Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.
Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.
555 Thirteenth Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: (202) 637-5600
Fax: (202) 637-5910
Web site: http://www.hhlaw.com
Gross Billings: $320 million (2000)
NAIC: 54111 Offices of Lawyers
With over 800 lawyers, Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. is the largest law firm based in Washington, D.C., and one of the largest in the world. Its practice spans the globe, from Latin America, Europe, and Asia to Africa and the Middle East. It operates branch offices in Tokyo, Berlin, London, Brussels, Paris, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Moscow, New York City, Baltimore, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and McLean, Virginia. It provides expertise in virtually all areas of domestic and international law, from antitrust, taxation, and litigation to intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, and project financing. It continues its historic practice of serving clients in their dealings with federal government agencies. Like other large firms, Hogan & Hartson serves multinational corporations, trade associations, nonprofit groups, and other diverse clients. However, its commitment to pro bono service continues to be rather unusual.
Getting Started and Early Law Practice
Frank J. Hogan, the founder of Hogan & Hartson, was born in 1877 in Brooklyn. In 1902 he received his LL.B. from Georgetown University, was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and thus began his long career as a lawyer. One of Hogan’s early clients was Theodore Roosevelt. In addition to his private law practice, Hogan lectured on wills, evidence, and partnerships at his alma mater, Georgetown University. He also wrote articles for legal journals and in 1912 began serving as the advisory editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.
For several years Hogan’s partnership remained a small practice based in Washington, D.C., where it concentrated on serving clients in their dealings with the federal government that grew from new agencies and laws passed during the Progressive Era. For example, Congress gained the authority to tax incomes with ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913.
Nelson T. Hartson in 1925 left as the Treasury Department’s Internal Revenue solicitor to lead the growing tax practice of the Hogan law firm. Unlike most other early partners who were from the East and had gained their legal education at Georgetown University, Hartson was born in Spokane, Washington, and earned his L.L.B. at the University of Washington.
In the 1932 Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, Hogan, Donovan, Jones, Hartson & Guider, with the five name partners and one associate, described itself as having a “Practice before United States Courts, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Federal Radio Commission, and Government Departments.” The 1932 directory stated that the Hogan firm was general counsel for Riggs National Bank and the District of Columbia Bankers Association and counsel for Capital Traction Company, Travelers Insurance Company, and the Evening Star Newspaper Company. The 1940 directory listed Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), and Crosley Radio Corporation as other clients of Hogan & Hartson. The firm at that time consisted of 13 lawyers. Nevertheless, the nation’s largest law firms were headquartered in New York City, the nation’s financial and commercial capital. They usually did not have offices in Washington, D.C., until after World War II.
Post-World War II Growth
Hogan & Hartson in 1950 described itself in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory as practicing “before United States Courts, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission and Government Departments,” but by 1960 it said it had a general practice. It also increased from 24 lawyers in 1950 to 36 lawyers in 1960. In the 1960s and 1970s, law firms grew rapidly due to more federal government laws and regulatory bodies, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Joseph C. Goulden, in his 1972 book about large Washington, D.C., law firms, estimated that in the previous decade the number of lawyers had increased 25 percent. According to Goulden, the capital had “less than one-half percent of the United States population, and almost five percent of the lawyers.” As part of this trend, Hogan & Hartson more than doubled its number of lawyers to reach 76 in 1973.
Lawyer and consumer activist Ralph Nader in 1969 criticized the growing power of corporate law firms. Goulden reported that Nader said “the lobbying infrastructure“ slowed the passage of useful consumer laws. In a Senate government operations subcommittee, Nader described firms like Hogan & Hartson as being “eminent specialists in cutting down consumer programs in their incipiency or undermining them if they mature. They are the masters of the ex parte contact, the private deals and tradeoffs, the greasing of the corporate wheels and the softening of the bureaucrats’ wills.”
Hogan & Hartson in the mid-1970s gained Senator J. William Fulbright as one of its partners after he lost his reelection bid. The Arkansas Democrat was well known for serving five terms in the U.S. Senate from 1945 to 1975, creating the Fulbright scholarships, and being one of the main opponents of the Vietnam War. Fulbright remained with Hogan & Hartson until his death in 1995.
In 1976 Hogan & Hartson was praised in Verdicts on Lawyers for having “identified full-time pro bono partners and associates to coordinate the firm’s public interest work.” Such an example was then and continued to be rather unusual in large corporate law firms. This program was started in 1970 as a way to provide legal services to clients unable to pay regular fees. Over the years thousands of organizations or individuals thus were served, and pro bono work became a significant aspect of Hogan & Hartson’s culture. It led to the firm receiving the American Bar Association’s top pro bono award in 1991. Hogan & Hartson’s example also inspired some other large firms, such as Holland & Knight, Florida’s largest law firm, to establish similar programs.
