Heavy hitter at Patton Boggs departs for WilmerHale

Jonathan Yarowsky, a prominent lobbyist from K Street’s top-earning Patton Boggs, is heading to a new firm.

Yarowsky will become chairman of the legislative affairs and public policy practice at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The move will give the law firm a top K Street name and help it expand its lobbying practice.

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“WilmerHale is thrilled that Jon Yarowsky will be joining the firm,” said Randolph Moss, chairman of the firm’s regulatory and government affairs department. “Jon is first and foremost a great attorney, and he is one of the nation's most accomplished government relations lawyers. He has an unparalleled understanding of how Congress works and how to get things done in Washington. He is a great addition to our government affairs team."

Yarowsky previously served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and as general counsel on the House Judiciary Committee.

At Patton, Yarowsky lobbied for a number of top-tier clients, including Microsoft, the National Association of Broadcasters and the United States Telecom Association. He had been at Patton since 1998.

Though a top law firm, WilmerHale only has a few lobbying clients. The firm reported lobbying for only two clients last quarter — Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and Northeastern University  — earning just $50,000, according to disclosure records.

Yarowsky’s move comes during a tough year for Patton.

Like others in the influence industry, the firm reported a dip in lobbying revenue last quarter.

Patton reported earning $10.4 million in lobbying fees this past quarter, a decline from the $12.2 million they earned in 2012’s first quarter.

And last month, Patton lost 17 partners from its offices across the country. A group of partners from Patton’s Dallas office ended up joining Holland & Knight.

Further, in March, Patton laid off 65 employees, including 23 from its Washington office.

Nevertheless, lobbyists at Patton have remained bullish about their business prospects for 2013.

“Once the issues start to get substantive, the demand for lobbying is going to increase,” said Kevin O’Neill, deputy chairman of Patton Boggs’s public policy department, at the time of the firm’s layoffs. “Historically, the odd years are better than the even years because there are more issue campaigns typically at the beginning of the congressional session, rather than at the end.”