Robert S. Highsmith Jr. practices regulatory and administrative law, public policy litigation, government contracting, and government relations. He represents diverse large corporate and governmental clients in contested matters, large transactions, and government affairs before myriad Georgia state and local governmental agencies, including the Public Service Commission, Department of Community Health, Department of Insurance, Department of Revenue, the General Assembly, and the City of Atlanta. He also advocates before Georgia's congressional delegation and the Trump Administration.
Mr. Highsmith has extensive experience advocating client regulatory and policy interests across a wide range of substantive areas, including:
He routinely handles a wide range of matters, including:
Mr. Highsmith also has an active public policy litigation practice, with a focus on state constitutional issues, regulatory appeals, and election law.
Mr. Highsmith's recent matters include:
Mr. Highsmith served as an executive counsel to Sonny Perdue, President Donald Trump's Secretary of Agriculture, when Perdue was Georgia's Governor. As Perdue's lead legislative lawyer, Mr. Highsmith drafted and lobbied for Perdue's legislative package each year. He also advised Perdue on the full gamut of executive legal matters, including the state budget process, government procurement, transportation funding, water resource planning, and redistricting litigation. Mr. Highsmith serves on Governor Nathan Deal's Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), which recommends judicial appointments statewide to the Governor. He is the only Commission member to have also served on former Governor Sonny Perdue's JNC.
Having also served as outside counsel for Georgia's governor, former governor, and several other Georgia elected officials, Mr. Highsmith is among Georgia's foremost authorities on governmental ethics, open records and transparency, campaign finance, and election law. Mr. Highsmith formerly served on the State Ethics Commission, a quasi-judicial body with statewide jurisdiction over ethics issues involving public officials, lobbyists, and state vendors, as an appointee of former Governor Roy Barnes.
Mr. Highsmith previously served as assistant general counsel to the Georgia Republican Party, chief of staff to the Republican Caucus of the Georgia House of Representatives, and policy director to the 1998 Republican nominee for governor of Georgia.
In the fall of 2012, Mr. Highsmith was appointed a Lecturer in Yale College, traveling there weekly to teach "Lobbying and the Law," a for-credit undergraduate seminar he designed.
At the University of Georgia, Mr. Highsmith's mock trial team won national first runner-up honors in the National Institute of Trial Advocacy's Tournament of Champions.
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