Nixon Peabody hires ex-Sen. Scott Brown

Expected to represent finance, real estate interests

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

EQUIPPED WITH FIRSTHAND knowledge of how government operates in both Washington, DC and on Beacon Hill, Scott Brown will offer political advice in his new job as an attorney at Nixon Peabody but says he doesn’t plan on lobbying.

The international law firm, with an office in Boston’s Financial District, announced the hiring of the former Republican US senator Monday. In a subsequent news conference, Brown did not rule out future runs for office.

“I’m not really going to focus on my political future. Certainly it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing for the last 15 or so years. It was the greatest honor that I ever had, to be a United States senator and represent the people of Massachusetts,” Brown said. “Not quite sure what the future holds. I’ll make that announcement, I would think, in a while.”

At Nixon Peabody, Brown will focus on “business and governmental affairs as they relate to the financial services industry as well as on commercial real estate matters,” according to a press release from the law firm.

“Obviously I have a prohibition from lobbying members of Congress for two years, so I can’t lobby members of Congress, but certainly I can instruct the firm on their making an approach and trying to do something – the pitfalls and potential problem areas – so they can make good decisions moving forward,” Brown said at a press conference. He also said, “I’m not a lobbyist. I don’t plan on lobbying. I’ll be dealing in a whole host of areas. Don’t forget that I’ve been an attorney since 1985. I have a wide range of general practice.”

Brown said he would be able to share his “expertise” in “the jungle of Washington politics.”

While Brown said his focus would be on lawyering, not lobbying, the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters pounced on the announcement, noting that Nixon Peabody’s top lobbying clients include the Council on Affordable Housing & Rural Development, Sallie Mae, the Monroe County Water Authority, Wegmans Food Markets, and Goldman Sachs.

In Massachusetts in 2012, Nixon Peabody lobbied in the state on behalf of Wegmans, Parkmobile USA, and Converse – which recently announced plans to move into a soon-to-be redeveloped site on the North End waterfront.

A Republican who played up his independent and bipartisan credentials, Brown caught Democrats unawares, winning a special election for US Senate in January 2010 before being defeated last November by Elizabeth Warren. After announcing he would not run in another special election for the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John Kerry, Brown joined Fox News Channel as a commentator. Brown has also joined the board of Kadant, a Westford manufacturing company. Media Matters described Brown’s move to Fox as following a “well-worn path of other Fox-favored candidates.”

Brown said he would make an endorsement in the special Senate race to replace Kerry after the primary and said he would have had a good chance in that race, but declined to comment on the field.

“I felt I would have had a better than reasonable shot at winning,” Brown said, mentioning that he did not like the prospect of raising the $30 million to $50 million he thought he would need.

Businessman Gabriel Gomez of Cohasset, former US Attorney Michael Sullivan of Abington, and Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk are competing for the Republican nomination in the Senate race.

A potential candidate in an open governor’s race in 2014, Brown will join his former colleague in the state Legislature and “dear friend” James Vallee, a Democrat and a former majority leader, who left the Legislature for Nixon Peabody last year.

“I’m the godfather to his son, so we have a relationship,” said Brown. “I’ve been learning and understanding the opportunities within Nixon Peabody, certainly my ability to bring that bipartisan problem-solving to this firm.”

Vallee and Brown are both officers in the National Guard, and are from roughly the same part of the state, with Vallee making his home in Franklin and Brown living in next-door Wrentham.

Brown also said Nixon Peabody would afford him the time to focus on his other pursuits, including television appearances.

“For now, Nixon Peabody has provided me with the flexibility that I need to continue on with my work at Fox and also speaking and doing things that I enjoy doing,” he said.

In her successful Senate campaign, Warren portrayed Brown as someone who had the best interests of Wall Street at heart. The law firm’s Boston office overlooks the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Great Blue Hills beyond. Speaking at an office on the 25th floor, Brown indicated he would be open to all manner of clients.

“Anybody who wants to come in the door, and get a good value for their dollar,” Brown said.

Meet the Author

Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

Brown said he believes his wife, former WCVB television reporter Gail Huff, would be seeking to get back into television journalism.

“She’s going to be looking to, I’m presuming, get back into that field,” said Brown, who described his wife as a “hard-working, energetic, fair reporter.”