National Firm Launches Lobbying Operation

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker is looking to duplicate the lobbying success it's had at New York's capital at Connecticut's seat of government, firm leaders said. In early January, the national law firm announced the opening of a new office in Hartford that will focus in part on governmental relations.

Wilson Elser "has the most successful lobbying firm in Albany," said David A. Rose, the partner responsible for forming the law firm's governmental relations practice in Connecticut. According to the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Wilson Elser has more than 160 lobbying clients in Albany.

As for the goals in Connecticut, Rose noted that Wilson Elser does not have a "niche lobbying practice" like some other firms.

"We're a law firm," Rose said. "As long as we can ensure there's not a conflict with any existing clients we're hopeful to work with as many and varied" lobbying clients as Wilson Elser does in Albany.

Rose has been involved in governmental affairs for 21 years either as a governmental lawyer or lobbyist. He worked as senior counsel for two Connecticut House speakers: Democrats Moira Lyons and James Amann. In 2007, he went to work as assistant counsel for then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and stayed on through the tenure of Gov. David Patterson and then through the transition of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

While there are a lot of similarities between Hartford and Albany, Rose said that "Connecticut has a much more transparent government" that is easier to access as a lobbyist or as a regular citizen. Unlike in Albany, anyone can walk into the Capitol building in Hartford without having to pass through metal detectors, he said.

If you spend enough time in the building, you will run into state leaders just by virtue of using the common elevators and corridors, Rose said.

"You have to be at the Capitol," Rose said, to have the opportunity to meet with top lawmakers, including the happenstance meetings in which elevator speeches for clients can be rolled out. There's nothing that beats the in-person interaction to "tell your client's story," Rose said.

But, he noted, the Capitol cafeteria is "a very social scene" and is not the best place to do heavy-duty work. And so the new office will offer a place to hold meetings and a quiet place away from the Capitol to do substantive work.

"It's going to be tremendous in terms of business development," said Rose.

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