New York state’s top lobbyists

The Great Western Staircase of the New York State Capitol Building.
The Great Western Staircase of the New York State Capitol Building. (Sean Pavone / Shutterstock)

When it comes to state lobbying, there’s a new king in town.

Err, make that a new queen.

Suri Kasirer’s Kasirer LLC took the top spot in 2016 in terms of total lobbying compensation and reimbursed expenses, according to the latest annual report published by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

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While Kasirer’s growing revenue, which surpassed the $10 million mark last year, was certainly a factor, another part of the equation was the exit of the longtime state leader, the law firm Wilson Elser, from the lobbying business. In 2015, three Wilson Elser partners – Cynthia Shenker, Theresa Russo and Douglas Clark – left to form their own firm. Then, last summer, Wilson Elser’s entire lobbying practice, led by Kenneth Shapiro, joined Jackson Lewis, a law firm specializing in workplace law.

While Wilson Elser dropped down to the No. 10 slot – and will be out of the running entirely this year – Brown & Weinraub and Bolton-St. Johns each moved up a slot to round out the top three in 2016.

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In this special section on the state’s top lobbyists, we hear from each of the firms’ leaders, in their own words, on how to thrive in the competitive world of lobbying, as well as how the industry is changing and where they expect to land on the list a year from now.