Nick Allard, the Democratic co-chairman of Patton Boggs’ lobbying practice, is leaving K Street for academia. The longtime lobbyist and one-time Hill staffer will be named dean of Brooklyn Law School today.
He starts his new job July 1.
“This is very exciting,” he said. “I’m a New Yorker. My wife is a New Yorker. This is like going home.”
Allard, who did his undergraduate work at Princeton and got his law degree at Yale, acknowledged that the move may seem unusual for a D.C. lobbyist.
“Some people might be scratching their heads,” Allard said. “But I think in 25 years that there’ll be more law school deans that have similar practice experiences.”
Those experiences include stints as the top aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and as a Judiciary Committee staff member for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). He also worked full time on Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
But he got his start in Washington in private practice at the firm Kaye Scholer, where he worked for former Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.), his mentor. He later worked at Latham & Watkins and joined Patton Boggs in January 2005.
Throughout that time, Allard dabbled in the academic sector, serving as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and George Mason’s law school. The former Rhodes scholar frequently speaks at law schools around the country. One of his regular topics: that lobbying is an honorable profession.
Allard said he is working out an arrangement with Patton Boggs so that he will still “have a foot in the door” at the city’s largest lobbying practice.
“I think what we’re doing down here — Washington lawyers, Washington lobbyists — you’re problem solving,” he said. “That’s what’s needed in a very challenging time in legal education.”
Law schools, he said, have a dual mission of teaching professional training and focusing on the scholarly perspective, and that balance is not always easy to strike.
“Any law school would be lucky to have Nick,” Tom Boggs, Patton Boggs’ chairman, said in a statement. “As a partner at Patton Boggs, he has demonstrated that he has the vision and skills needed to lead a major law school into the future at an important and challenging time.”
There is no word yet on any Allard replacement at the firm.
“I’ve done pretty well in the day-to-day practice of law,” Allard said. “But I’m looking for an opportunity to make a difference and put something back. This is a way that makes sense for me, fits my skill sets. That’s the motivation. Some people say I’m crazy.”