Government & Public Affairs

Accomplish your goals with a team that knows the lay of the land.

Downs Rachlin Martin’s experienced and dedicated Government Affairs team can help you successfully navigate the people and issues involved in legislative and regulatory matters.

Gavel-to-Gavel Legislative Coverage.

Downs Rachlin Martin’s Government Affairs team — John Hollar, Joe Choquette, Lucie Garand  and Becky Lewandoski — knows the legislative process and the people who shape it. Together, we have decades of experience making a difference for our clients. 

We provide continual coverage of legislative deliberations and help legislative clients to monitor the bills that affect them, and influence key decisions.  Benefits include:

  • advice from senior public policy advisers, who know the process.
  • continual coverage of legislative committees, news conferences, floor debates, and Statehouse strategies.
  • a weekly Statehouse report for clients only, regarded as one of the best in the state.
  • counsel based upon years of successful representation of a broad range of clients and industries. 
  • effective access to decision makers with meticulous attention to high ethical standards.

Comprehensive Strategies.

Identifying priorities and careful planning are essential to success in the public policy arena. The Downs Rachlin Martin Government Affairs team is on the ground in Montpelier year-round. Our senior advisers help clients to understand the process and the people that drive state government.  

Liaison to State Regulatory Agencies.

Client issues don’t always require a new rule or a new law. Sometimes, the solution is knowing whom to call and knowing what to say. Down Rachlin Martin’s Government Affairs team stays abreast of changes in state agencies and their leaders. We match client problems with the right public resources.

We Practice What We Preach.

Downs Rachlin Martin’s Government Affairs team understands that the best way to engage the decision makers is to be personally involved with the things that matter.

Working in Government.

  • John Hollar was appointed by the State Senate to serve on the Educational Opportunities Working Group.
  • Joe Choquette serves on the Petroleum Cleanup Fund Advisory Committee.
  • Lucie Garand has served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council and Vermont’s Harassment, Hazing and Bullying Advisory Council, which provides resources and support to schools.

Involved in the Community.

  • John Hollar serves as mayor of Montpelier. He served as chair of the Montpelier School Board from 2002 to 2010.
  • John Hollar and Joe Choquette are active members of the Montpelier Rotary Club.

Local roots, global reach.

Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC is a full-service, regional law firm. As clients’ needs expand into other areas of law, the firm’s wide range of focused knowledge and experience and commitment to vigorous collaboration across practice areas can provide seamless, cost-effective legal representation.

As the exclusive member firm for Vermont of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of independent law firms, DRM has immediate entrée to more than 20,000 lawyers in 160 prominent and successful law firms with more than 600 offices in 120 countries. The firm’s association with Lex Mundi gives DRM’s clients the added benefits of: 

  • access to local market knowledge and experience
  • relevant industry focus 
  • sound business and language skills
  • responsive service

Downs Rachlin Martin's uncommon value.

DRM’s New England location attracts lawyers and legal professionals with world-class talent who choose high-quality lifestyles in the smaller cities and towns of Vermont and New Hampshire. For DRM’s clients, that means you get the personal attention and value associated with a law firm located outside high-cost metropolitan areas, without sacrificing talent, depth or quality. 

To explore how DRM’s Public and Government Affairs group can help you deal with public and government affairs or crisis communication, contact practice group co-chairs John Hollar and Joe Choquette.

Recent Accomplishments

Downs Rachlin Martin's Government Affairs team knows how to get things done in the Statehouse. Here are some recent examples:

  • Successfully supported a three percent increase in Medicaid payments to health care providers to reduce the cost shift to private payers and thereby lower private insurance costs.
  • Helped persuade lawmakers to create a new program to credit a major manufacturer for the value of voluntary greenhouse gas emission reductions created by innovative changes in the manufacturing process.
  • Defeated legislation that would have imposed unique refund requirements on credit card companies doing business in Vermont.  Negotiated a compromise that was acceptable to both the industry and the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Defeated a bill that would have increased workers’ compensation costs by extending benefits to workers after they recover and making it more difficult and costly to settle workers’ compensation liens when workers sue third parties.
  • Convinced lawmakers to allow insurance agents and brokers to be appropriately compensated for advising clients regarding the health insurance exchange.
  • Successfully advocated for the awarding of court costs and attorneys fees to the party who substantially prevails in a lawsuit over access to public records that have been withheld by a government agency.
  • Persuaded lawmakers to establish a taxpayer advocate who will work to help taxpayers and to make further recommendations to level the playing field between the state and its taxpayers when taxpayers challenge tax department decisions.
  • Successfully lobbied for legislation that will allow a projected surplus in the Universal Service Fund to be distributed to incumbent local exchange carriers to compensate them for fulfilling their statutory obligation to act as providers of last resort.
  • Guided a national coalition of electronic and financial services providers through negotiations with state government toward an acceptable state policy dealing with security breaches of electronic records.
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