The federal government’s size and complexity means most clients have regular dealings with federal administrative, congressional or enforcement agencies. Barnes & Thornburg’s federal government relations attorneys and advisors regularly represent clients before these entities.
Law firms have historically offered clients the capability to litigate federal public policies. More recently, sophisticated clients have learned that solving legal challenges is sometimes more economical, comprehensive, attainable and timely through federal legislative efforts.
We work alongside clients as they pursue solutions that perhaps only Congress can provide, such as legal authority for a new commercial product line or federal funding for a state or local government project. Barnes & Thornburg personnel understand how to navigate an effective client request through the flood of communication with committees and staffs, political parties, interest groups, political action committees (PACs), trade associations, traditional and emerging media organizations, professional lobbyists and constituents.
Clients turn to Barnes & Thornburg for guidance when a legislative proposal is pending that might damage a project, company or industry. Other clients might seek our advice when they wish to alter national policies that regulate how businesses in the environmental, energy, intellectual property, health care or other sectors conduct their affairs. We work with our clients to understand the substantive challenges and develop responsive technical, political and parliamentary tactics.
We develop clear timelines and understandable metrics so that clients can understand, evaluate and report on our progress. We assess the strengths and weaknesses of opposition positions and personnel and we identify members of Congress and others who are the decision-makers.
Along with our clients, we advocate client positions with staff, members and leaders of Congress. We provide our work in conformance with flat-fee monthly budgets, and report progress to clients on an individually determined basis.
Our personnel have previously served as legislative assistants, legal counsel, appropriations clerks, political party legal counsel, and policy advisors to members and leaders of Congress from both political parties, and have successfully advocated the positions of governments, companies, associations, tribes, individuals and coalitions.
Administrative Agencies and the White House
Administrative agencies interpret the Acts of Congress; issue proposed and final administrative rules; and implement resulting policies and regulatory systems through audits, position statements and enforcement actions. Agencies develop annual budget requests which are provided to the White House for evaluation and integration into the annual budget request of the president. Many agencies directly conduct research and technical assistance (advisory) for construction, transportation, housing, health care, education, law enforcement, military finance, labor regulatory, international or environmental activities and, at times, adjudications of specialized fact and legal matters by administrative law judges.
Barnes & Thornburg government relations professionals communicate with agency personnel who have jurisdiction or otherwise have an impact on decisions that can affect client interests. Examples include educating agency personnel on the impact of a proposed land transaction, construction project, research proposal, environmental regulation, technology innovation, funding decision or labor regulation. Some of our professionals concentrate specifically on the selling of goods and services to government agencies, including but not limited to the Department of Defense. For more information, see our Defense, Aerospace and National Security web page.
In those instances when an office within the White House has a role in determining the outcome of a client matter, we directly interact with relevant personnel with the Office of Management and Budget, Domestic Policy Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy and other offices that may influence administrative agencies’ decision on funding or other matters. As a law firm, we are adept at assuring that all communications are allowable under applicable statutes and agency rules, and publicly reported when required.