Denver firm shakes up U.S. lobbying industry with national record

Washington, D.C.Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has set the standard for federal lobbying revenue with its fourth quarter performance, the firm announced this week.

The firm reported $15.96 million for its fourth-quarter federal lobbying revenue for 2021 — a 29% boost compared to the same quarter in 2020 and a record in the industry, according to a Thursday announcement. The law and lobbying firm’s total revenue for last year amounted to $56.25 million which jumped 14% from the firm’s overarching numbers for 2020.

“When you compete with very established firms, firms that have been lobbying for 40, 50 years, I’m very proud of the record we’ve achieved,” said Norman Brownstein, the firm’s founder and chairman, in a Friday telephone interview. He noted that his firm opened its Washington, D.C., office in 1995, with the goal of becoming “the No. 1 bipartisan lobbying group in the country,” and has since helped enact almost 20 laws.

“We actually know how to pass legislation,” Brownstein added.

While K Street in Washington is typically considered the nation’s haven for lobbyists, Brownstein’s firm has kept Colorado on the map — and the team isn’t new to the limelight. The firm made Women Inc. Magazine’s list of “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” and was named a top lobbying firm in 2020 by Bloomberg Government.

Brownstein highlighted the importance of keeping the firm’s Denver roots as his law and lobbying practice expanded over the years.

“I felt, even though it was more challenging, that we still could do it from Denver if we had the kind of great firm that we’ve assembled,” Brownstein said. “I took that on, as not only a challenge to be No. 1, but No. 1 from Denver, Colorado.”

Marc Lampkin, Brownstein’s government relations department chair and managing partner of the Washington office, described 2021 as “an extraordinary year.” Factors that helped create “a frenetic pace in Washington unlike anything we’d seen before” included President Joe Biden’s new administration, with infrastructure and Build Back Better agenda topping the list of priorities, he said. The shift in power within Congress and American industries still in need of COVID-19 relief also contributed to the momentum, Lampkin added.

“We’ll see a return to normal with a shift from a legislative focus to more legal and regulatory work now that we’re in the Biden administration’s second year and the midterm election cycle,” he said. Lampkin isn’t worried about the impact of the midterm elections on the firm, as “we’re built to withstand the tides of politics,” he added.

The law and lobbying firm was initially founded 54 years ago in Denver by Brownstein, Jack Hyatt, and Steve Farber, childhood friends who all claim the University of Colorado as their alma mater. Frank Schreck also jump-started his career in 1968, later merging his practice with Brownstein Hyatt & Farber in 2007.

Two of the founders died in recent years: Hyatt in 2017 at 75 and Farber in 2020 at 76.

The firm’s lease is up at its downtown Denver headquarters in 2023, but the firm declined to discuss the future of that location. In addition to the Denver and D.C. Washington locations, the firm consists of 10 other nationwide offices in New Mexico, New Jersey, Nevada, Wyoming, and California. Brownstein employs more than 600 people, including attorneys, policy professionals, and other staffers.

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