Brownstein, Akin vie for top lobby spot amid D.C. spending push

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Signage is seen outside of the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C., U.S., U.S., August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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  • Brownstein Hyatt took in $13.89 million in Q3 lobbying revenue, ahead of rival Akin Gump
  • Akin Gump partner cited infrastructure, budget reconciliation bill as drivers

(Reuters) - Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck said Wednesday it took in $13.89 million in federal lobbying revenue in the third quarter, putting the firm on course - barely - to unseat U.S. lobbying leader Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld this year.

So far in 2021, Brownstein's federal lobbying revenues stand at $40.29 million to Akin Gump’s $39.85 million, according to Lobbying Disclosure Act data provided by the firms. The two have been playing quarterly leapfrog since the second quarter of 2019, when Denver-based Brownstein first edged out its larger rival.

Akin Gump has led the annual revenue rankings since 2014, when it supplanted Patton Boggs (now Squire Patton Boggs) as the top federal lobby shop. It reported revenue of $13.6 million for the last quarter.

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The change in administrations and new spending priorities for the Biden White House have helped fuel a lobbying boom this year. “The infrastructure bill and the Democrats’ reconciliation spending bill drove a great deal of this activity, while other areas, such as tax, trade and health policy, remained front and center,” Akin Gump partner Brian Pomper said in a statement.

Akin Gump’s top individual clients this year have included Gila River Indian Community, which hired the firm to lobby on tribal land matters, gambling and other issues. It also represents a number of tech companies including ZTE Corp, Qualcomm Inc. and Lyft Inc.

Brownstein’s biggest client so far this year, Athene Holding Ltd, turned to the firm to lobby on insurance regulatory matters. Brownstein also counts as clients investment management firms including Apollo Global Management and Ares Management, as well as Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

“We continue to work on multiple history-making spending packages for our clients,” Marc Lampkin, managing partner of Brownstein's Washington, D.C., office, said in a statement, citing the firm’s “bipartisan approach.”

Other law firm lobbying arms reported revenue growth in the third quarter. Holland & Knight said it generated $9.34 million, a 10% increase from last quarter. Squire Patton Boggs said its revenue grew 9% to $6.2 million. K&L Gates reported Q3 revenue of $5.4 million, its best quarter to date, according to the firm. Covington & Burling said it brought in $3.67 million, down 14% from last quarter.

(Note: This story has been updated to include third quarter revenue for Holland & Knight and Covington & Burling.)

Read more:

Brownstein extends lobby lead over Akin Gump, with $14 mln in Q2

Brownstein bests Akin Gump in Q1 lobbying revenue as COVID bill showered firms with cash

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Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with a focus on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at Xiumei.Dong@thomsonreuters.com.