Government Affairs

The laws that govern citizens are constantly changing; therefore, it is important to have an attorney who can represent your needs in the government arena. Our attorneys at HBS are ready to help you understand these changing laws and to assist you by working with local, state, and federal government officials to craft good policy.

Government Affairs is a vacillating area in the practice of law–constantly changing and growing ever more complicated. At Hall Booth Smith, our Government Affairs Practice Group stays current on global issues, federal, state and local legislation as well as other government actions in order to help our clients know how to properly deal with government affairs in a timely and economical manner. As part of our continued dedication to building businesses and innovation within Georgia, HBS is now an official corporate member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) www.tagonline.org. Because our attorneys are actively involved in various areas of government, we represent our clients by providing personal, professional, and pertinent knowledge you need to make appropriate decisions concerning legislative, regulatory, and legal concerns. HBS Government Affairs also continues to serve on the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council.

HBS attorneys focus much of our government affairs practice on regulated businesses such as utilities, energy and trade associations, telecommunication companies, healthcare, local governments, and non-profit organizations. We represent clients before the Georgia General Assembly, the Public Service Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Georgia Department of Insurance, as well as other state commissions and agencies. HBS attorneys provide a complete array of services to our clients for all your regulatory and government affairs needs including:

  • Monitoring and advocacy with regard to the budget, supplemental budget, and amendments
  • Monitoring specific legislation
  • Drafting legislation and amendments
  • Covering or testifying at committee meetings
  • Monitoring regulatory agencies
  • Intervening / litigating administrative proceedings
  • Interacting with legislative leaders concerning client needs

The individual involvement of our attorneys in the area of government affairs provides the strength of our practices. Our attorneys have served or currently serve in the following roles:

  • Members of Georgia Chamber of Commerce (Governmental Affairs Council)
  • 11th Congressional District Chairman
  • Counsel, State Senate Judiciary Committee (2010 Session)
  • Deputy Legislative Counsel to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (2008-2009)
  • Members of Georgia Association of Water Professionals
  • Past president of Atlanta Young Republicans
  • Coverdell Leadership Institute graduates
  • Retired State Senator, 12th District of Georgia

State level Governmental Affairs representatives:

  • Governor’s press secretary
  • Chair of Ethics committee, Minority Leader, and Chair of Special Judiciary Committee for two terms
  • County Attorney for six Georgia Counties
  • City Attorney for five Georgia Cities
  • Legislative Aide to Congressman from GA  9th Congressional District
  • Legislative Liaison for Georgia for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law since 1998

Our attorneys have handled the entire gamut of governmental issues our clients have encountered.  Our understanding of the complexities of government affairs is evident in our handling of cases representing almost every facet of government affairs including:

  • Regulated Businesses
  • Energy and telecommunications utilities
  • Healthcare
  • Real estate
  • Local government
  • Insurance
  • Non-Profits and Trade Association
  • Civil rights claims
  • Permit compliance issues
  • Water supply reservoirs
  • Negotiations with regulatory officials
  • Organization of press events and press conferences
  • Governmental regulations claims
  • Security protocols
  • CERCLA & State Environmental Claims

We have served as and maintain excellent relationships with elected officials, appointed officials, and agency staffs in order to provide expertise and counsel in specific areas to better assist  you in your endeavors.

With professional integrity and skill, HBS has successfully served many entities with their governmental issues.  Some of our successful outcomes include:

  • Successfully resolved a number of civil rights claims filed against the City of Atlanta resulting from arrests and security protocols (including those taken by the Department of Homeland Security) occurring at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
  • Testified before numerous legislative committees
  • Successfully presenting Senate Bill for debate & passage before applicable House Committee on behalf of Committee Chairman
  • Briefed the state senate leadership on pending legislation
  • Provided analysis on hundreds of bills
  • Successfully represented clients in front of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
  • Successfully represented MEAG Power, Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, BFI, banking and financial entities and others before the Georgia General Assembly, Congress and the Georgia Public Service Commission
  • Have been instrumental in the development and passage of such major pieces of legislation as
    • Revised Article 9, the Civil Justice Reform Act of 2003
    • The Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act and the Uniform Athletes Agents Act
    • Revised Article 7; Single – factor Corporate Income on tax
    • The creation of the Cities of Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, and Milton
    • Anti – metals theft legislation
    • Legislation seeking to shore-up and solve Georgia’s water shortage.
    • Tax incentives for renewable energy
    • Conservation use valuation easement reform

Matt Towery is Chairman of the Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice at Hall Booth Smith, P.C. He is a native of Atlanta, is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, political analyst, pollster and attorney. He also has served as CEO of numerous companies, including, when sold, the largest sheet fed commercial printing company in the Southeast.

