Advocacy in action with Dentons US LLP

This blog is part of a series from the July 2021 Washington D.C. Immersive program of the Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. Students met with federal food and agriculture focused officials at USDA, the White House and other agencies, Congressional leadership, industry leaders and other important policy stakeholders. 

On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 21, the Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership Cohort took a much-anticipated trip off of ASU’s DC campus. The entourage embarked on a refreshing stroll down K Street to the Washington DC office of Dentons Law Firm, one of 204 locations worldwide that serve to build agile, tailored solutions to meet the local, national, and global needs of private and public clients of any size.

Here, we were greeted by Dentons partner, C. Randall Nuckolls, an esteemed leader within the public policy and legal space whose expertise arises from more than thirty years of experience working on federal policy issues with his most recent focus including advising clients on federal ethics issues, federal election law, lobbying law compliance, and the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Not long after, we were joined by Sander Lurie, another esteemed leader and Principal in the Dentons Public Policy Practice, who has spent more than 30 years working in Washington, DC, on legislative and public policy issues in the US Senate as chief of staff, legislative director and committee staffer, as well as in the private sector. 

Together, these two expressed that, while the term “lobbying” is oftentimes associated with their line of work, they consider their efforts to be rooted in the concept of advocacy. Dentons prides itself as a firm in the public policy space because of its ability to turn advocacy into action, which is achieved by representing clients, not only in the courtroom but in all three branches of government. Dentons’ ability to take on the regulatory and rulemaking processes within the executive branch is one of the many things that sets it apart from other firms working in the same space. Dentons looks to provide clients solutions that are outside the courtroom by getting involved in the legislative side of the law as well. Rounding out its approach to full, cross-governmental representation, Dentons also interacts with the judiciary branch by representing clients in litigation. 

Before deciding which strategy they want to take regarding the legal issue at hand, the leaders from Dentons expressed that their advocacy work ultimately begins by spending time learning their client’s business. This allows them to develop an even more extensive understanding of a broad range of industries and the legal issues that their clients are facing. However, no matter what the legal matter is that they are tackling, the leaders at Dentons expressed the importance of practicing within the standards set by the bar association and upholding a reputation for providing honest, quality representation. 

It was a well-spent afternoon with C. Randall Nuckolls and Sander Lurie as we learned about their expertise and efforts in the food and agricultural law and policy space. Their words of wisdom certainly left our cohort pondering the thought of, “how is it that we will similarly turn our advocacy into action?”

Makenzie Martinez

ASU Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership student