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Public Policy and Law

With a significant team of bipartisan lawyers and policy professionals who have more than 500 years of combined government experience, we help clients meet their needs through the entire policy life cycle—from legislation to regulation and dispute resolution.

Our public policy and law group is built on a philosophy that emphasizes a deeply substantive and teamwork-based approach to public policy. The goal is to understand a policy issue from every direction—substantively and politically—and to use the collective knowledge and experience of our team to help our clients achieve their objectives. 

The public policy and law group is consistently recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500, and other publications for deep substantive knowledge and bipartisanship.

The federal policy group has thrived through administrations and Congresses as far back as the 1960’s and has grown to one of the largest policy practices of any global integrated law firm. The state policy practice has a strategic geographic footprint, with regional headquarters in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Members of our international policy practice, based in Brussels, assist clients within capitals in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and the Middle East. Our team includes three former U.S. House members, a former general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, senior executive branch staff, senior congressional staff, senior counsel and staff at various government agencies, senior state officials and gubernatorial aides, military officials, and individuals who were involved in the Trump campaign and the presidential transition. The team also included former three-term U.S. senator from Washington, Thomas Slade Gorton III  (January 8, 1928 – August 19, 2020).

A Policy Team with a Global Reach

Members of the public policy and law group join forces with the firm’s Global Government Solutions® (GGS) practice and together, provide a uniquely effective set of capabilities to help clients deal with governments around the world. The GGS initiative brings together lawyers from various practice disciplines located in fully integrated offices in the primary political, commercial, and financial centers of Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America, including 11 world capitals.

This geographic reach, coupled with the depth and breadth of our practice, positions the firm to advance client interests efficiently and effectively and to develop and execute coordinated strategies in multiple locations. Our widespread global network allows us to respond to clients’ needs in a timely manner and deliver exceptional service by an experienced team not affected by cross-border limitations.

In their 2020 guide, Chambers said, “The team is easy to work with, knowledgeable on the issues and very thorough in its execution. Their advice is also very sound.”

Environmental

Our environmental policy team has significant legislative and administrative experience in the laws governing environmental policy. Led by a long-time veteran with congressional and federal executive service, our team has extensive experience helping clients with emerging and legacy issues across the full suite of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. The team has worked on virtually every major environmental statute including Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water, Endangered Species, Clean Water, and Clean Air acts, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act and environmental provisions in infrastructure and transportation legislation. In these areas we have significant experience working on the enactment of laws and the implementation of regulations and policies with Congress, the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of Energy and other agencies. Our work includes representing clients in navigating Superfund law and regulations, including at two of the nation’s largest, most expensive, and most complicated Superfund sites; securing funding, legislative, and regulatory policies for public and private drinking water systems; advancing climate change and carbon policies and priorities before Congress, the White House and executive agencies; promoting policy issues relating to the storage, disposal, transportation, and management of nuclear materials, including high- and low-level radioactive waste and mixed waste; and providing advice on PFAS, the Toxic Substances Control Act, recycling regulations and legislation, and mining and critical minerals issues before Congress.

Federal Funding and Appropriations

Our federal funding and appropriations team is composed of a bipartisan group of former members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and numerous professionals who previously worked on Capitol Hill or in the Executive Branch. We assist clients in formulating strategies for engaging policymakers on federal budget and appropriations issues. Our goal is to help clients achieve success by first understanding potential challenges and opportunities as we consider strategic engagement of policymakers. On behalf of numerous clients, our federal funding and appropriations team has helped secure federal funds through increases in appropriations and the administration’s budget requests; directive and programmatic language; and agency grant awards, loans, and loan guarantees.

Financial Services

The global financial services policy team is able to provide exceptional services and insights on Dodd-Frank Act reform efforts, Brexit implications, and international regulatory reform efforts. With financial services regulation retaining an international dimension, our team is well-positioned to advocate for our clients before domestic and foreign regulators and legislative bodies.

Visit our financial services policy area of focus page for in-depth information regarding our capabilities in this area. 

Government Ethics and Election Law

For more than 30 years, our government ethics and election law team has provided guidance to clients on campaign finance, lobbying disclosure, foreign agents registration, and many other political ethics and election law matters. Our clients include companies and their political action committees (PACs), along with individual donors, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, trade associations, super PACs, and candidates for public office. We have also worked to ensure that the pertinent rules are kept in mind throughout the planning and implementation of policy projects to avoid violation of the law and embarrassment for clients or government decision-makers. We routinely advise clients and conduct audits and training sessions on compliance with the laws regulating political activity, fundraising and contributions, and lobbying registration and disclosure. We also advise clients on the required aspects of interacting with Congress and the executive branch regarding gifts, travel, honoraria, and past employment restrictions, as well as the growing web of state and local ethics and campaign finance regulations, including “pay-to-play” restrictions affecting those engaged in state and local politics, and state and local contractors in often unexpected ways. More than 25 years ago, the team published the first edition of “A Guide to Political and Lobbying Activities,” a comprehensive and user-friend guidebook designed to simplify political law compliance for the busy Washington, D.C. professionals. 

