Akin Gump hires former Obama liaison

K Street titan Akin Gump hired former White House liaison to the Senate, Ed Pagano, as a partner in its public law and policy practice, the firm announced Tuesday.

Pagano spent two years as an assistant to President Obama, working on issues such as judicial nominations, gun control, immigration reform and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

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He also worked for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) for almost two decades, most recently serving as his chief of staff.

Pagano coordinated the senator’s work on the Senate Judiciary, Agriculture and Appropriations committees, and worked on the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, which passed in 2011 and marked the first overhaul of the patent system since 1952.

“Ed’s professional background, both at the White House and on Capitol Hill working for Sen. Leahy and the Judiciary Committee, makes him an ideal fit for Akin Gump. He brings a unique vantage point to a number of policy issues that will allow him to become a valued and trusted advisor to our clients,” Don Pongrace, the head of Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice, said in a statement.

The firm ranks among Washington’s top lobby shops by revenue. Last year, it took in $33.8 million in lobbying earnings and saw a nearly 10 percent increase over numbers from 2012, despite the revenue struggles seen at most major K Street firms.

Akin’s clients include AT&T, American Express, Chevron, the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, Boeing, the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform and the Corrections Corp. of America, which owns and operates private prisons and detention centers.

“As I considered moving on to this next chapter in my career, I looked at many options, but in the end determined Akin Gump clearly had the best platform for me,” Pagano said in a statement. “The firm’s top-ranked public law and policy team, wide breadth of practices and expansive global footprint make it a very appealing place to put my experience to work on behalf of the firm’s clients.”

Pagano worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee before becoming Leahy’s chief of staff and concentrated on “economic and criminal justice legislation, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Patriot Act and the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, as well as antitrust issues and data breach legislation.”