Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has formed a partnership with a Vienna, Va.-based consulting group led by President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser, the law firm announced Wednesday.
Jones Group International, headed by retired Gen. James Jones, focuses on matters that include energy security, international affairs and national security. The group will assist Akin on those issues, particularly as they relate to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the law firm.
Akin partner Donald Pongrace, who helped establish the partnership, said Jones already has helped the firm with projects concerning foreign market access and international relations for clients that operate around the world. But he declined to elaborate on the retired general’s work.
“The kind of advice he provided has been strategic and helpful,” Pongrace said, adding that Jones isn’t a lobbyist.
The disclosure of the partnership came the same day that a lobbying shop with three former Akin defense and homeland security lobbyists announced that it is open for business. Former Akin senior adviser John Simmons, as well as former Akin policy advisers Christopher Goode and Bert Steele, left the law firm this year to start The Roosevelt Group. The timing of the Jones Group and The Roosevelt Group announcements was a coincidence, Pongrace said.
The Roosevelt Group has defense industry clients that include the electronics manufacturer SRC Inc., language training consultant Progressive Expert Consulting Inc. and the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance, which promotes the growth of federal operations in that Virginia community, Simmons said. At Akin, Simmons, Goode and Steele last year lobbied for those clients on issues that included defense appropriations, according to congressional records.
Simmons said The Roosevelt Group is an independent firm, but it will continue to work with Akin on some matters.
“I think it’s the best of both worlds,” he said.