By GREGORY ZELLER //
Lobbying? No … but expect some insider-infused navigation of government’s corridors of power.
That’s the word out of Mineola law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone LLP, which on Monday announced the formation of Meltzer Lippe Strategies, a new practice group with “senior strategic advisor” Steve Israel – just four months removed from his 16-year run in the U.S. House of Representatives – at the helm.
Israel will run the new group alongside Meltzer Lippe Chairman Lew Meltzer and “will not conduct lobbying activities,” according to the firm.
Instead, the practice group will focus on clients’ government relations, leveraging Israel’s decade-plus in Congress and lauded service on such powerhouse commissions as the House Appropriations, Armed Services and Financial Services committees, among others.
“Our keystone and specialty practice groups such as Tax, Corporate, Real Estate, Trusts & Estates, Labor & Employment and Commercial Litigation are well-positioned to serve the evolving needs of our clients,” Meltzer said in a statement. “Adding the strategic expertise of Steve Israel, with his more than 25 years in the public-service arena, brings a sophisticated strategic planning element to the government relations process that will benefit many of our clients.”
Israel, who is not an attorney, was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Levittown. After studying at Nassau Community College and Syracuse University, he earned a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and began his public service in 1993 as a member of the Huntington Town Board, where he’d hold a seat for nearly a decade.
A member of the House Democratic Leadership at the time of his retirement from Congress, Israel earned bipartisan respect that has extended into his post-House career. He appears regularly as a political commentator on CNN and has also been featured on Fox News, MSNBC and CBS’s “60 Minutes” program, and in print in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other prestigious publications.
Since leaving Congress, Israel has taken on roles as chairman of Long Island University’s Institute for Global Issues and an LIU Distinguished Writer in Residence.
Noting a “profound respect for the Meltzer Lippe firm,” the author of the critically acclaimed satire “The Global War on Morris” now adds the Meltzer Lippe Strategies group to his evolving résumé.
“When Lew Meltzer indicated that he was interested in adding value to the firm [for] clients who had needs in this area, I agreed that it was appropriate for me to take on that role,” Israel said Monday.
Stressing again that he will not attempt to influence decisions made by lawmakers or members of regulatory agencies – “I will not be lobbying for clients,” the former congressman said – Israel agreed that his behind-the-scenes know-how would be a great benefit for Meltzer Lippe clients conducting government business.
“I will advise them on understanding of current thinking and trends in Washington,” he said.
Although he’s not an attorney, the longtime U.S. representative is the perfect choice to head up the new practice group, according to Meltzer.
“Chief among the firm’s goals is a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and, therefore, their objectives and problems,” the chairman said. “We also do the things we believe our clients want.”