Paris. The merger adds Gray Carey’s noted strengths in technology and life sciences to Piper Rudnick’s top real estate, business, litigation, and government affairs practices.
Corporate and Securities/Mergers and Acquisitions – A leading corporate finance practice with more than 250 attorneys. Based on completed deals, the merged firm would rank second in the country for “Completed U.S. M&A transactions” in the Thomson Financial tables.
Litigation – The combined firm creates a litigation group with more than 550 attorneys nationwide working on patent, securities, trade regulation, commercial, product liability, class action, white collar, financial services/insurance, and other litigation.
Real Estate – With Piper Rudnick already widely recognized as the nation’s preeminent real estate law firm, the addition of 30 Gray Cary attorneys focusing in this area gives the combined firm more than 200 attorneys who focus on real estate.
Intellectual Property – The merged firm will have nearly 200 attorneys heavily focused on IP matters, including patents, copyrights and trademarks, media, and advertising; more than 60 attorneys focusing on patent and trademark prosecution; 60 attorneys with copyright law experience; and nearly 80 patent litigators.
Government Affairs – Building on Piper Rudnick’s position as one of the top government affairs firms in the U.S., the merged firm will have more than 180 attorneys in the Washington, D.C., office, including former Senator George Mitchell, Congressman Dick Armey, Governor James Blanchard, and a host of other political leaders. The office, the firm’s second largest, hosts such sophisticated practices as antitrust, communications, environmental, international trade, government controversies, legislative, government contracts, and electronic commerce and privacy.
These core practice areas embrace other boundary-crossing disciplines, such as bankruptcy, employee benefits, tax, labor and employment, health care, insurance, public finance, and estate planning.