Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling
- Congressional & Independent Commission Investigations
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
- Environmental Regulatory Matters
- Financial Services
- Government & Private Antitrust Litigation & Investigations
- Healthcare & FDA Public Policy
- Labor & Employment
- Labor-Management Relations & Labor Disputes
- Occupational Safety & Health
- Securities Industry
Lawyers in our Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling Practice leverage their firsthand Washington, D.C., knowledge and insight to craft and execute strategies for navigating complex legal, regulatory, and legislative challenges. We focus on helping clients anticipate—and succeed amid—U.S. legislative and regulatory change and heightened congressional oversight. Our practice unifies strategic planning and advocacy for complete government relations representation.
A diverse group of lawyers with senior-level executive branch and regulatory agency backgrounds forms the core of this practice, which is bolstered by professionals commanding a thorough understanding of the U.S. Congress. Our experience working both for and with elected officials allows us to foresee congressional actions, monitor and analyze legislation and hearings, build strategies that ensure favorable outcomes for our clients, and create a dialogue between our clients and Capitol Hill.
Scope of Practice
Strategic government relations
Our team advises clients in various industries on U.S. government affairs and crisis management and provides counseling to corporate and individual clients on a broad array of legal and policy issues. We are well versed in managing competing objectives and minimizing risk while working in the public spotlight. We regularly represent clients in government investigations and prepare and represent witnesses in congressional hearings.
Our multidisciplinary practice, backed by a team of former prosecutors and other regulatory lawyers, includes alumni from both Republican and Democratic administrations, who have held leadership or high-level positions in the White House and at field and headquarters divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Trade Commission, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This combination allows us to effectively engage with these and other agencies to advance the business objectives of our clients.
We also closely follow legislative and regulatory developments, identifying emerging trends and interpreting them—allowing clients to anticipate upcoming government policies in time to craft effective advocacy responses and business plans. We advise clients on a diverse list of legislative priorities, including infrastructure, taxes, financial services, healthcare, energy, employee benefits, financing, pension and healthcare reforms, and labor/management relations.
Our lawyers have represented many companies as well as corporate officers, directors, and senior management across the spectrum of business entities in sensitive and high-profile U.S. congressional and independent commission–led investigations and in parallel investigations involving other federal and state executive branch enforcement agencies. Clients turn to us because we are not only trained in navigating such investigations and inquiries, but we are also attuned to potentially damaging collateral issues that could lead to further litigation risks, including enforcement actions and shareholder litigation, as well as potential public relations problems.
Fred F. Fielding—former Counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, former Deputy Counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, and Commissioner of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission)—leads our Washington, D.C., practice.
Matthew S. Miner served as Staff Director to the Senate Judiciary Committee and, at an earlier point, Majority Chief Counsel for Crime, Terrorism, and Oversight to the same committee. He also served as counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Timothy P. Lynch, senior director of our Washington Strategic Government Relations and Counseling Practice, provides advice and counseling to clients on government relations and public policy issues and is responsible for directing all activities of the practice, including the strategic and operational functions.
Our Environmental Practice is anchored by a team of high-level U.S. government agency alumni and veteran environmental lawyers, who deliver customized counseling on compliance, strategic policy, government relations, risk avoidance, crisis management, and litigation matters. We provide global corporations with guidance in environmental enforcement actions, in civil or criminal matters involving current operations or legacy environmental issues, in transactions, on securing permits and government approvals, and on strategies and challenges related to climate change.
As one of the first environmental practices established at a major U.S. law firm, we combine powerful historical perspective on evolving public and legislative policy with experience across a wide range of industries, including energy, transportation, chemicals, manufacturing, and real estate. We closely monitor regulatory and legislative developments, acting as counsel to three cross-industry trade organizations that focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rulemakings, guidance, and policy statements under the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). In addition to producing rulemaking comments and handling litigation challenges, we frequently provide clients with crucial updates and analyses on major regulatory and legislative developments.
Ronald J. Tenpas has served as Assistant Attorney General, DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division; Associate Deputy Attorney General; U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Illinois; and Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland and Middle District of Florida.
Michael W. Steinberg served as Assistant Chief of the Environmental Defense Section at the DOJ, where he supervised and handled litigation against the EPA under all of the federal environmental statutes.
Energy (traditional, electric, nuclear, and renewables)
Our Energy Practice represents clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, state public utility commissions, other federal and state agencies, and federal and state courts across the United States. We handle investigations and other regulatory compliance matters, strategic planning and corporate restructuring, complex and traditional debt and equity securities issuances, transmission access, energy marketing and trading, and ratemaking. We have also represented clients in high-level policy meetings with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies and have assisted our clients with capitalizing on government funding programs through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Kathryn M. Sutton, Energy Practice leader, represents clients on the full range of issues involving the operation of existing nuclear power plants as well as on NRC license renewals regulations and new plant license requirements. She also advises international utilities on U.S. regulatory initiatives.
Stephen M. Spina represents electric utilities and other energy industry participants before FERC on a variety of matters, including industry restructuring, audits and investigations, reliability compliance, transmission, and other regulatory issues under the Federal Power Act.
Alex S. Polonsky focuses on energy and environmental law. His energy practice includes advising on NRC license renewal, power uprates, decommissioning, and enforcement proceedings as well as nuclear export-related matters. His environmental practice includes advising clients on shale gas development and litigation and enforcement related to CERCLA and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Mark R. Haskell represents clients in FERC matters, including investigations, litigation, and related court appeals, and in CFTC investigations. His clients include natural gas and power marketers, local distribution companies, end users, producers, industrial consumers, and liquefied natural gas and shale gas developers.
