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Lobby shops and law firms with the highest revenues from lobbying work in the previous calendar year.
The Influence 50 aims to capture the full scope of lobbying as it is practiced today. To compile this list, the NLJ asked more than 100 law firms and lobbying organizations to share with us their total public-policy revenues for 2014. This included a broad tally of any work within a firm’s public-policy department that did not represent legal work for compliance with existing laws and regulations. These figures represent the 2014 calendar year.
The Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) provide publicly available revenue figures for certain types of revenue. We used these figures to calculate some firms’ totals if they chose not to provide more information in this survey.
LDA requirements capture influence activity directed at Congress and members of the executive branch. FARA comprises certain “political activities” and public relations efforts on behalf of foreign-based entities. The Internal Revenue Service also provides a federal definition of lobbying, but that information is not used in these totals.
LDA and FARA information for this report was accessed via online databases run by the secretary of the Senate and the U.S. Department of Justice, respectively.
Other research to determine eligible firms came from Opensecrets.org and lobbyists.info.
Our Influence 50 ranking goes hundreds of millions of dollars further than what the federal disclosures listed above would capture.
In many organizations, influence work includes public-policy advocacy done by lawyers that is not disclosed to the federal government. It also includes a host of other activities, including but not limited to strategic consulting, public relations, political intelligence, political law, state attorneys general counseling, grasstops and grassroots organizing, and counseling clients on government investigations.
Most of the work represented by the numbers is federal advocacy, though some firms included international and/or state and local lobbying if those practices were run out of Washington.
Firms determined based on their own bookkeeping structures whether to combine the revenues of subsidiary groups within larger law firms.
Because of the calendar-year constraints of this survey, several firms are listed by their previous titles, as noted. Two more recent law firm acquisitions—Wiley Rein and McBee Strategic Consulting, and Dentons and McKenna Long & Aldridge—aren’t reflected. In previous years, Squire Patton Boggs made the list as Patton Boggs, which merged with Squire Sanders in 2014.
National Law Journal reporter Katelyn Polantz handled all data collection and analysis for this project.