April 08, 2013

Lawrence Roberts, Senior Democratic Official and Former Counselor to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, Joins Venable

5 min

Advised on key decisions of Kaine administration, including Rail to Dulles, budget stalemate, major funding initiatives, and response to Virginia Tech tragedy; also served as Chief of Staff to DNC Chairman

Tysons Corner, VA / Washington, DC (April 8, 2013) – Venable LLP announced that Lawrence Roberts, former Counselor to a Virginia Governor, partner at international law firms, and policy advisor to elected officials, has joined the firm as a partner in the Government Affairs Group, resident in the Tysons Corner and Washington, DC offices.
Mr. Roberts has been active for many years in Virginia politics and is closely associated with U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.  Roberts was Campaign Chair and senior strategist for both Mr. Kaine’s 2005 gubernatorial campaign and 2012 Senate campaign. He co-chaired Mr. Kaine’s gubernatorial transition and then served for over three years as Counselor to the Governor in Richmond.  Following Mr. Kaine’s successful Senate election in 2012, Roberts served as senior advisor to the transition team.
From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Roberts held key staff jobs with the Democratic National Committee, first as Chief of Staff to the Chairman and then as senior advisor to the Executive Director during the 2012 presidential election. In those positions, he helped enhance opportunities for traditional and emerging demographic groups and led a nationwide search for the DNC’s Chief Diversity Officer.

Working with leaders from across the country, Mr. Roberts forged a nationwide network of state party leaders, national convention officials and elected officials. He is credited with helping Democratic candidates to national success in 2012, including the re-election of President Obama.
“Larry Roberts knows how to get government working to solve problems,” said Brock Landry, Co-Chair of Venable’s Government Division.  “He has critical senior-level experience at the national, state and local levels and he understands how politics can often shape public policy. During his tenure with Governor Kaine, he was able to navigate legislative, bureaucratic and political minefields to achieve positive results. He also demonstrated an ability to work across party lines to create opportunities for better and more effective government.  He is an outstanding addition to our group.”
As Counselor to Governor Kaine, Mr. Roberts was responsible for advising on key legal, policy, legislative, communications, personnel and political matters affecting Virginia’s highest office.  He also supervised external relations, handled confirmation hearings for cabinet members and served as the Governor’s liaison to the state’s Attorney General as well as the Supreme Court of Virginia. During Mr. Roberts’ time as Virginia’s senior executive branch attorney, the Commonwealth was named the “Best State for Business in America” by Forbes and CNBC and was also recognized as the “Top Performing State Government in America” by Governing magazine.
Among other highlights, his tenure included:

  • shepherding the multibillion-dollar Rail-to-Dulles Project to fruition;
  • handling key transportation funding initiatives;
  • securing approval for a $1.5 billion bond project for higher education construction – the largest capital infusion for colleges and universities in Virginia history;
  • managing the Governor’s response to the state’s budget stalemate in 2006;
  • coordinating the state’s response to the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy in 2007, including assisting in the implementation of the Virginia Tech Review Panel’s recommendations, resolving the vast majority of legal claims without litigation, and coordinating assistance to victims and their families; and
  • supervising the Vice Presidential vetting process for Governor Kaine and First Lady Holton.

At the end of his tenure as Counselor, Governor Kaine stated that “Larry Roberts deserves real praise for his service to the Commonwealth, as he has consistently provided me with wise counsel across a range of issues while focusing on how state government can achieve meaningful results in people's lives. Over the years, Larry has quietly tackled some very challenging issues – most notably the Commonwealth's response to the tragedy at Virginia Tech – and I am pleased that he will be able to continue his record of success and thoughtful counsel at the DNC.”

Mr. Roberts has held a number of additional senior posts in legal and government circles during his career.  He served as President of the Federal Communications Bar Association, as founding Chairman of the FCBA’s successful charitable foundation, and as a member of the Virginia Public Broadcasting Board, appointed by Governor Mark Warner.  He also served as Chair of the campaign for voter approval of the issuance of Arlington County Public School bonds.

Mr. Roberts joins a Venable legislative group with deep experience in federal and state government affairs, including matters affecting the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Among the partners in the Tysons Corner office is John Milliken, who served as Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Larry to our Tysons Corner office. He’s shown great leadership in state government, while handling some of the biggest crises faced by the Commonwealth in recent years and helping set a course for a strong economic recovery,” said Mr. Milliken, who also served as Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Port Authority.  “Our clients will gain tremendously from his experience and insights on legislative and policy matters affecting businesses, communities and residents across the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

In joining the firm, Mr. Roberts said “Venable is well known for its exceptional government affairs and legislative practice, and is one of the few firms to have a top federal and regional team.” He added that “Venable also boasts experience working with clients in regulated industries, from energy to financial services, telecommunications and advertising. The firm has a strong Tysons Corner presence, with some of the best attorneys in the region. I am impressed with Venable’s desire to expand its reach in Virginia, and am happy to join the team.”

Prior to working in government and politics, Mr. Roberts was a successful lawyer in private practice for more than 20 years, including partnerships with the Skadden Arps and Davis Wright Tremaine international law firms.
Mr. Roberts received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. from the University of Virginia.


Note: An American Lawyer 100 law firm, Venable serves corporate, institutional, governmental, nonprofit and individual clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in California, Maryland, New York, Virginia and Delaware, Venable LLP lawyers and legislative advisors serve the needs of our domestic and global clients in all areas of corporate and business law, and complex litigation.