Frederick K. Lowell
Pillsbury's Political Law practice is nationally ranked by 2009 Chambers USA, a leading independent guide that interviews clients to compile its rankings.
Navigating formidable political currents with extreme skill.
Over a period of nearly 50 years, Pillsbury has developed an exceptional understanding of the intricacies of the US political and government relations process. Our experience extends from the election and political processes at the state and local levels to the three branches of the US government, allowing the members of our Political Law practice to provide counsel on highly sensitive and complex matters to a diverse base of clients.
In an era of term limits, recalls and campaign finance reform, experienced political law counsel is necessary to navigate one through the political process. Our political law experience allows us to provide in-depth counsel as to the laws that control political activities. Such laws regulate lobbying, the financing of campaigns for public office and the passage of ballot measures, gifts to public officials and almost any interaction between the private and public sectors. These laws are pervasive at every jurisdictional level, whether federal, state or local.
Our political lawyers represent corporations, trade associations, initiative campaigns, candidates for public office and officeholders concerning political law regulation. The group has many years of experience in creating political law compliance programs for large organizations. In addition, it has represented the firm's clients before regulatory agencies such as the Federal Election Commission, California's Fair Political Practices Commission and local agencies such as the San Francisco Ethics Commission. The group has also been involved in successful litigation against over-broad laws, which threaten to deprive clients of their right to participate in the political process.
The maze of political laws enacted since the Watergate scandal 40 years ago presents a trap for the unwary. While participation in the political process is a First Amendment right, compliance with political laws must be a top priority for any person or organization that hopes to achieve success in the political process.
Executive Branch Representation
Our lawyers provide clients with comprehensive executive branch representation before many U.S. government agencies, from the White House and Cabinet departments to “independent agencies” such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. We have extensive knowledge of agency regulations, policies, and procedures as well as an understanding of how businesses are affected by the actions of U.S. government agencies.
The key to a successful outcome in any administrative action is substantive knowledge of the agency’s practices, policies and personnel. Administration policy decisions reflect the political agenda and managerial style of the President and the Cabinet. To ensure our clients’ facts and arguments are reviewed favorably, the firm uses its insights into the macro-policy dictated by the White House. Our familiarity with the workings of Executive Branch policy development and management enables us to help clients intervene effectively with the Office of Management and Budget, White House and Cabinet agency staff, Congress and other organizations to attain our clients’ objectives.
Effective legislative advocacy makes it possible to influence the congressional decision-making process in ways favorable to our clients. We provide advocacy driven by one overriding principle: knowledge. We know our clients and what they need. We know the subject matter involved, and we know how to influence the legislative process.
At the federal level, our lawyers create and execute results-oriented strategies based on our in-depth knowledge of how Washington works and our long-term relationships with key offices on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Many clients fear approaching Capitol Hill, thinking it may only “make matters worse.” Such apprehension can be self-fulfilling if legislative representation is inadequate. Adding value to business through effective professional representation of our clients’ interest is the cornerstone of our legislative practice.
The key to a successful outcome in any administrative case is substantive knowledge of the agency’s practices, policies and personnel. This experience may be inadequate when the issue moves from the regulatory arena to the legislative. Frequently, Congress will reverse administrative decisions by the executive branch.
The attorneys and professional staff at Pillsbury assist our clients to brief members of Congress about an administrative issue before a case has even begun. This includes drafting letters to the heads of executive agencies to express concern about procedural flaws that could create unfavorable standards. We also work with constituent members of executive agencies to insert appropriate language intended to accomplish a particular goal before the agency. These are only a few examples to illustrate how we use congressional procedures to our clients’ advantage.
A Bipartisan Approach
Whether on Capitol Hill or at the state capital, political lines are drawn every day. The lawyers in our Political Law group work with politicians and staff members on both sides of the aisle to assist our clients. Over the years, we have developed extensive and bipartisan contacts that enable us to take the lead on lobbying efforts or assist others in making their case to legislators or agency officials.