UPDATED at 5:06
Milwaukee-based Michael Best & Friedrich is expanding to Washington, opening an office here with three lawyers and a patent scientist on June 3.
It’s the first step outside the Midwest for the 230-lawyer firm, known for its work on behalf of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is often mentioned as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016.
According to the firm, the new office at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW will focus on energy, environmental, intellectual property, food and drug and agriculture matters.
The firm’s venture capital practice will also use the outpost to serve emerging companies in biotechnology, medical device, information technology, and other high technology sectors in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Firm partners Lisa Mueller and Paul Jenny, who are based in Chicago, and Paul Jones in Madison have been taking turns flying out each week to provide on-site services at an incubator in Maryland for high-tech start-ups.
In Wisconsin, where the firm also has offices in Manitowoc and Waukesha, Michael Best “has become the go-to law firm for all of the big issues facing Republicans,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported last year, describing the relationship as “increasingly cozy.”
The firm defended Walker in suits related to a controversial state law that restricted collective bargaining, advised him when he faced a (unsuccessful) recall, served as counsel to Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin in a redistricting fight, and represented a Republican state Supreme Court justice caught up in an ethics inquiry, according to sibling publication The Am Law Daily. Firm revenue in 2011 was $104 million and profits per partner were $485,000, according to AmLaw.
In Washington, the office will be led by new partner Daniel Sanford, an energy specialist and former deputy general counsel of the American Transmission Co. He’ll be joined by attorneys Anna Wildeman, who focuses on environmental counseling and Brian Marstall, a member of the IP group.
“The Michael Best team has a wealth of experience representing clients’ regulatory needs and my experience is a great complement to the deep knowledge that already exists at the Firm,” Sanford said in a news release. “I am energized and excited to be a part of expanding Michael Best to Washington, D.C.”
Managing partner David Krutz said he expects the office to grow. As for the Walker connection, he said that wasn’t a factor in the decision to open shop in Washington. “The governor has his own plans, that we’re not privy to,” he said.