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Tommy Boggs
©2014 Richard A. Bloom
Mike Magner
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Mike Magner
June 18, 2014, 4 p.m.

Tommy Boggs

As he be­gins to wind down a half-cen­tury ca­reer as one of Wash­ing­ton’s pree­m­in­ent lob­by­ists, Tommy Boggs sees signs that his pro­fes­sion is com­ing full circle.

Tommy Boggs (Richard A. Bloom)Back in the 1960s, Boggs — son of the late Lindy Boggs, who rep­res­en­ted Louisi­ana in the House for 18 years, and vet­er­an Rep. Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., who served a term as House ma­jor­ity lead­er be­fore he dis­ap­peared in a 1972 plane crash in Alaska — was a staffer on Cap­it­ol Hill, an aide in the John­son White House, and then a rook­ie law­yer in what would be­come the for­mid­able firm of Pat­ton Boggs. It was dur­ing this time that he real­ized there were only a few dozen true power play­ers in the cap­it­al. “When I star­ted in this game, lob­by­ing was ba­sic­ally re­la­tion­ships,” says Boggs, now 73, seated in his M Street of­fice over­look­ing Geor­getown. “And you didn’t have to have a lot of re­la­tion­ships, be­cause not many people ran the gov­ern­ment.”

Things star­ted to change after Wa­ter­gate, when the White House turned in­ward, and more people in the le­gis­lat­ive and ex­ec­ut­ive branches ex­ten­ded their reach. “And, of course,” he says, “Con­gress, in­stead of be­ing run by a hand­ful of people, is run by 535 people.”

“The res­ult be­ing that lit­er­ally in the early ‘70s, you needed — pick your num­ber — 100 lob­by­ists to lobby 25 people, be­cause 25 people ran the gov­ern­ment,” he con­tin­ues. “Today you need how many lob­by­ists to lobby 10,000 people? “¦ Now there are 100,000 people in the in­flu­ence busi­ness. Dir­ect lob­by­ists — you prob­ably have 13,000 to 14,000.”

And yet, with the growth of grass­roots lob­by­ing ef­forts that aim to mo­bil­ize av­er­age Amer­ic­ans — and the res­ult­ing pres­sure on law­makers from email blitzes, blog­gers, and so­cial me­dia — Boggs sees per­son­al re­la­tion­ships in Wash­ing­ton re­turn­ing to the fore. “Be­cause if I get 10,000 emails on a sub­ject and I’m the chief of staff to some­body, I’ve got to have some­body I can call that I have some re­la­tion­ship of trust [with] and say, ‘What does this all mean?’ It’s kind of com­ing back to where re­la­tion­ships are very im­port­ant.”

Boggs is cur­rently fa­cing one of the biggest chal­lenges of his life’s work: man­aging the mer­ger of Pat­ton Boggs with Squire Sanders, a Clev­e­land-based firm with a large in­ter­na­tion­al pres­ence. The new Squire Pat­ton Boggs will be headquartered in Wash­ing­ton, with Boggs as chair­man emer­it­us help­ing to over­see a staff of more than 1,700. “The mer­ger gives us a plat­form around the world — loc­a­tions in 40 cit­ies, half over­seas,” he says. “It’s a much bet­ter plat­form for us.”

When the mer­ger was ap­proved in May, there were re­ports that it was fueled by a 6.5 per­cent de­cline in rev­en­ues for Pat­ton Boggs, to around $317 mil­lion in 2012. The firm has taken some big fin­an­cial hits in re­cent years — in­clud­ing a $15 mil­lion set­tle­ment with Chev­ron this spring over a case in Ecuador that went sour, and the sud­den end to lit­ig­a­tion by Septem­ber 11 World Trade Cen­ter first re­spon­ders when Con­gress set up a com­pens­a­tion fund for those suf­fer­ing health prob­lems. The firm had been rep­res­ent­ing New York City in the case, a cli­ent that was pay­ing $40 mil­lion to $50 mil­lion a year in leg­al fees, ac­cord­ing to Boggs.