Health Care

Our health care policy team has been part of the nation’s health care debate for decades. As the nation grapples with the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has advised health care stakeholders on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term impact, such as post-pandemic planning, lasting changes to the health care system, and oversight. The team is also helping health care stakeholders advocate on health care reform, from the future of the Affordable Care Act to Medicare for All and the Public Option. 

Throughout important debates like these, the health care policy team has helped health care stakeholders advance their policy objectives while navigating the complex statutory and regulatory framework that governs their business. We develop and execute federal and state legislative advocacy strategies and engage senior political appointees and career staff to successfully resolve administrative matters before various federal departments and agencies. We help stakeholders navigate congressional oversight and investigations matters, and government enforcement actions. We also help stakeholders secure federally appropriated funds through Congress and grants issued by the executive branch. We have experience building, managing and working with coalitions, as well as developing and implementing grassroots and grasstops strategies. We represent a broad spectrum of health care stakeholders, including health care providers, health plans, and employers.

Our health care policy team maintains strong relationships with key members of Congress, including leadership of both political parties, chairs and ranking members of key committees, and congressional staff. We work extensively with the multiple congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care issues. Our team also maintains long-term relationships and works extensively with key executive branch officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, and the White House.

Higher Education

Our higher education team represents institutions across the United States on a broad range of federal policy and programmatic funding matters, as well as identifying competitive grant opportunities. We assist clients in identifying and developing federal priorities to achieve their organization’s strategic goals.

Whether your institution has interest in federal public policy, competitive grant funding, the congressional appropriations process, or building relationships with federal administrative agencies, our higher education team understands the legislative and political process from beginning to end and is well-positioned to assist colleges and universities, and their associations in dealing with the dynamic funding and policy climate in Washington, D.C.

International Trade

Our long-standing international trade regulation and trade policy experience, coupled with our global reach, enables our international trade team to assist clients with legal, regulatory, and policy matters in the United States and around the world across a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, energy (LNG, solar, wind), infrastructure, and maritime.

Our international trade team combines the necessary substantive knowledge with policy experience and sophisticated advocacy skills. We partner with clients to help advance their interests in the commercial, legislative, regulatory, and judicial arenas, and we assist clients with interests in virtually all import, export, and foreign investment activities by assessing risks and opportunities and developing targeted strategies in domestic and international markets.

Collectively, our global team provides a unique understanding of the internal workings of various U.S. and foreign government entities with jurisdiction over international trade and investment matters. We regularly advise and assist U.S. and foreign clients on:

  • Trade investigations
  • Tariff actions (232, 301, 201)
  • Supply chain strategy
  • Customs actions
  • National security reviews of foreign acquisitions and investments (CFIUS)
  • Export controls and sanctions
  • Free trade zones
  • Bilateral and multilateral negotiations
  • WTO dispute settlement
  • Market access issues
  • International intellectual property rights
  • Food/product standards
Maritime

The firm offers the U.S. and international maritime industry significant legal, transactional, legislative, and regulatory capabilities. Our cross-practice work involves all issues faced by maritime interests, including traditional admiralty matters; transactions, taxation, financing, restructuring, and bankruptcy; commercial litigation, arbitration, and dispute resolution; ports, environmental compliance and enforcement defense; public policy, regulatory, and legislative; trade; and recreational boating.

Visit our maritime area of focus page for in-depth information regarding our capabilities in this area.

National Security

Visit our U.S. national security law and policy area of focus page for in-depth information regarding our capabilities in this area. 

Postal

We provide strategic counsel to a diverse group of mailers, ecommerce and retail companies, mail technology companies, and industry associations on a range of postal legal and policy issues. Our lawyers and policy professionals regularly engage with and appear before the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Postal Service, federal courts, and Congressional postal oversight committees on postal rate matters, regulatory issues, enforcement actions (including mailing eligibility and revenue deficiency claims), and postal policy issues.

Tax

Our tax policy team represents a broad spectrum of clients on a variety of tax policy matters before Congress and the administration, drawing on decades of experience on Capitol Hill and with executive branch departments and agencies.  From small startup companies to large multinational corporations, we advocate on behalf of a wide range of clients, including manufacturing, financial services, professional services, insurance, maritime, energy, food and retail, tax-exempt and religious organizations, coalitions, and trade associations that span numerous sectors of the economy. 

