The Fall of the House of Boggs

The tale of Patton Boggs’ being brought low illustrates how even the most sophisticated law and lobbying firms are willing to gamble with their reputations and balance sheets in the face of stiffening competition. Other vaunted firms hit even harder than Patton Boggs include Washington antitrust ace Howrey, defunct as of 2010, and New York-based Dewey & LeBoeuf, which collapsed two years later.

The end of Patton Boggs’ half-century as an independent firm brought down the curtain on a style of Washington influence-peddling that Tommy Boggs , who died at age 73 on Monday, helped invent and rode to phenomenal success and riches. Last May, when an enfeebled Patton Boggs — reduced to 330 lawyers from a peak of 550 — announced its merger into 1,300-attorney Squire Sanders, the PR spin was unpersuasive. Patton Boggs boasted that it had been “an industry game-changer” and “through our combination with Squire Sanders we are doing it again.” Hardly. The formation of the new Squire Patton Boggs revealed how a storied D.C. institution risked its standing for a quick score — and lost.

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The Privatization of US Foreign Policy: An Interview with the Author of The Foreign Policy Auction

U.S. foreign policy is being sold. Not just altered, shifted, manipulated, or influenced – sold. Every single day the agents of foreign governments and businesses work to not only monitor U.S. foreign policy, but actively change and even create it. Lobbying for foreign interests is a half billion dollar industry in the U.S. and nearly every country in the world devotes considerable resources to lobbying officials in Washington, or has done so in the past. In fact, just one lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, lobbies for nearly half of the world’s population. And, one in every ten dollars spent on lobbying in the U.S. comes from foreign governments.

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