The Importance of a Proactive Government Affairs Strategy in Light of a Changing Administration

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As the smoke clears after a long battle, New Jersey will have a new governor on January 16, 2018. Yesterday, Phil Murphy defeated Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno in a race to succeed Governor Chris Christie as New Jersey’s 56th governor. Winning the race by 13 percentage points, Murphy will take office with large majorities in both the senate and the assembly. Having campaigned on a progressive platform, the new administration is likely to work quickly with members in the legislature to implement its agenda.  

The next few months will be filled with the excitement of the transition: the Governor-elect putting together a transition team, selecting key positions within the front office, and working to identify individuals to fill the 15 cabinet-level or principal departments in the state’s executive branch.

Having spent years in Trenton as part of two executive branch agencies, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the importance of a proactive government affairs strategy is often overlooked. Too many times, I sat in meetings with organizations or businesses who were fighting from behind. Had they simply paid attention while the legislature passed a law, or an executive branch agency promulgated a rule, that materially impacted their business, they may have been able to influence the process. Whether because of a lack of knowledge, or a limited understanding of the process, they would find themselves in a compromised position.

While everyone likes certainty, smart organizations and businesses find opportunity in change. New leadership leads to new policy. Whether the issue is clean energy, the legalization of marijuana, or the raising of the state’s minimum wage, it is important to have a say in the conversation.   

Chris J. Murphy is a partner in the governmental affairs group at Murphy Partners LLP, a boutique law firm located in Newark, New Jersey. He can be reached at (973) 723-7036 or cmurphy@murphyllp.com.

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Murphy Partners LLP Names Roosevelt J. Donat Special Counsel and Director of Government Affairs

Murphy Partners LLP is pleased to announce that Roosevelt J. Donat has been named Special Counsel and Director of Government Affairs. Mr. Donat has extensive experience in the areas of government relations, law, and regulatory matters, in Newark and throughout New Jersey and New York.

“Roosevelt is an integral part of our growing team. He is a dynamic attorney and government affairs professional, and his relationships throughout the region are extensive. His ability to quickly analyze complex policy issues, while understanding the underlying political implications, will be an immediate value to our current and future clients,” says Kellen F. Murphy, the firm’s managing partner.   

Roosevelt formerly served as the Director of Government Relations and Strategic Planning for Brick City Development Corporation (the predecessor to the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation). In that role, he was responsible for developing the organization’s political engagement strategy with federal, state, and local elected officials, and business engagement strategy with corporations. Roosevelt also advised the organization’s department heads on the impact of proposed legislation and determined an appropriate response to that legislation. He regularly appeared before the Newark City Council and liaised with local and state officials to articulate, promote, and protect the interests of Brick City Development Corporation.  

After Brick City Development Corporation, Roosevelt worked in the New Jersey State Assembly Majority Office before he was recruited to Wall Street, where he served in the Global Legal Compliance and Regulatory Office at American International Group (AIG) -the world’s largest insurance organization. In this position, he was critically involved in the structuring, negotiating, and execution of a wide variety of domestic and international transactions and other business arrangements. On the government front, Roosevelt provided counsel to senior management, global business and legal functions, and operating companies with respect to insurance regulatory matters, and regularly liaised with Department of Insurance stakeholders from various jurisdictions.  


Murphy Partners LLP is a boutique law firm specializing in governmental affairs, economic incentive advisory, and land use and redevelopment law. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, the firm was founded to provide effective, efficient, and creative legal and government affairs services to meet the distinctive needs of our clients. Through the development of comprehensive legal and government affairs strategies, our team works tirelessly to create a blueprint for success and advance our clients’ interests in every matter.