Kenneth M. Kulak advises clients on the development and negotiation of power purchase agreements, renewable energy credit contracts, EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) and O&M (operation and maintenance) agreements, and the purchase, sale, and financing of renewable energy projects. He also advises utilities on renewable portfolio standard compliance, procurement design, retail electricity markets, energy efficiency, and demand response programs.
Labor and employment, workforce relations, and compensation
We regularly represent and advise employers on all aspects of labor and employment law related to the DOL, the NLRB, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal agencies. This breadth of practice lends our clients the capacity to monitor, anticipate, assess, and respond to issues from the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and the White House, including matters such as labor law reform and the impact of U.S. healthcare policy changes, both of which can affect the collective bargaining process.
Along with our senior DOL and NLRB alumni, the team includes a former Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for the DOL’s Employment Standards Administration and a former Deputy Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Grace E. Speights—Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C., office and chair of the Systemic Employment Litigation Practice—has been ranked in the top tier for various labor and employment categories by such publications as The American Lawyer, Legal 500, U.S. News, and Chambers USA.
Jonathan L. Snare, former Deputy Solicitor of Labor at the DOL and former acting head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has testified before congressional appropriations and authorization committees. He also conducted briefings and negotiations with members of Congress and congressional staff on a wide variety of DOL topics and issues.
Donald J. Myers, former Counsel for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Regulation and Interpretation at the DOL and Assistant Chief of the Office of Disclosure Policy at the SEC, regularly represents clients before government agencies, including the DOL.
Charles I. Cohen, former member, executive, and staff attorney at the NLRB, represents clients in collective bargaining issues in all facets of labor and employee relations, including litigation.
John F. Ring frequently testifies before congressional committees on various labor and employment issues. He also counsels employers about their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, and other employment statutes.
With a large and well-established healthcare practice, Morgan Lewis takes a collaborative and integrated approach to the representation of the industry’s clients. The lawyers in our FDA and our Life Sciences and Healthcare teams assist clients with monitoring, influencing, and interpreting federal rules and regulations, congressional legislation, and policies issued by the executive branch. Many of our lawyers have government backgrounds at federal agencies with jurisdiction over the healthcare industry. Our experience and extensive government and industry contacts inform and strengthen our representations, enable us to analyze evolving developments, and help us provide our clients with timely guidance critical to their businesses.
Howard J. Young, former Senior Attorney and Deputy Branch Chief for the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General, has coordinated with the DOJ, state attorneys general, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on criminal and civil healthcare fraud matters.
Joyce A. Cowan has worked for more than 20 years in assisting healthcare organizations before Congress and the executive branch. She advises clients on developing strategic plans that anticipate changes in federal and state healthcare programs and helps advocacy groups and coalitions to influence federal healthcare program policies.
Kathleen M. Sanzo has worked at the Office of General Counsel of the Food and Drug Administration and currently advises clients on compliance matters before the Consumer Product Safety Commission and related state enforcement agencies.
We closely follow developments at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS—as well as the DOJ's Tax Division—and we regularly appear before these agencies to obtain private letter rulings or to seek changes in published guidance on behalf of our clients. We advise clients in crises with the IRS and have litigated a variety of tax disputes in the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and federal district and appellate courts.
Mary B. “Handy” Hevener, a former attorney advisor for the Treasury’s Office of the Tax Legislative Counsel, has worked on legislation and IRS guidance affecting alternative minimum taxes, Social Security taxes, and a variety of excise taxes.
Daniel L. Hogans served as an advisor in the Office of Benefits Tax Counsel at the Treasury, where he was involved in regulations and other guidance affecting employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), including regulations governing ESOP interests in S corporations.
Alexander L. Reid is a former legislation counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation, who advised members of Congress and staff with regard to tax policy and drafted legislation, hearing publications, and technical explanations of tax legislation.
David R. Fuller is a former manager in the IRS’s Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities). In this role, he shared supervisory and management functions in the first IRS branch with combined interpretative and litigation functions.
Our multidisciplinary team represents some of the world’s largest firms and financial institutions, as well as their senior executives and other employees, in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings conducted by the SEC, DOJ, and other government agencies; all major self-regulatory organizations, including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA); and state securities commissions. Anchoring our practice are lawyers who have served terms with the SEC, FINRA, CFTC, DOJ, and IRS—many in senior positions.
We also represent public companies and their senior executives in SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings, including those focusing on accounting issues and insider trading. Our interdisciplinary practice brings together lawyers familiar with the federal and state securities laws, ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, commodities regulations, federal and state banking and insurance laws, and foreign securities laws.
Christian J. Mixter is the former Chief Litigation Counsel for the Division of Enforcement at the SEC. In this role, he was responsible for supervising the conduct of all of the SEC's contested enforcement cases, both in the federal district courts and in the administrative forum.
Linda L. Griggs has served as Chief Counsel to the Chief Accountant of the SEC and is a former member of the SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting.
John F. Hartigan is the former Branch Chief and Assistant Director of the Division of Enforcement at the SEC.
David A. Sirignano has served as Associate Director for International Corporate Finance in the Division of Corporation Finance at the SEC.
We advise clients in the transportation industry on transportation infrastructure, environment and climate change, energy supply, safety, labor and employee benefits, pensions, taxes, and national security. Having worked for some of the major transportation associations and companies, we understand the challenges our clients face and advise them on advocacy efforts.
Timothy P. Lynch is the former senior vice president and chief lobbyist at the American Trucking Associations (ATA). In this role, he was responsible for the ATA's advocacy efforts, including its Capitol Hill office, strategic planning function, public outreach, and strategy development on a wide range of legislative issues.
Joyce E. Taber counsels clients under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, and other federal and state employment laws.