Lobbying compensation: Ballard Partners narrowly earns No. 1 in Q2
Brian Ballard and Ballard Partners continue global expansion.

Brian Ballard
The Southern Group was a hair behind at No. 2.

Ballard Partners and The Southern Group were once again in a dead heat in Q2, with Ballard holding on to the No. 1 spot by a hair.

Between April 1 and June 30, the firm collected $3.65 million lobbying the Legislature and an additional $2.58 million lobbying the Governor, Cabinet and state agencies. Its $6.23 million total in the second quarter is a slight boost over Q1, when it earned an estimated $6 million.

Founder Brian Ballard and Tallahassee office managing partner Abby Vail oversaw a Q2 where the firm represented nearly 250 clients across its legislative and executive compensation reports.

The Q2 numbers were also good enough for the firm to maintain its No. 1 ranking among all lobbying firms in the state. It has now held the top spot for two consecutive quarters after spending 2021 in second place behind The Southern Group.

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. Firms also are required to report overall earnings ranges. However, firm-level ranges top out at $1 million, a hurdle easily cleared by most Top 10 earning firms.

The Southern Group, led by founder and chairman Paul Bradshaw, only narrowly missed the top spot — just $67,000 separated its grand total from Ballard Partners’.

The firm’s reports show $3.79 million in earnings lobbying the Legislature, which was the highest total in the legislative branch in Q2. Executive earnings came in at $2.37 million for an overall total of $6.16 million for the reporting period.

Despite falling short of the No. 1 spot, The Southern Group’s second-quarter compensation reports are a modest improvement over Q1, when the firm recorded $5.9 million in lobbying revenues.

Capital City Consulting held steady at No. 3 in the second quarter, reporting $4.75 million in lobbying pay.

The 12-member team led by Ron LaFace and INFLUENCE Magazine’s 2021 “Lobbyist of the Year,” Nick Iarossi, represented more than 200 clients last quarter and reported earnings of $2.59 million in the legislative branch and $2.16 million in the executive branch.

The trend of quarter-over-quarter revenue growth applied to CCC as well, which saw its incomes rise by about $250,000 from the first quarter, when it earned an estimated $4.5 million.

GrayRobinson climbed to the No. 4 spot in the first quarter and Q2 numbers show that it managed to hang on to the ranking with $2.65 million in earnings.

The team led by Dean Cannon solidified its position in the Top 5 last year, and has since reported earnings in the ballpark of $2.7 million. It held steady at that level in Q2, reporting $1.38 million in pay lobbying the Legislature and $1.27 million earned lobbying the executive branch.

“I am constantly impressed by the level of enthusiasm, dedication, and resourcefulness our talented team of lawyers and lobbyists bring to the table for each client we serve,” said Cannon. “It is our team’s collective instincts and shared experiences at every level of government that allows us to continue to harness forward momentum for our clients and our firm.”

“It’s thrilling to be among the top-tier lobbying firms in the state of Florida,” said GrayRobinson shareholder Ryan Matthews, who joined the firm along with Angela Drzewiecki from Peebles, Smith & Matthews in January. “Angela and I are proud to be a part of such a highly sought-after legal and lobbying firm where we can work alongside our colleagues and clients to help continue the momentum and growth of the firm. Over the last eight months, the additional legal and lobbying resources we’ve brought to our existing and new clients in local government and the private sector have been invaluable. There is simply no other firm that understands both law and politics like GrayRobinson.”

Ron Book and lobbying partners Rana Brown and Kelly Mallette rounded out the Top 5 with an estimated $2.45 million in pay. Though the trio slipped from the perennial No. 4 in the rankings, they remain the top-earning firm if team size is factored in.

As usual for Book and Co., the reports were heavily weighted toward legislative lobbying. That report showed $1.91 million in revenues while the executive branch report showed $535,000.

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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