Lobbying compensation: GrayRobinson cements Top 5 status with another $2.2M report

The firm is on track to earn $9 million this year.

Law and lobbying firm GrayRobinson posted another Top 5 compensation report for the third quarter.

Firm President Dean Cannon and the 15 lobbyists on the team represented nearly 200 clients during the three-month span ending Sept. 30, earning an estimated $1.1 million lobbying the Legislature and another $1.1 million lobbying the executive branch.

Florida Politics estimates lobbying pay based on the middle number of the per-client ranges firms list on their compensation reports. Contracts are reported in $10,000 increments up to $50,000.

GrayRobinson’s top clients showed up in the $25,000 bracket, and two of them — the Alliance for Safety and Justice and the Hillsborough Clerk of the Court and Comptroller — showed up with $25,000 on each report for a total $50,000 paid in Q3.

Others in the upper echelon: AvMed, Brown & Brown, Centene, the Florida Municipal Electric Association, Lockheed Martin, Management & Training Corporation, NDS-360, Oracle America and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

“It’s an exciting time to be one of the top-tier lobbying firms in the state of Florida,” said Kirk Pepper, a long-time member of the GrayRobinson government affairs and lobbying team. “The size of our firm and the fact that we specialize in both legal and lobbying work sets us apart, but our mix of clients is what truly makes us unique. We represent Fortune 100 companies, cities and counties stretching from Pensacola to Key West, and incredibly impactful non-profits. GrayRobinson has one of the best and most well-rounded groups of clients there is.”

In addition to Cannon and Pepper, the GrayRobinson team includes Christopher Carmody, Carlecia Collins, Larry Cretul, Christopher Dawson, Katie Flury, Allison Goodson, Charles Gray, Rheb Harbison, John Harris, Michael Huey, Ty Jackson, Laura Lenhart, George Levesque, Jessica Love, Ashley Lukis, Kim McDougal, Richard Plotkin, Robert Stuart, Jason Unger and Joseph Salzverg, who was promoted to shareholder during the third quarter.

The firm’s Q3 reports featured dozens of other familiar businesses and associations, including some with workforces larger than a mid-size city.

One of the largest was PepsiCo (and subsidiaries Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Tropicana and Quaker Foods), which employs nearly 300,000 people and ranks as one of the Top 50 companies in the U.S. in terms of revenues.

Another Fortune 500 food-service company on the firm’s Q3 client sheet was Aramark. The company, like PepsiCo, is one of the largest employers in the country and its revenues measure in the double-digit billions. In the same vein, French food-services company Sodexo is also on board. The multinational outfit earns about half of its revenues in the U.S.

GrayRobinson also reps the largest bank in the country: JPMorgan Chase. The financial institution is one of the Top 20 earning companies in the U.S. with nearly $120 billion in annual revenues and more than $3.3 trillion — with a T — in assets.

Their list also includes Deloitte. While the name sparks controversy in the Sunshine State, the UK-based company is one of the top professional services companies in the world in addition to being one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.

While the Fortune 100s in GrayRobinson’s portfolio are certainly eye-catching, the firm has no shortage of Florida-grown clients.

Municipal governments were a significant part of GrayRobinson’s client base, with the firm handling lobbying duties for the city governments in Greenacres, Orlando, Apopka, Belle Isle, Clermont, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Groveland, Hollywood, Key West, Kissimmee, Oviedo, Port St. Lucie, St. Cloud and Tallahassee. County government clients included Gulf, Hendry, Lake, Miami-Dade, Monroe, St. Lucie and Washington.

To top it off, GrayRobinson also represented the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties, two statewide associations that advocate for local governments in a variety of policy areas, with a particular focus on home rule.

Public utilities, which supply power to more than 3 million Floridians, are also a firm specialty. In addition to the aforementioned Florida Municipal Electric Association, GrayRobinson lobbies on behalf of the Clay County Utility Authority, the Florida Municipal Power Agency, JEA and the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission.

The education sector was also well-represented on the roster. Notables include the University of Central Florida, the College of Central Florida, Santa Fe College and the public school systems for a half-dozen counties — including Broward and Hillsborough, which rank as the No. 6 and No. 8 largest school districts nationwide.

Overall, GrayRobinson showed steady revenues for the quarter, matching their Q2 totals in the Legislature and executive branch. Their top-end estimate grew to nearly $3.7 million, up about 5% from the approximately $3.5 million max estimate in Q2.

GrayRobinson has been a constant presence in the top-10 list for quarterly earnings, however, recent quarters have seen them inch into the top-5. And the new numbers suggest their ascent may continue — the firm was only about $250,000 shy of earning the No. 4 spot based on median earnings.

Florida lobbyists and lobbying firms faced a Nov. 14 deadline to file compensation reports for the period covering July 1 through Sept. 30. Compensation reports for the fourth quarter are due to the state on Feb. 14. If GrayRobinson hits the same level in Q4 that it has through the first nine months of the year, it would approach $9 million in annual earnings.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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