Related Industries

Energy, Utilities and Power Systems

Hall Booth Smith provides comprehensive service, representing energy industry clients in a broad array of matters, including transactions, business operations, regulatory compliance, finance, tax, and litigation challenges.

Representing a wide variety of clients, including owners and developers of energy projects, energy producers, suppliers and consumers, municipal and investor-owned utilities, joint-action agencies, electric cooperatives, industrial end-users, independent power producers, and natural gas companies we help our clients identify and leverage business opportunities, establish and implement long-term strategic business plans, manage risk, assure regulatory compliance, and devise effective solutions to the many challenges arising in their constantly evolving industry.

We offer strategic guidance throughout the life cycle of our clients’ businesses, assist with lobby efforts and government relations, and assure that our clients’ interests are protected. As national coordinating counsel for a major insurance company on all of its catastrophic electric line contact cases, we are particularly knowledgeable about and adept at handling insurance issues affecting the industry.

HBS Energy attorneys are members of industry organizations, frequently speak on energy-related issues and regularly monitor legislative, judicial and regulatory developments and industry trends in order to help our clients effectively integrate these changes into their business practices, policies, regulatory compliance efforts and approach to litigation.


Entertainment

Representing creative minds and creative businesses,  Hall Booth Smith provides clients with the business advice and legal guidance needed to succeed in the ever-evolving multimedia entertainment marketplace.

From day-to-day business operations and management advice to transactional guidance and dispute resolution, our attorneys help those in the entertainment industry manage talent and preserve, protect and actualize their entertainment property and services. We have critical access to key players in the entertainment industry and provide clients with the business-oriented and dedicated legal advice needed to thrive.

Transactional and litigation attorneys work together seamlessly, handling all of our clients’ legal needs and helping them achieve their goals. Our experience is diverse and includes advising clients regarding music, film, television, software, books and other print media, advertising, and graphic, visual and performing arts, social media and gaming, negotiating the full range of transaction documents and industry agreements, and litigating disputes. We assure that our clients’ creativity and their rights in creative works are fully protected.

As active members of various respected industry-leading societies, including NARAS, CMA,  we remain at the forefront of industry trends and legal developments. Our attorneys speak regularly on industry panels, contribute as writers to respected industry publications and serve on boards of several industry non-profit organizations.


Food & Agriculture

Scientific developments, technological efficiencies, global trade, and government support and regulation have changed food and fiber production in the United States into a sophisticated and complex business. From a farmer’s field to a consumer’s kitchen table, complicated legal issues now arise for growers, agribusinesses, distributors, brokers, and food retailers. Hall Booth Smith (HBS) specializes in providing legal counsel to and litigation and regulatory advocacy for farmers and agribusinesses.

Because most of our Agriculture Law Practice Group attorneys either grew up on a farm, earned degrees in agriculture, or have spent their careers counseling farmers and agribusinesses, our specific and keen understanding of the business practices and needs of farmers and agribusinesses superiorly position us to handle any agricultural matter. With six offices located throughout Georgia and offices in South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida, we couple the expertise and reputation of a large firm with the accessibility of a local firm.

The legal issues farmers and agribusinesses face are often unique to the agriculture sector. For example, HBS handles issues for buyers and sellers under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), a complex federal statute which establishes a code of fair business practices that protects businesses dealing in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. In many cases, the laws relevant to the issues facing agriculturists arise out of the laws and regulations that are applicable to any contract, insurance policy, property right, business organization, or succession plan.


Retail and Hospitality

HBS helps hospitality industry clients both maximize their financial return and meet consumer service expectations.

Subject to a host of federal, state, county and municipal laws, regulations and code requirements and facing economic, real estate, employment and customer challenges, restaurants, hotels, leisure resorts, recreational facilities and other hospitality businesses turn to HBS for guidance. Our Hospitality lawyers are experienced advising on all aspects of hospitality businesses, from project conception and regulatory guidance through financing, development, operations and dispute resolution.

Whether addressing a labor and employment, transactional, privacy law, food and beverage, real estate or construction matter or attempting to resolve an issue involving employee benefits and compensation, intellectual property, data protection or potential liability, we advise our clients each step of the way, helping them leverage opportunities and avoid attendant risks. We vigilantly monitor the evolving regulatory and legal framework impacting our clients, to make sure that they are prepared for the future.