But he says the main reas­on for the mer­ger is that his firm real­ized more than a year ago that it needed a stronger West Coast pres­ence to serve its Middle East cli­ents, who are in­vest­ing more in Cali­for­nia and oth­er West­ern states. “We knew we needed a big­ger foot­print,” he says. As for his own fu­ture, Boggs says he isn’t ready to re­tire just yet, but after the mer­ger is com­pleted in the next year or two, “then maybe I might slow down.”

 

Ad­vocacy Groups 

Laura Trivers

Amer­ic­an Farm­land Trust

Laura Trivers (Richard A. Bloom)Fresh out of Duke Uni­versity in 1989, Laura Trivers of Ten­ness­ee came to Wash­ing­ton without a job and began knock­ing on doors on Cap­it­ol Hill. “A week later, I was Al Gore’s deputy press sec­ret­ary,” she says, re­fer­ring to the then-sen­at­or from her home state. Trivers worked for Gore for two years, did a stint for a House mem­ber, and then re­joined Gore’s staff when he was vice pres­id­ent. “I wrote the daily brief­ing book,” she says. Later she worked at the Ag­ri­cul­ture De­part­ment, first on food and nu­tri­tion is­sues and then as deputy press sec­ret­ary to Sec­ret­ary Dan Glick­man. Trivers, now 47, left the work­ing world in 1999 to stay home with her two young chil­dren for sev­en years. After a re­turn to food and ag­ri­cul­ture is­sues as a part-time con­sult­ant, she re­sumed a full-time ca­reer last month, join­ing the Amer­ic­an Farm­land Trust as dir­ect­or of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions.

 

At the Bar 

Alan Lieber­man

Blank Rome

Alan Lieber­man (Chet Suss­lin)Born and raised on the Jer­sey Shore, Alan Lieber­man, 67, had pretty much done it all in the leg­al pro­fes­sion be­fore join­ing the Se­cur­it­ies and Ex­change Com­mis­sion staff in 2004. He was a judge’s clerk in Phil­adelphia, an as­sist­ant U.S. at­tor­ney in Pennsylvania, and a part­ner in two big law firms, Schnader Har­ris­on and Blank Rome. At the SEC, he was tri­al coun­sel and in­vest­ig­at­or on nu­mer­ous cases sprinkled throughout a 10-year ten­ure that was high­lighted by the pro­sec­u­tion of fraud king Bernie Madoff. “There’s been a real sea change at the SEC as a res­ult of him,” Lieber­man says. “I had a ter­rif­ic ex­per­i­ence at the SEC. It’s not an easy space they oc­cupy.” Last month, Lieber­man re­turned to Blank Rome, this time as a part­ner in the firm’s cor­por­ate-lit­ig­a­tion group. “When the SEC comes call­ing, I want the first call to be to Blank Rome and me,” he says.

 

Trade As­so­ci­ations 

Eva Hampl

U.S. Coun­cil for In­ter­na­tion­al Busi­ness

Eva Hampl (Richard A. Bloom)The United States Coun­cil for In­ter­na­tion­al Busi­ness is headquartered in New York City to be near the United Na­tions, but its Wash­ing­ton pres­ence is grow­ing by leaps and bounds in an era of ex­pand­ing glob­al trade. One of the new faces is Eva Hampl, 32, a nat­ive of Mu­nich, was edu­cated in the United States, earn­ing a mas­ter’s in in­tel­lec­tu­al-prop­erty rights from Suf­folk Uni­versity Law School in Bo­ston. After work­ing for the European Uni­on del­eg­a­tion to the U.S. and then for the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee un­der former Chair­man Max Baucus, Hampl landed a fel­low­ship in Gen­er­al Elec­tric’s Wash­ing­ton of­fice, fo­cused on glob­al gov­ern­ment af­fairs and policy. That led her this spring to US­CIB’s D.C. of­fice as the new dir­ect­or of in­vest­ment, trade, and fin­an­cial ser­vices. Ac­cord­ing to US­CIB Pres­id­ent and CEO Peter M. Robin­son, “She brings valu­able know­ledge and ex­per­i­ence in treat­ies and reg­u­la­tions af­fect­ing cross-bor­der com­merce.”

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