FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business


Capital Move

Foley & Lardner, the Chicago-based firm with offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Tallahassee, hasn't been particularly well known for its presence in the state capital. But that's about to change, judging by the way it's snapping up officials on their way out the door of Gov. Jeb Bush's administration.

In July and August, Foley's Tallahassee office hired outgoing Department of Management Services Secretary Robert Hosay and Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise, the top litigator to Attorney General Charlie Crist. The office also hired Michael Harrell, a leading GOP lobbyist.

All three men say Foley attracted them with the commitment that they could build a public affairs/government practice from the ground up. Harrell will head up public affairs. Hosay will focus on government procurement. Kise, who's successfully argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, will help build a national appellate practice. "The idea is to position cases at the trial level for potential appeal ... to not wait for the multimilliondollar verdict before you start to work on your appellate strategy," Kise says. "I don't think there are many firms out there providing that level of service, from procurement to appellate work."

Tom Maida, Foley's managing partner in Tallahassee, says the three hires are the first in a buildup that will include not only government relations, but healthcare law and energy law. The fact that all three are major Crist supporters isn't lost on Maida. But that part, he says, is coincidence. He says he's been trying to hire Harrell since 1999, but the timing was never right. "With these three hires, you're really seeing the fruits of patience pay off," he says.

"We're not building a partisan firm," adds Harrell. "If they're good and they fit in to this niche we're trying to build, we'll go after them full speed."