We have established a proven track record of experience helping clients develop and execute smart, effective legislative, regulatory, and administrative strategies to achieve their policy goals and objectives. Our work includes client-specific tax priorities, implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, ongoing efforts at tax reform, renewable and traditional energy policy, employee benefits, Opportunity Zone benefits, digital taxes, taxation of virtual currency, tax extenders, regulatory comments, and tax administration procedures.

Our tax policy team closely monitors developments and keeps clients apprised of their significance in real time from both policy and political perspectives, and serve as a leader for numerous issue coalitions. We also assist with preparing background and briefing materials for Congress, the administration, and the news media; drafting legislative and committee report language; writing testimony for witnesses; and preparing statements for the record, letters to Congress and administration officials, and a variety of other written products.

As a result of our reputation, relationships, and subject-matter knowledge, we are able to serve as a resource to thought leaders in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States in shaping policy favorable to our clients. Our team of tax policy professionals is significantly bolstered by our firm’s large network of tax lawyers, who are located in offices around the world, enhancing our overall technical and practical tax prowess.

Telecom, Media, and Technology

For nearly three decades, we have been a leader in advancing telecom, media, and technology (TMT) issues before regulatory and policy branches of government and courts across the globe. We offer an interdisciplinary, industry-focused TMT practice to serve the specialized needs of businesses, entrepreneurs, inventors, and investors in these converging sectors. Our TMT lawyers and policy professionals are located in offices throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States,. Our TMT team includes former members of Congress, former staff members from key U.S. House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over TMT issues, and a former European Union (EU) official.

Collectively, we have represented clients in major U.S. communications reform debates, including the largest cable company on the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, an association of digital technology innovators on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a satellite distributer on the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1999, and a premier movie channel provider on the proposed Communications Act of 2006. We also successfully advocated to ensure that satellite broadband service providers were eligible for the 2009 economic stimulus legislation’s broadband grant program. In Europe, our team has been providing advice on major legislative initiatives including the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the ePrivacy Regulation, the Electronic Communications Code, and other policy and regulatory reforms implementing the EU Digital Single Market Strategy on such issues as big data, rules on platforms, and over-the-top content. We currently are actively engaged on a number of U.S. policy issues, including broadband infrastructure legislation, data privacy protection legislation, emerging technologies regulation legislation, and Telephone Consumer Protection Act reform legislation, among other issues. The TMT team also monitors and provides informed analyses on a broad range of legislative and regulatory initiatives, including those dealing with net neutrality, cybersecurity, data privacy and security, and mergers of TMT companies.

Transportation and Infrastructure

The current transportation climate requires nimble policy strategies that take into account the existing statutory and regulatory regime, the ongoing infrastructure funding debate, and evolving technologies. These strategies are not limited to U.S. federal policies; regional, state, local, and international transportation and infrastructure issues impact businesses and the U.S. economy and influence policymakers in Washington, D.C.

The transportation policy team combines the necessary substantive transportation and infrastructure policy experience with sophisticated advocacy skills. We partner with clients to help advance their interests in the commercial, legislative, regulatory, and judicial arenas. We assist clients with interests in nearly all modes of transportation, infrastructure-related innovative financing, and public-private partnerships by assessing risks and opportunities and developing targeted strategies in domestic and international transportation forums.

Our team includes former members of Congress, one of whom served as a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; former officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission; and former congressional staffers with substantial experience with relevant committees of jurisdiction including the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Collectively, the transportation team provides a unique understanding of the internal workings of related agencies and branches of government and can help shape regulations and other decision-making processes. We advance our clients’ interests before key senior transportation policy staff, prepare formal comments and grant applications for submission, and otherwise participate in the regulatory process.

Our transportation policy engagements include leading general aviation organizations; global unmanned aircraft systems manufacturers; technology, transportation, and infrastructure industry trade associations; global providers of vehicle rental and car-sharing services; domestic and global shipping and logistics companies; a major Class 1 railroad; a water and wastewater utility; institutional investors and pension funds; and local and state government entities.

Additional Thought Leadership Pages
17 February 2016
K&L Gates Names 50 New Partners
Press Release

The public policy and law group has been ranked by Chambers USA since 2011. Sources say: “They are a very strong team...who are multidisciplinary experts, able to work across political divide.”

Since 2010, the U.S. News-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey has acknowledged the team as a top-ranked firm for government relations.

The Legal 500 has ranked the group since 2015 stating: “K&L Gates’ bipartisan government relations practice stands out as it leverages a broad set of political and subject-matter experts and is well versed in utilizing a broad array of influencing tools.”

The group is also consistently ranked among the top law firms in the National Law Journal’s Influence 50 survey. Members of the team have also been individually acknowledged as “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill newspaper, and National Law Reviews’ “Go To Thought Leaders Award” honoring excellence in legal thought leadership.

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