Robert H. Smith School of Business
Capital Business
Posted at 05:53 PM ET, 07/23/2013

Lobby firms continue downward slide in revenue

Revenue at the region’s most profitable lobby shops continued on a two-year downward slide, with the 10 biggest firms reporting a collective 4 percent drop in lobbying revenue during the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.

Lobbying revenue dropped from a collective $116.7 million to $112.4 million at those firms during the first half of 2013 compared with the first half of 2012, according to quarterly filings submitted by firms to the Senate Office of Public Records this week.

Eight of the 10 firms posted flat revenue or saw declines. The exceptions were Akin Gump, up nearly 7 percent, and BGR Group, up about 11 percent.

Many lobbyists hoped that 2013 would bring an influx of new work — 2012 was slow, as most presidential election years are — but that boom has yet to materialize. The first quarter of the year was similarly slow for business, with six of the top 10 firms posting declines between 2 and 15 percent.

Still, leaders at firms said they remain optimistic. Kevin O’Neill, deputy chair of Patton Boggs’ public policy group, said his firm earned $10.8 million in lobbying fees during the second quarter — up from $10.4 in the first quarter — marking the first quarter-over-quarter growth in more than a year.

“We saw revenue increase across several fronts in the second quarter,” he said, citing the push for immigration and tax reform in the House and Senate.

“People may have had dim prospects of this moving in this time frame, but if you don’t make a full court press on those issues, you risk getting left behind,” he said.

Here’s how the top firms fared during the first half of 2013:

• Patton Boggs: down 12 percent from $24.2 million to $21.2 million.

• Akin Gump: up 7 percent from $15.6 million to $16.6 million.

• Podesta Group: virtually unchanged at $13.6 million.

• Brownstein Hyatt: down 7 percent from $11.5 million to $10.7 million.

• Van Scoyoc Associates: down 6 percent from $11 million to $10.3 million.

• Holland & Knight: down less than 1 percent from $9.1 million at $9 million.

• Williams & Jensen: down 5 percent from $9.1 million to $8.7 million.

• K&L Gates: down 11 percent from $9.3 million to $8.3 million.

• BGR Group: up 12 percent from $6.6 million to $7.4 million.

• Alston & Bird: down 2 percent from $6.8 million to $6.7 million*.

*Estimates based on Senate Office of Public Records filings as of Tuesday afternoon.

By  |  05:53 PM ET, 07/23/2013

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