Covington & Burling

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Group.png Covington & Burling  
(Law firm, Deep state milieuPowerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Covington and burling.png
Founder• J. Harry Covington
• Edward B. Burling
HeadquartersWashington, USA
Member ofCentre for European Policy Studies/Corporate Members, Council on Foreign Relations/Corporate Members
Sponsor ofCenter for Global Development
Membership• David Campion Acheson
• Brad Smith
• Dean Acheson
• Donald Alexander
• Richard S. Arnold
• Howard Berman
• Stephanos Bibas
• John R. Bolton
• Kit Bond
• Michael Boudin
• Steven G. Bradbury
• Lanny Breuer
• William Bundy
• Vince Girdhari Chhabria
• Abram Chayes
• Michael Chertoff
• W. Graham Claytor Jr.
• Christopher Reid Cooper
• John Sherman Cooper
• Malik R. Dahlan
• Roderick Allen DeArment
• Joan Donoghue
• John W. Douglas
• John C. Dugan
• Stuart E. Eizenstat
• Leecia Eve
• Adrian S. Fisher
• Roger Fisher
• Ivan K. Fong
• Gerhard Gesell
• Haywood Stirling Gilliam Jr.
• Jack L. Goldsmith
• Lino Graglia
• Coleman Hicks
• Donald Hiss
• Eric Holder
• Charles Antone Horsky
• Philip K. Howard
• Nicholas Johnson
• Michael Karlan
• Harold Hongju Koh
• Alex Kozinski
• Jon Kyl
• Robert D. Lenhard
• Robert Lighthizer
• Eugene Ludwig
• Kenneth W. Mack
• Gerard Magliocca
• David Marchick
• Burke Marshall
• James C. McKay
• David E. McGiffert
• Roderick R. McKelvie
• Richard Meserve
• Alfred H. Moses
• David Nason
• Dawn Clark Netsch
• Kevin Newsom
• John W. Nields Jr.
• John Lord O'Brian
• Mary Ellen O'Connell
• Roberts Bishop Owen
• David Remes
• Gary R. Roberts
• George Rublee
• Charles Ruff
• Arjun Singh Sethi
• Andrew J. Shapiro
• Francis Maude
• Carl Bildt
• Peter Balás
• Jean De Ruyt
• Karel Kovanda
• Erika Mann
• Michael Leigh
• Reed Hundt
• Jack Goldsmith
Well connected Washington law firm

Covington & Burling LLP is a well connected Washington DC law firm. The firm advises clients on significant transactional, litigation, regulatory, and public policy matters. It has an alliance with Kissinger Associates.[1]


Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward Burling founded the law firm of Covington and Burling in Washington in 1919.

Covington, a Maryland congressman, had been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Washington D.C., by Woodrow Wilson as a reward for voting for the passage of the Federal Reserve Act. In 1918, Wilson appointed Covington as United States Railroad Commissioner. Covington was a director of Kennecott Copper and Union Trust. Wilson had also appointed Edward Burling chief counsel of the U.S. Shipping Board. He served in this post from 1917-1919, working closely with Herbert Hoover and Prentiss Gray, later of J. Henry Schroder Co.


Covington & Burling says its public policy and government affairs team employs 'more than 120 former government officials, diplomats, and regulators'. Its website lists a number of 'case studies' of work carried out by the team, including work for 'a global chemical company' facing a World Health Organization (WHO) classification of one of its key products as “probably carcinogenic,” but which other national regulatory bodies 'found to be safe'. Covington was asked to help 'develop a strategy to seek a public clarification from' the WHO.[2]

US lobbying

Its US lobbying clients include in 2017 (for a full list, see the Open Secrets website)[3] Qualcomm | Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America | Northrop Grumman | Wal-Mart | Celgene Corp | Microsoft | Bombardier | Consumer Healthcare Products Association | Eli Lilly | BAE Systems | BP | Johnson & Johnson | Wells Fargo | Merck | American Bankers Association

Brussels lobbying

Covington and Burling's Brussel's lobbying clients 2015-16:[4] Uber | Eli Lilly | Vertex Pharmaceuticals | Nike | IMS Health | Illumina | bluebird bio | European Tissue Symposium | General Electric | European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations | BSA The Software Alliance | Microsoft | Cubist Pharmaceuticals | Kosmos Energy | Akamai Technologies | Monster Energy Company | Merck | PJSC Myronivsky Hliboproduct (Ukrainian agro-industrial company, also known as MHP).

Brexit lobbying

In 2017 Covington & Burling set up a Brexit Task Force staffed by lawyers and advisors in London, Brussels, and Washington.

It says it is monitoring events for clients and advising them on the policy and regulatory impact and implications of Brexit, including around: employment and Immigration, data protection, and international trade.[5]

Political ties

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UK political links

  • Francis Maude: In October 2016, former government minister Francis Maude was taken on as a senior adviser. A spokesperson for Covington said that Maude 'will be assisting the firm and its clients as they navigate complexities around Brexit'. Maude's profile on Covington's website says: 'Lord Maude forms part of a key panel of senior advisors guiding clients through the evolving post-Brexit vote landscape.'

Other European political links

  • Carl Bildt: in May 2016, Covington and Burling announced that Bildt, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, had joined the firm as a Senior Policy Advisor in its global Public Policy and Government Affairs practice. Most recently, Mr Bildt served as Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2006 and 2014.[6]
  • Peter Balás, senior advisor; Balas was recently Deputy Director General, DG Trade to the European Commission (2005-2014) and Head of the Support Group for the Ukraine in the European Commission (2014-2015); and before that Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Hungary to the World Trade Organisation.
  • Jean De Ruyt, senior advisor; described as 'among the most experienced diplomats in Europe', De Ruyt was Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union and was chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives during the 2010 Belgian Presidency of the Council.
  • Karel Kovanda, senior advisor; former diplomat who worked as Deputy Director-General of Relex (now the European External Action Service) in the European Commission.
  • Erika Mann, Senior Advisor; former Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
  • Sir Michael Leigh, became a senior advisor to the firm in Sept 2017; formerly Director-General of DG Enlargement at the European Commission from 2006 to 2011.

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