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In another boost to its public policy practice, Venable LLP announced that Catherine P. Bennett, an experienced government affairs lawyer and lobbyist for Pfizer, Inc., has joined the firm as a partner in the Legislative practice in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bennett spent 27 years with Pfizer, where she most recently served as vice president of government relations.

Joining Pfizer in 1978 as an assistant director of government relations, Ms. Bennett eventually became one of the company’s key representatives on Capitol Hill.  She was directly responsible for framing Pfizer’s positions on taxation, international trade and intellectual property, as well as drug importation, international price controls, and even judicial reform. 

Ms. Bennett worked on a number of important pieces of legislation, including the seminal 1984 Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (Hatch-Waxman) and the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, along with a dozen different extensions of the Research and Development Tax Credit.  She also led Pfizer's lobbying strategies on international tax reform, asbestos litigation reform, patent law reform and FDA/drug regulation reform issues. From 2004-2006, she served as an aide to then Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell, in his role as chairman of the Business Roundtable.

In 2005, Ms. Bennett played a lead role in the successful conclusion of negotiations on an amendment to the WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, an area where she had been actively involved for many years.

Prior to joining Pfizer, Ms. Bennett worked on staff of the National Security Council and was responsible for legislation impacting national security issues for the White House. She also served as primary liaison with the congressional relations offices of both the State and Defense Departments. While with the National Security Council in the mid-1970s, she came to know Henry Kissinger, who at the time was both Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Ford as well as U.S. Secretary of State. After her time at the White House, Ms. Bennett conducted research for Dr. Kissinger’s memoir, The White House Years.

At Venable, Ms. Bennett will bring her vast legislative experience to the firm’s extensive pharmaceutical client base – Venable represents several of the country’s largest branded drug manufacturers as well as emerging bio-tech companies, established healthcare providers, and nutritional supplement companies. Given the breadth of her legislative experience she will be able to assist clients in a broad range of industries.

“I have known Cathie personally and professionally for the last 25 years and have the utmost respect for her work, and her deep understanding of the legislative and policy workings of Washington,” said Brock Landry, manager of Venable’s Government and Regulatory Affairs Division.

“In addition to knowing senior lawmakers and staff from both sides of the aisle, she has a tremendous grasp of substantive policy matters across a wide span of important business issues, by no means limited to pharmaceuticals. We expect her to play an important  role in our work on tax policy, international trade matters, healthcare, and intellectual property.”

“There are very few in-house government affairs jobs that could compete with the position I had at Pfizer – the company was at the forefront of so many critical areas of commerce, trade, innovation, and public health,” Ms. Bennett said.

“I felt that for the next stage of my career, I wanted to apply my nearly 30 years of public policy and regulatory experience to a broad base of high quality businesses and institutions. Venable has one of Washington’s preeminent legislative groups as well as superb attorneys and government affairs professionals. Those qualities, along with a growing national reputation, made Venable particularly appealing.”

Ms. Bennett is chairman emeritus and former chairman of the board of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation. A cancer survivor herself, she also serves on the advisory board of the National Dialogue on Cancer (C-Change).

On other fronts, she has served as an advisor to the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Commerce and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Ms. Bennett earned her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown International Law Center (1987). She holds a B.A. fromSmith College (1972) and an M.A. in International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1975).

One of the American Lawyer’s top 100 law firms, Venable LLP has attorneys practicing in all areas of corporate and business law, complex litigation, intellectual property and government affairs. Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in California, Maryland, New York and Virginia. For more, visit www.Venable.com.