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Government Relations & Public Law - California

Mayer Brown’s California government team represents clients at the statewide level and before government bodies throughout California.

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Mayer Brown’s California government team represents clients at the statewide level and before government bodies throughout California. We counsel clients on government contracts, land use, state and local legislative initiatives, regulatory and enforcement matters and litigation involving federal, state and local governments. Our lawyers are highly experienced in advising clients on transportation, emerging technologies, health care, gaming, telecommunications and election law issues.

Following are select examples of the comprehensive range of matters on which we advise clients:

  • Government contracts, including procurement advice, compliance and bid protests
  • Land use entitlements and environmental compliance
  • Legislative and ballot measure strategy and drafting
  • Consensus building and coalition formation
  • Monitoring and analysis of legislative and regulatory proposals
  • Issue advocacy before legislative and executive branch leaders and staffers
  • Regulatory compliance, oversight, licensing and related filings
  • Government grants and economic development incentives
  • California Public Records Act, Brown Act and other open-government laws
  • Government ethics matters, lobbying regulations and political contribution limitations
  • Financing transactions in regulated industries
  • Merger and acquisition regulatory approval
  • License transfers accompanying changes in corporate ownership and control

Government Relations & Public Law

To successfully conduct business that involves California government demands an experienced team. Many of our lawyers have held high-ranking elected and appointed government positions, providing us with an insider’s view of how laws and regulations affect business activities and transactions in the state. Members of our team have served as US secretary of commerce, US trade representative, California attorney general, Los Angeles County district attorney, US attorney for California’s Central District, chief counsel and deputy administrator for the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, City of Los Angeles transportation commissioner, senior counsel to a California congresswoman, deputy director of Los Angeles World Airports and a high-ranking official in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

We are intimately familiar with the legal, political and economic considerations of conducting business with California government entities and can help clients understand and comply with these unique requirements. The result is an exceptional ability to achieve legislative, regulatory and policy outcomes that benefit our clients.

Government Contracts

Doing business with the government can involve special challenges that require experienced counsel. At Mayer Brown, we understand the opportunities and challenges of contracting with federal, state and local government agencies. Our lawyers regularly advise clients on government contracting and procurement matters, including contract disclosures and requirements for minority- and women-owned businesses and living or prevailing wages. We also work with clients to negotiate, interpret and administer government contracts.

Our lawyers provide end-to-end advice to private clients seeking to do business with state and local governments, including assistance with the application and bid process, disclosures, concession agreements, RFQ and RFP question-and-answer periods, MBE/WBE requirements, use of subcontractors and bid protests (which are increasingly common, particularly at the local level).

Our experience representing government entities in multiple first-of-their-kind transactions and procurements enables us to fully understand the procurement process from the government’s perspective and has been a successful formula for our private clients. Our state and local procurement services span a myriad of industries. We have deep experience in addressing clients’ state and local procurement needs in relation to in construction, transportation, infrastructure, public works, information technology, financial services, telecommunications and real estate. As state and local governments adopt more stringent procurement guidelines, we help simplify and navigate the process, ensuring that our clients meet every necessary requirement while compiling competitive bids.

Our California team includes some of the most respected and experienced protest lawyers in the state, having represented clients in protests before the City and County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles World Airports, the Port of Los Angeles  and the City and County of San Francisco and California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), among others.

Land Use

Mayer Brown’s Land Use practice in California advises clients in an effective, cost-efficient manner with regard to the full range of legal and political issues that routinely arise in the course of entitling and developing a project. With support from lawyers from the firm’s Government Relations, Real Estate and Environmental practices, our results-oriented approach has allowed us to obtain entitlements in even the most controversial and complex development projects.

Our team is experienced in all stages of real estate and land use projects, including planning, permitting, financing and, when necessary, asserting or protecting our clients’ rights in court. Our involvement ranges from providing strategic advice on a particular legal or political issue to serving as the project manager on complicated or controversial projects. We work seamlessly with existing project teams, adapting our level of services and approach to the circumstances of each project. In addition, our lawyers leverage their relationships with premier architectural, engineering and environmental firms in order to assemble the best possible team of design professionals and consultants.

Land use issues have a public component, and Mayer Brown’s lawyers have years of experience working with governmental bodies and are therefore able to help our clients navigate changing regulatory environments. Our government experience allows us to understand the political and administrative staff-level realities that arise during the course of land use work.

Election Law

Mayer Brown advises clients on federal, state and local campaign finance and lobbying compliance and related filings. Our team has helped clients form and maintain internal compliance programs, craft statewide public information campaigns, draft successful local and state ballot measures, and advise on ballot qualification and campaign rules.

Transportation

Our lawyers have deep experience in the transportation industry, having held senior positions in the US Department of Transportation. We work at the cutting edge of transportation, advising clients in emerging areas such as  peer-to-peer ridesharing services, electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles. We also are currently advising the California High Speed Rail Authority on its plans for a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Health Care

We combine the significant resources, experience and legal skills of our lawyers to develop innovative and practical approaches to serving our clients in complex health care markets. We counsel numerous clients regarding health care reform developments on the national and state levels. We also represent clients in connection with alleged violations of food and drug laws and state attorneys general matters.

Our California Government lawyers regularly perform policy analysis and research in connection to health care issues. For example, our California team has represented a national healthcare trade association for more than 10 years, helping it gain enactment of favorable laws in more than 35 states, as well as approval of a model state law by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. We also represented another leading health care provider trade association in landmark litigation concerning scope of practice rights. And our team helped a client obtain one of the first Knox-Keene licenses granted to a discount health care program.

Gaming

Gaming is a highly regulated and scrutinized industry, and our California Government lawyers are knowledgeable about both the business and regulatory issues associated with gaming enterprises. In collaboration with our Government Relations, Corporate, Finance, Real Estate and Litigation practices, we help gaming owners, managers, vendors and operators comply with the gaming industry’s complex regulatory schemes. Our clients include publicly traded, government-controlled and privately held companies, as well as individuals and associations of Native American tribes and gaming equipment suppliers.

Our lawyers have extensive experience advising on the regulation of Indian tribal gaming under both state law and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, including drafting and negotiating tribal gaming compacts and related agreements and ballot measures to advance tribal gaming interests. We have been engaged by Indian gaming associations to draft ballot measures extending gaming compacts, drafted a statewide ballot initiative on behalf of Indian tribes seeking to clarify the status of their gaming activities and advised tribes outside of California regarding potential ballot measures affecting tribal gaming. We have also counseled and advised Indian tribes on other gaming-related matters, including proposed federal gaming legislation and actions of the National Indian Gaming Commission, local development issues, election law advice relating to gaming interests and federal lobbying laws relative to federal gaming legislative issues.

We assist industry participants in determining the applicability of licensing requirements and, where required, obtaining and renewing licenses. We counsel on compliance with gaming laws and regulations, and frequently appear before state gaming regulatory bodies. Our lawyers advise on the legality of gaming-related activity in new markets and on opportunities for expansion into new gaming platforms that are subject to evolving legal standards.

Building on our extensive e-commerce and payments experience, Mayer Brown has advised clients on the unique legal, regulatory and operational issues facing virtual gaming enterprises. We have represented several leading Internet casino companies, the InterActive Gaming Council (the global trade association fro the online gaming industry) and intermediaries providing consulting, technology and payment solutions to the online gaming industry.

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