Our team of experienced litigators regularly handle claims for our hospitality industry clients in courts of all levels and has successfully defended class actions, multi-district litigation, personal injury claims, construction disputes and a wide variety of other matters. With a former State Senator and active government affairs attorneys, we are also adept at representing hospitality industry clients regarding their legal, regulatory and government affair challenges.


Education

Hall Booth Smith provides transactional and operational counsel as well as investigative and litigation services to a wide variety of public and private school entities, their administrators and boards, and others involved with the education sector. We have represented K-12 educational institutions, colleges and universities, school district board members, administrators and staff, handling the full range of school-related issues they encounter, including civil rights, First Amendment rights, student discipline, school violence, special education, testing/promotion, access to student records, and fraternity and sorority matters. Our Education lawyers also advise on and resolve employment and labor issues including teacher evaluations, remediation and discipline, teacher dismissals, at-will employment, sexual harassment, and Title VII, as well as represent professional educators in internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings and other matters related to their employment.

Recognizing that the most effective solution is prevention, we review our clients’ existing policies and help them devise risk avoidance strategies and comprehensive rules, policies, and procedures to minimize their exposure. As an added value, HBS lawyers offer training programs to assure that our clients’ administrators, school board members, school system officials, educators, and staff fully understand the rules and the importance of compliance. Through these workshops, attendees learn to readily identify and address issues and concerns before they become problems.


Government & Municipalities

With a team of former and current government leaders , and those actively involved in various areas of government, HBS offers comprehensive representation and advice to those in government, including states, counties, cities, non-profits and other related industries.

Our team members are regarded as among the most influential leaders in the state of Georgia and are repeatedly recognized for their work on behalf of clients in the government arena. Regularly interacting with legislative leaders concerning client needs, we maintain close working relationships with elected officials, appointed officials, and agency staff, enhancing our ability to provide expertise and counsel. Leveraging our connections, regulatory know-how and legal experience, we work with local, county and state government officials to craft good policy and address our clients’ legislative, regulatory and legal concerns.

HBS attorneys assist clients with the full range of local, county and state government affairs, regulatory matters, lobbying efforts, and political and campaign finance issues. Understanding the regulatory framework which affects our clients’ business operations, we are particularly adept at helping related regulated industries such as utilities, energy and trade associations, telecommunication companies, health care, insurance, local governments, and nonprofit organizations with compliance matters.


Insurance

From appraisals, coverage, claims and adjusting issues to drafting and review of insurance policy, regulatory compliance advice and dispute resolution, HBS assists insurance industry clients with resolving the many challenges they face.

In addition to managing risk and defending liability claims, we regularly advise clients on the full range of insurance products, services, and coverages, including general liability, automotive, life, property and casualty, director and officers’ liability, professional malpractice, errors & omissions coverage, business interruption and environmental, cyber-risk and other specialty coverages and exclusions.

Our lawyers represent clients in courts of all levels throughout the United States, litigating class actions, multiparty and multi-district cases as well as individual lawsuits involving virtually every type of claim, coverage, fraud and bad faith action. We handle regulatory investigations and enforcement actions and are experienced with all forms of alternative dispute resolution. Active insurance coverage attorneys in the international insurance markets, we also help domestic clients gain access to the overseas market and assist foreign insurers in managing their domestic litigation.

As industry leaders, HBS Insurance Coverage lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in the field of insurance. Team members regularly write and lecture on insurance and property ISU issues, and are active members in insurance industry groups. As a value-added, we offer clients employee training to help their staff understand the laws and regulatory requirements impacting their industry and strategies to minimize risk exposure.


Transportation

Hall Booth Smith has decades of experience providing transportation industry clients with comprehensive, strategic business and regulatory advice and effective legal representation.

Our firm represents a wide array of entities in transportation-related litigation, including owner-operators, insurers, insureds and various self-insurance funds, as well as aviation companies, oil and gas companies and railroads.

HBS attorneys have counseled transportation industry clients regarding virtually every issue affecting the industry and have litigated disputes throughout the country on nearly every facet of transportation law.

We also regularly work with clients to devise, implement and enforce risk avoidance strategies. Applying the experience gained from decades litigating industry-related disputes, we offer clients effective and cost-efficient representation in courts as well as before government agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, state Departments of Transportation, and other regulatory bodies.