Public Policy

Overview

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Public Policy Practice Group promotes and protects client interests before the U.S. Congress as well as federal, state, local and international government entities.  

The Public Policy group's clients receive timely, in-depth information on potential government actions that may affect their business.  Where necessary, we arrange for, and then prepare, clients to meet with members of the U.S. Congress and their staffs as well as executive branch officials.  Other services include providing:   

  • Advocacy before legislative and executive branches of government
  • Assistance with general legislative, committee and floor strategy
  • Analysis and drafting of legislation, including legislative amendments
  • Establishment and running of coalitions to amplify advocacy efforts
  • Preparation prior to congressional committee testimony
  • Representation in congressional, U.S. Inspector General and Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations
  • Assistance in securing appropriations and other government benefits
  • Assistance with products and capabilities marketing to federal government agencies
  • Ongoing regulatory counsel  

Client work crosses industries and interest areas that include:   

  • Financial institutions
  • Technology and communications
  • Managed funds
  • Defense
  • Housing
  • Taxation
  • U.S. state and local matters 

Unlike a pure lobbying firm, Gibson Dunn's work is grounded in traditional analytic and advocacy skills, combined with broad experience in U.S. and international government operations.  We have the credibility, access and reputation to be heard, and take pride in our ability to craft legal arguments and advocate for our clients.  We do this in a carefully targeted manner designed to achieve the desired result without fanfare or unwanted publicity. 

Gibson Dunn's Public Policy practice offers a bipartisan team of lawyers who have served in a wide range of high-ranking government positions.  The group's practitioners include former congressional committee staff and senior officials with U.S. federal agencies, the judiciary and the White House Office of Management and Budget. 

The Public Policy group's goal is to maximize the potential benefit – or minimize the potential adverse impact – of governmental action on your business interests.  We work to develop broad policy strategies using analytical tools, our experience in building and managing coalitions, expert, firsthand knowledge of relevant processes and personal relationships with key members and staff of governmental entities.  The practice group offers a "policy plus" approach that blends traditional lawyering and business skills with the capabilities of a top-flight lobbying firm. 

Experience and Recent Representations

  • Helped create and run the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users, with approximately 300 active company and trade association members.  The Coalition works on both legislative and regulatory fronts to help protect interests of end-user companies in the debate over appropriate regulation of derivatives. 
  • Assisted individual companies with derivatives-related issues. 
  • Assisted two industrial banks with Dodd-Frank-related and other issues, including possible unintended impacts of the Volcker Rule. 
  • Assisted an insurance company regarding possible designation as a systemically significant institution. 
  • Helped and helping multiple financial institutions work to shape various aspects of final regulatory reform legislation that moved and is still moving through Congress. 
  • Helped multiple financial services firms participate in federal rescue programs at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve. 
  • Assisting managed funds in assessing political and regulatory risk relevant to investment decisions and in seeking or preventing legislation that could impact investments.
  • Assisting a communications company overcome legislative and regulatory obstacles put in place by other companies. 
  • Helped a social networking company navigate through a congressional oversight matter involving questions concerning client communications and interface.
  • Working to prevent bankruptcy-related legislation that would unfairly impact United States-based investors.
  • Assisting clients in meeting objectives with respect to patent reform legislation.
  • Assisting a university in securing funding for an innovative renewable energy generation program.

Our legislative lawyers have substantive experience in both the development of legislation and the implementation of laws and regulations.  Issue areas in which we are particularly active include:

  • Employee relations
  • National security
  • International trade
  • Securities
  • U.S. and international banking
  • Nonbank financial institutions
  • High technology and communications
  • Taxation of corporate activities
  • Procurement fraud
  • The environment (U.S. statutes and wetlands policy)

Drawing on our deep legislative familiarity and capabilities, we are able to serve clients in every aspect of legislative representation.  Particular services are: 

  • Advice and representation in connection with U.S. congressional oversight investigations
  • Monitoring of legislative proposals and counseling on potential impact
  • Strategic advice and planning for aggressive legislative advocacy designed to protect client interests and influence legislation
  • Submission of petitions to the U.S. Congress in opposition to pending legislation
  • Coalition-building to strengthen client positions in the legislative process
  • Preparation of amendment legislation, including line-item appropriations, and securing its inclusion during the legislative process

Our regulatory practice permits us to provide clients with ongoing counsel in a wide range of areas that include: 

  • Environmental and securities rules and regulations
  • Banking, thrift and diversified financial firm regulation
  • Hart-Scott-Rodino filings
  • Communications regulation
  • Health and pension benefits restructuring
  • U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
  • The U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • The U.S. Americans With Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and wage and hour laws
  • Financial institution recapitalization and restructuring
  • Benefits qualification under the United States-Canada, United States-Israel and North American Free Trade Agreements. 

In addition, U.S. federal laws contain enforcement provisions, backed by substantial penalties, that enable the government to bring administrative proceedings and civil and criminal enforcement actions.  As a result, businesses may find themselves in negotiations with the government in the context of penalty assessments and compliance orders as well as actual litigation.  We represent clients in connection with such governmental enforcement actions in all areas of federal activity.

Congressional investigations and oversight present unique challenges.

The Public Policy Practice Group has handled major investigations initiated in both chambers of Congress, by all major investigative committees, and by special investigative entities.  We have worked closely with many of the chairs and ranking members, as well as their staffs.  These relationships open lines of communication with the committees and enable us to anticipate the members' next moves.  Our lawyers have deep experience as well defending executive branch investigations that result from congressional inquiries. 

These capabilities allow us to effectively handle every aspect of an investigation, including:

  • Responding to committee subpoenas
  • Negotiating the terms of document production
  • Preparing for interviews, depositions and hearings
  • Managing the public relations responses
  • Anticipating and neutralizing collateral consequences   

Our lawyers' unique blend of experience and capabilities sets Gibson Dunn apart in the small cadre of law firms that work in this area. Congressional investigations often involve public attacks on a company's reputation.  This can imperil the goodwill on which it has built its business and maintains its competitive advantages.  Congressional investigations also often unfold in a hearing room, in front of television cameras and on the front pages of major newspapers. 

The Public Policy group works with you to assess these issues from a strategic perspective.  We strive to develop a positive message, and divert committee attention away from our client, toward other targets.  We apply pressure where possible to dissuade committees from pursuing the investigations.  Creative, effective means that we employ include triggering U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigations, investigations by other committees and pressure from other members of Congress.​  Please see our Congressional Investigations Specialty Solution for further details.