Washington’s biggest lobby firms are continuing their modest recovery following three years of decline, with most of the region’s 10 largest firms posting slight revenue gains during the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
Lobbying revenue crept up a collective 0.4 percent at those firms during the first half of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013, to $112.92 million from $112.50 million, according to quarterly filings submitted by firms to the Senate Office of Public Records this week.
It marks a continuation of the turnaround that began earlier this year, when the largest firms saw collective revenue rise for the first time in several quarters.
During the first half of the year, seven of the 10 firms posted revenue growth, mostly in the single digits, with the exception of tax boutique firm Capitol Counsel, which saw revenue spike nearly 29 percent from $6.7 million to $8.6 million. Three firms reported declines: Squire Patton Boggs, which saw revenue fall 16 percent, Podesta Group, where revenue fell 5 percent, and BGR Group, which saw revenue slide 2 percent.
John Raffaeli, founding partner of Capitol Counsel, attributed his firm’s growth to the addition of several lobbyists who helped attract new clients, including Josh Kardon, Jenn Fogel-Bublick, Jeff Walter, Kyle Nevins and Brad Mollet. The firm signed a number of new lobbying clients during the first half of the year, including ExxonMobil, Delta Air Lines and JPMorgan Chase.
“Over the past year we have added some excellent team members who have helped us broaden the firm’s abilities to better serve existing clients and made us an attractive firm for new clients,” Raffaeli said.
A spokeswoman for Podesta said part of the firm’s 5 percent revenue decline was due to lobbyist Stephen Northrup leaving to co-found his own lobby shop, Rampy Northrup, in April. Northrup, a health care lobbyist, took several clients with him, according to lobbying records, including Blue Shield of California and Johnson & Johnson Services.
Squire Patton Boggs took the biggest hit among the largest firms, seeing revenue decline 16 percent to $17.76 million from $21.25 million. For the first time since 2002, the firm was not the top-earning lobby shop, falling behind Akin Gump in second quarter lobbying revenue. Akin Gump earned $8.6 million in lobbying fees during the second quarter, while Patton Boggs earned $8.36 million. However, Squire Patton Boggs — the product of the combination between Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders that went into effect June 1 — is still K Street’s top earner in year-to-date lobbying revenue, earning $17.76 million during the first half of 2014 compared to Akin’s $17.17 million.
Here’s how the 10 largest lobbying firms fared in the first half of 2014, compared to the first half of 2013:
• Patton Boggs: down 16.4 percent, to $17.76 million from $21.25 million.
• Akin Gump: up 3.3 percent, to $17.17 million from $16.63 million.
• Podesta Group: down 5.1 percent, to $12.90 million from $13.59 million.
• Brownstein Hyatt: up 5.6 percent, to $11.28 million from $10.68 million.
• Van Scoyoc Associates: up 1.4 percent, to $10.43 million from $10.29 million.
• Holland & Knight: up 8.8 percent, to $9.76 million from $8.97 million.
• K&L Gates: up 8.5 percent, to $9.06 million from $8.35 million.
• Williams & Jensen: up about half a percent, to $8.70 million from $8.65 million.
• Capitol Counsel: up 28.5 percent, to $8.62 million from $6.71 million.
• BGR Group: down 1.9 percent, to $7.25 million from $7.39 million.