The World

February 2, 2011 4:12 PM

Patton Boggs Adviser Is Special Envoy to Egypt

Posted by Brian Baxter

Frank Wisner, a former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and current foreign affairs adviser at Patton Boggs, is now in Cairo serving as President Barack Obama's unofficial emissary to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The New York Times reports that Wisner boarded a U.S. Air Force jet on Sunday afternoon headed for Cairo. The emissary's task: convince Mubarak to give up control of the country after 30 years in power, according to The Times. (Bloomberg has more on Wisner's mission, noting that he met with Mubarak on Monday, before Mubarak announced he wouldn't seek reelection in September.)

Wisner joined Patton Boggs in March 2009 from AIG, where he had served as vice-chairman of external affairs for the ailing insurance giant. Wisner, 72, retired from AIG that February--he'd previously been a member of both AIG's and Enron's board of directors--and brought his four decades of experience as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. State Department to Patton Boggs.

Wisner has served as an ambassador to Egypt, India, the Philippines, and Zambia. From 1986 to 1991 Wisner worked as U.S. ambassador to Egypt, where he established and maintained close ties to leading figures both inside and outside of Mubarak's regime, according to Bloomberg, which spoke with individuals prominent in U.S. diplomatic circles.

At Patton Boggs, Wisner works out of the firm's New York office, advising clients on matters of international law, policy, politics, and business, according to the Patton Boggs Web site. As an unofficial representative of the Obama administration in Cairo, Bloomberg notes he'll be able to meet with certain groups in Egypt, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which the U.S. government could be barred from having official contact with.

But it's not Patton Boggs that has taken the lead advocating for Egypt's interests in the U.S. We reported on Tuesday that the firm, known for its powerful lobbying arm, was one of five Am Law 200 firms that saw their lobbying revenue rise in 2010. But despite Pattong Boggs's success furthering its clients' interests inside the Beltway, the firm was not the preferred provider of lobbying services in the U.S. for the Egyptian government.

The PLM Group, a joint venture between D.C. lobby shops the Podesta Group and The Livingston Group, has won the lion's share of the work representing Mubarak and the Egyptian government in Washington. (Click here, here, and here for more on Egypt's K Street connections.)



Am Law Firms in Cairo React to Egyptian Unrest
The Am Law Daily, February 1, 2011

Emerging Egyptian leader has ties to NYU School of Law
The National Law Journal, February 1, 2011

Twitter General Counsel Wades Into Social Media Wars as Riots Rock Egypt
Corporate Counsel, February 2, 2011

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