Washington law and lobby firm Dickstein Shapiro is in talks with law firm Bryan Cave about a potential merger, according to a person familiar with both firms.

The two firms have not yet done a client conflicts check or taken a partnership vote — two steps that must be completed before a merger could become official.

Dickstein Shapiro has about 150 attorneys in D.C. and New York. Bryan Cave has about 1,000 lawyers in 30 international offices.

For Bryan Cave, the move would mean an expanded presence in Washington, where Dickstein maintains intellectual property, private equity and government contracting practices. For Dickstein, it would mean becoming part of a larger full-service law firm with expertise in litigation, mergers and acquisitions, and real-estate private equity trusts.

Representatives for both firms declined to comment Wednesday.

Dickstein, the firm where former House Speaker Dennis Hastert worked as a lobbyist before resigning earlier this year in the wake of a hush money scandal, has shrunk significantly over the last few years as firm leaders looked to restructure the business into a smaller, more specialized operation. Today, the firm is less than half the size it was in 2009, when it had about 360 attorneys.

Bryan Cave is led by D.C.-based securities litigator Therese Pritchard, the first top leader of the firm to be based in Washington instead of the firm’s headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., and the firm’s first female chair. Dickstein is led by chairman Jim Kelly.


Environmentalists lobby against TPP at Paris climate talks: Environmental activists with the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade are traveling to Paris this week, using the global climate conference as a platform to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They say the trade deal undermines the summit’s goals and are planning to meet with delegates and host strategy sessions and other public events at the conference. See my story today.

Highway bill includes Ex-Im renewal: Senate and House negotiators reached a deal Tuesday on a $305 billion, five-year transportation bill that revives the Export-Import Bank, Reuters reports. The legislation has bipartisan support and is expected to reach the floor of each chamber by Friday.

Pfizer’s plan to leave U.S. unsettles drug lobbyists: Pfizer’s chief lobbyist Sally Susman, a major fundraiser for President Obama and Hillary Clinton, must now make the argument to Washington that reducing Pfizer’s tax contributions to the U.S. by moving its headquarters to Ireland is a good thing, The New York Times reports. Susman says a tax inversion “makes it easier for an American company to invest in the U.S. and less likely that it will be encumbered by competitive tax disadvantages.” Some of the drug industry’s top lobbyists are not on board with that line of thinking, with one saying, “Pfizer shot us all in the collective foot.”

Comings and goings

Caterpillar chief executive and CEO Doug Oberhelman has been named chairman of the Business Roundtable. Oberhelman will take over in January for a two-year-term, succeeding current BRT chair Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T.

A trio of Patton Boggs lobbyists — Kevin O’Neill, Eugenia Pierson and and Kristine Blackwood — have left the firm for Arnold & Porter. O’Neill was one of the highest-ranking legacy lobbying partners at Patton Boggs.

New lobbying contracts

Covington & Burling on behalf of Monster Beverage Corp. has hired Russell & Barron to lobby on matters concerning the review of energy drinks under the dietary guidelines.

American Society of Media Photographers has hired Meyer, Klipper & Mohr to lobby on copyright reform.

Natural Products Association has hired Mayer Brown to lobby on tax and regulatory issues related to the natural products industry.

TherapeuticsMD, Inc. has hired Jennifer Bell & Partners to lobby on proposals surrounding women’s health.

American Humane Association has hired MG Consulting to lobby on animal welfare and the use of animals in agriculture, military, entertainment, medical research and in therapy for humans.