Raben didn’t even rent office space during his first year in business, prefering instead to work from wherever he was.
“There’s a lot of focus on mothers doing it, but a lot of dads do it,” said Feehery, who has two children. “You do what you’ve got to do. I’ve done conference calls from the pediatrician’s office. That’s tough because you’ve got to be on mute since the kids are crying. As a matter of fact, I had to do that last week.”
Ilisa Halpern Paul, who heads a team of more than a dozen lobbyists at Drinker Biddle & Reath, said that senior-level lobbyists in her shop get flexibility.
“A lot of people consider lobbying and government relations solely a contact sport,” she said. “When you need to be doing face-to-face meetings or relationship building, you need to be on the Hill or at the agencies. But a lot of the work doesn’t require being in any specific place.”
Sometimes Paul and her folks are walking the halls of Congress, cramming from the Rayburn cafeteria, drafting a memo from their basements or working in their offices on K Street. She has one team member who splits his time between Florida and Washington.
Similarly, Stephanie Silverman, who runs Venn Strategies, has a full-time lobbyist based in Madison, Wis.
“I think it’s wise in our business to have flexibility,” Silverman said. “We don’t have regular business hours. There’s weekend travel, late-night events, early mornings. Sometimes people just need to stay home to work at a slower pace to recharge their batteries.”
Rich Gold, who runs the lobbying practice at Holland & Knight, said that giving employees the flexibility to work remotely helps his shop attract and retain top talent from the Hill.
But if he’s lobbied you, you might want to stop reading now.
“I’m a strong believer in actually naturalist lobbying,” Gold said, setting up a joke. “I like to be at home totally naked and call staff and talk through policy issues. I’m a big work-at-home guy from that perspective. You can quote me on that.”
Turning serious, he said his firm’s philosophy is “we don’t care where you are, we care what you do.”
So it’s no surprise that one of the more unusual places from which Gold has held a client call was “from out on my boat on Lake Winnipesaukee” in New Hampshire.