In the 1980s Hogan & Hartson added new offices near its Washington, D.C., headquarters. Its McLean, Virginia office was established in 1985 to serve mainly high-tech companies in Fairfax County. Hogan & Hartson in 1988 became the first large out-of-town law firm to establish a branch office in Baltimore.
The firm’s international growth started in 1989 when its partners decided that expansion would be their major goal. “I think many of us believed that for a firm like ours to remain a top-tier firm, we needed to expand our international reach,” recalled managing partner Bob Glen Odle in Legal Times.
Practice in the 1990s and Beyond
Hogan & Hartson was listed in the 1990 Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory as having a total of 278 lawyers at its Washington, D.C., headquarters and also three nearby branch offices in Baltimore; Bethesda, Maryland; and McLean, Virginia. In 1990, it added new offices in London and Prague, its first overseas branches. By 1991, other new offices had been established in Warsaw, Paris, and Brussels.
Hogan & Hartson and several other law firms grew in response to the collapse of communism. In 1989 Germans destroyed the Berlin Wall and soon reunited East and West Germany, and in 1991 the Soviet Union disintegrated into Russia and several other nations. Free market reforms that included new laws and privatizing former state-owned businesses provided new opportunities for foreign corporations and their law firms.
In 1991, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) announced it had selected three teams of accountants and law firms to help eastern European nations develop agency-approved regulations and privatize their economies. Hogan & Hartson and KPMG Peat Marwick comprised one of the teams that would receive up to $15 million during a three-year contract. Hogan & Hartson helped the Slovak Republic’s Ministry of the Environment and the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture write new regulations. Some critics contended that such work was a conflict of interest because law firms’ corporate clients could benefit from favorable laws and regulations. “Hogan & Hartson and the other law firms who represent major ministries have gotten into the business of writing regulations that suit themselves,” said Stanley Glod, chair of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States, in The Washington Post. Started in 1994, the firm’s Moscow office illustrated Hogan & Hartson’s role in the globalized economy. It helped a United States-based communications company gain a $190 million loan guaranty from a Russian agency. The Moscow office helped clients not only in Russia, but also in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, and other nations in the region.
When you join a law firm, you join a group of people. The people of Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. (Hogan & Hartson) are our greatest strength. We come from across the country and around the world. We are committed to preeminence in a full spectrum of legal services throughout the three major areas of our practice —commercial, litigation, and government regulation. We represent a diverse client base that ranges from local entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 multi-nationals. We believe in contributing to our community through a longstanding and extensive pro bono commitment. We are dedicated to maintaining an environment in which we all work together as a team —in which we respect each other as professional colleagues and enjoy each other’s company as friends.
In 1996 Hogan & Hartson continued its growth in eastern Europe by opening an office in Budapest that focused on industrial and energy privatizations. “I’m very excited,” said Bob Glen Odle in International Financial Law Review. “Budapest is [a] step in our European strategy of having an office in every major country our client base is interested in.” Hogan & Hartson also helped develop eastern Europe’s new municipal bond market. Under communism, local governments avoided debt, but by 1996 some municipalities were beginning to see the advantages of long-term bonds to help pay for badly needed infrastructure such as roads, water systems, and airports. Meanwhile, Hogan & Hartson opened new offices in Colorado Springs and Denver in 1994 and Los Angeles in 1996. Its New York City office was started in 1998.
Hogan & Hartson clients in the 1990s included the U.S. Olympic Committee; Genentech Inc., the nation’s first biotechnology company; Amgen Inc.; the Biotechnology Industry Organization formed in 1993; and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted as Haiti’s president in 1991, paid the firm $55,000 a month in 1994 to have partner Michael Barnes, a former Maryland congressman, try to get him restored to power. The firm, however, lost a significant client in 1995 when Boston Bancorp replaced it with Boston’s Hale & Dorr. Hogan & Hartson had served Boston Bancorp from at least its 1983 debut as a public corporation.
In the 1990s, Hogan & Hartson had close ties to the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party. For example, one of the firm’s lawyers served as the Clinton-Gore campaign’s general counsel in 1992. Clinton in 1993 chose Hogan & Hartson lawyers to be his deputy national security adviser and his secretary to the cabinet. At the same time, the firm increased its government relations practice by adding 10 new lobbying clients in the first months of the new administration.
In the mid-1990s, a Hogan & Hartson employee delivered a $50,000 donation from Greek citizen George Psaltis’ company Psaltis Corporation, a firm client, to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DNC later returned the money and said it had not realized Psaltis was not an American citizen and his company had no United States operations. Hogan & Hartson also represented DNC fund-raiser John Huang for alleged improper activities.
