The government affairs group at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP was not only among the busiest law firm lobby groups in Austin during the 82nd legislative session, but according to a report in this week’s Texas Lawyer newspaper, the group is also among the highest grossing in Texas.
In its look at the recently completed regular and special legislative sessions, Texas Lawyer surveyed 15 of the state's leading law firm lobby groups to assemble the 2011 Lobbying Scorecard. Gardere was tied for top in the state with the highest number of clients at 47, and only one other group reported higher total compensation.
The 82nd Regular Session and subsequent special session were among the Firm's most successful ever, according to Kimberly A. Yelkin, head of Gardere's government affairs group. "It's always harder to pass legislation than defeat it, and we were hired to pass several bills and were successful with many," she told the newspaper, in praise of her group's work.
Among Gardere's most notable successes on behalf of its clients, says partner Mark Vane, was the legislation that would require more online retailers to collect sales tax. Also among the Firm's successes detailed in the 2011 Texas Lawyer Lobbying Scorecard were helping secure a provision during the regular session that will give the consumer electronics industry more flexibility in the state's newly-created TV recycling program and helping turn back legislation that would have impeded the substitution of generic drugs for name-brand medications.
Val Perkins, who joined Gardere as a full-time lobbyist last year, emphasized teamwork as the root cause for the Firm's success this session. "Our ability to work together enables us to sharpen expertise in formerly unfamiliar areas and broaden our scope of representation. This experience allows us to craft legislation for a multitude of industries and wide range of clients."
Earlier this year, Gardere's government affairs group was named the second most powerful law firm lobby team in the state by Capitol Inside in its Texas Lobby Power Rankings 2011.
"We are proud of the team's Power Rankings, as well as its outstanding work during this most recent legislative session," says Gardere Managing Partner Steve Good. "The Austin team is unquestionably among the most experienced and influential groups in the state and they are the ones businesses turn to when they need their voice to be heard."
In addition to Ms. Yelkin, Mr. Vane and Mr. Perkins, the group includes Attorneys Nanette Beaird, Dewey Brackin, Marcus Schwartz, Ed Burbach, Robert Johnson and Leslie Ritchie Robnett and Mandeep Chatha.
The full report, "Great Expectations? Despite Challenges, Some Firm Lobby Shops Had One of Their Best Sessions," appears in the July 25th, 2011 edition of Texas Lawyer.