January 31, 2024 / Press Release

Porter Wright expands Washington office, government affairs practice

Expansion brings group of White House veterans to address client needs for new services related to AI, data privacy and geopolitics

Porter Wright, one of the oldest continuously-operating law firms in the United States, today announced expansion of its Washington, D.C. office, bringing on four senior-level government affairs principals with extensive global experience across U.S. executive and legislative branches and national media.

The new public policy and public affairs principals significantly expand the firm’s capabilities and influence, both in Washington, D.C., and throughout the firm’s nine offices across the country:

  • Raul Alvillar brings significant political experience as the former political director of the Democratic National Committee and service in the Obama White House;
  • Todd Elmer has worked extensively in AI policy and communications in Silicon Valley, with complementary service in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and as a White House Advance Lead for First Lady Dr. Jill Biden;
  • Neil H. Simon is a former diplomat, network journalist and communications director for the U.S. Helsinki Commission under the chairmanship of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.); and
  • Adam Wilczewski served as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Obama Administration and has worked on five presidential campaigns.

“Whether it’s AI or emerging technologies, energy or infrastructure, semiconductors or cybersecurity, manufacturing or international business, today’s climate of government regulations and investments presents our clients new risks and opportunities for new rewards,” shares Bob Tannous, managing partner of Porter Wright. “This team will ensure Porter Wright clients’ voices and interests are heard in this dynamic environment.”

“No matter who holds power in Washington, government relations matter more than ever,” says Holly Kozlowski, partner-in-charge of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. “These additions to our team ensure Porter Wright has the experience, capabilities and relationships to keep our clients connected to influence and aware of the potential impact of the ever-shifting policy landscape.”

Strength in numbers

Just last year, Porter Wright expanded its public policy and regulation practice, hiring Adrian Snead (previous counsel and foreign policy advisor to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)) to help build out its Washington presence. The firm continued its expansion with Shane Pennington, a three-time federal law clerk and an administrative law specialist, and John Amaya, who served as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Obama Administration and previously as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and as an immigration prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

More information on the new members of the Porter Wright Washington office:

  • Raul Alvillar is a senior executive with two decades of experience in external affairs, strategic planning, community relations and political affairs. He served as the Biden-Harris New Mexico State Director for the 2020 presidential campaign. Raul served on the campaign of President Barack Obama and later in the administration as associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, where he was interim LGBT liaison.
  • Todd Elmer brings an invaluable blend of public and private experience at the nexus of AI and technology policy, strategic communications, and U.S. and international government affairs. Since 1997, he has rotated between Silicon Valley, where he first started working for AI and emerging technology companies in 2005, and Washington, D.C., where he has held high-level roles in national political campaigns, presidential administrations, and key federal government agencies. He was also appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Chief Communications Officer at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • Neil Simon is an award-winning public affairs professional and national journalist experienced in cybersecurity, trade and human rights policy, and crisis communications. Neil previously served as director of communications at the bipartisan U.S. Helsinki Commission in Congress. Neil led the European Union’s public engagement in the U.S. and steered global communications and public affairs strategies for clients in the technology, finance, healthcare and education sectors.
  • Adam Wilczewski is an internationally-recognized business and government affairs executive specializing in global trade, foreign direct investment and international relations. He has broad experience across many sectors including health care tech, space policy and defense, energy, housing, and consumer goods. He previously earned an appointment as the Chief of Staff at the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce and helped lead the President’s National Export Initiative.