Hogan & Hartson continued to have one of the nation’s top lobbying practices in the years ahead. For example, in 2000 the firm earned $15.5 million from lobbying, an amount exceeded by only three other law firms and one non-law firm. This was according to Influence, a service owned by American Lawyer Media Inc. Influence published a newsletter and operated www.influenceonline.net to inform the public about lobbying activities. The Hogan & Hartson Political Action Committee donated money to both Republican and Democratic candidates. From 1997 to 2000 it gave between 55 and 64 percent of its contributions to Republicans.
In the November 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush used lawyers from Hogan & Hartson and several other law firms to help him win the struggle over Florida’s contested electoral votes. In May 1998, the U.S. Justice Department, 19 states, and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation. Hogan & Hartson, in this much-publicized case, represented the states, the District of Columbia, and also Netscape Communications Corporation, the governments’ main witness against the Seattle software developer. Although attempts to split Microsoft were dropped, the legal battle continued in 2001.
Meanwhile, the firm served other clients in antitrust matters. For example, partner Janet L. McDavid represented Mobil Corporation when it merged with Exxon, American Electric Power when it merged with CSW, and also General Dynamics, PacifiCare, American Express, and BT plc in various transactions or investigations.
In July, 2000 Russia’s Uneximbank with help from Hogan & Hartson finally reached a settlement on the bank’s $1.4 billion bankruptcy. About 75 of the firm’s lawyers worked on the 1,600-page settlement document. The authors of an article in the International Financial Law Review said, “Uneximbank is important because it was the first Russian credit institution to declare itself bankrupt and the first to then settle its bankruptcy with foreign creditors.”
The firm’s Prague office represented Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty when it moved from Munich to Prague, ICF Kaiser International in its Czech steel mini-mill, the Czech and Slovak American Enterprise Fund that aided various businesses, and U.S. West International in a Czech cable television and telephony project.
Hogan & Hartson also counseled Stredoceska Energeticka a.s. in its investment in a power plant near Prague. According to the firm’s Web site, the $400 million plant was “the first independent power project in the Czech Republic and probably in Central and Eastern Europe as a whole to raise financing on a non-recourse basis and without the benefit of government guarantees.”
In 2000, Hogan & Hartson began an office in Miami as a means to increase its Latin American practice. One of its clients was Petrobras, a company owned by the Brazilian government, as it built and financed a major gas pipeline with Bolivia. Also in 2000, the firm opened a small Tokyo office and worked to absorb 35 lawyers recruited laterally from New York’s Davis, Weber & Edwards, the largest acquisition in its history. Hogan & Hartson continued its rapid growth in the new millennium by opening a Berlin office in January 2001 under the name Hogan & Hartson Raue. The 30-lawyer office was the third largest law firm in Berlin, according to Legal Times.
- Frank Hogan founds the firm in Washington, D.C.
- Nelson Hartson joins the firm to head its growing tax practice.
- The partnership is renamed Hogan & Hartson.
- The firm begins its unique pro bono Community Services Department.
- The firm grows in the Washington, D.C. area with a new office in McLean, Virginia.
- The firm moves its Washington, D.C., office to Columbia Square in the Metro Center.
- The partnership starts its first overseas offices in London and Prague.
- Hogan & Hartson opens a Tokyo office, its first in Asia.
- Berlin office started in January under name of Hogan & Hartson Raue.
In 2001, California businessman Dennis Tito became the first person to buy a flight into space. In addition to paying $20 million to Russia, Tito paid Hogan & Hartson and two other law firms that helped him negotiate with three Russian agencies before he blasted off to visit the International Space Station.
With literally hundreds of new lawyers added in the 1990s, the firm faced numerous challenges. As Hogan & Hartson’s first full-time managing partner, Bob Glen Odle traveled to each overseas branch at least twice every year. That personal interaction helped strengthen the firm, which closed no offices during this rapid growth period. Odle stepped down as the firm’s chairman at the end of 2000. Since 1979, when Odle became chairman, Hogan & Hartson had grown from one to 18 offices worldwide and more than quadrupled its number of lawyers to over 800. The new chairman was J. Warren Gorrell Jr.
Based on its 2000 gross revenue of $320 million, Hogan & Hartson was the nation’s thirty-fifth largest law firm, according to the annual ratings by The American Lawyer. The firm’s gross revenue increased 22.1 percent from 1999, when it was ranked number 40. With almost a century of experience, Hogan & Hartson had come a long way to become one of the world’s largest law firms.
Arnold & Porter; Covington & Burling; Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.
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—David M. Walden