A Q&A with consecutive Washingtonian Magazine honorees Neal Katyal, Kelly Ann Shaw, and Neil Chatterjee

For the third consecutive year, three of our lawyers have together been named among the “Most Influential People” in Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine. In our Q&A below, the trio shares what inspires them and underpins their success.

This prestigious list measures their subject-matter knowledge, nuanced insights in complex issues, understanding of the Hill’s inner workings, and particular impact on current policy subjects. Learn more in our press release here.

Neal Katyal | Legal Intelligentsia

You not only shape policy through the power of law, but you bring law and policy to the people through the media and your new podcast. What inspires you to do all of this?

I started my legal career as a professor and I feel a special responsibility to explain complex legal issues to a general audience. This stuff really matters, and if one can strip all the jargon out, it’s not hard for people to understand. It’s a privilege.

Looking to the future, what trends do you see shaping the future of law and policy?

I’ve been spending a ton of time thinking about AI and what it will do to various aspects of the law, from copyright and tort liability to how it will impact the profession. I believe AI will be far more transformational than the internet, and I’m both worried and excited.

In your opinion, what are the top three attributes that make a successful lawyer and advocate?

Being straightforward and honest, being a great listener, and being concise.

Kelly Ann Shaw | Trade

How has your experience in diplomacy and negotiation helped clients advance their EV battery and automotive production?

I work with some of the largest companies in the world who want to invest in the United States – to manufacture and innovate here, and who want to build-up the next generation of the American workforce. As a former U.S. diplomat, selling the benefits of doing so comes easily, as it used to be part of my job. I’m also able to help some of the most cutting-edge companies in the world tell their story and to tell it in a way that resonates with policymakers. Automotive manufacturing and innovation requires a long investment horizon, and it’s important that companies in this space think strategically about the commercial, economic, and geopolitical factors that will impact those investments for the next 5-10-20 years.

As U.S. domestic industry becomes stronger and more innovative, what do you see as the biggest factors bolstering economic growth?

The United States is one of the greatest places in the world to do business. Fundamentally, companies want to invest where they see growth potential and an economy on the rise. They are also looking for a skilled and highly-trained workforce, strong IP protections, a stable regulatory environment, and tax or other incentives, depending on the sector or industry. The U.S. economic model is unique globally and has led to the creation of some of the most innovative companies in the world.

In your opinion, what are the top three attributes that make a successful lawyer and advocate?

First, you need to know the law, regulation, policy and the issues. There is no substitute for knowing your craft as well as – or better – than anyone else. Second, it helps to have the ability to see around corners and to see the bigger picture at stake for your client. And third, you have to be honest and straightforward – not just with yourself or your client but with everyone you deal with. Reputations are priceless.

Neil Chatterjee

You have built a reputation as a bipartisan operator with a knack for building alliances. What drives you to stay true to that approach?

Washington and the nation appear to be very divided – but I honestly believe it’s because the fringes on the right and left get all of the attention. I think the overwhelming majority of Americans want functional government focusing on common sense solutions. I try to build on that.

As issues like energy transition and infrastructure are debated on the Hill, what do you think can unite policymakers behind practical solutions?

We are approaching a critical moment in energy policy. The growth in demand for electricity driven by data centers, AI, crypto, vehicle electrification, building electrification, semi-conductors, and a manufacturing resurgence will put tremendous pressure on grid operators to meet that demand while maintaining reliability and affordability – while also decarbonizing. This will require an “all of the above” energy solution. It’s too difficult to build things in this country. We need permitting reform to enable the build out of the grid of the future.

In your opinion, what are the top three attributes that make a successful lawyer and advocate?

Competence, clarity, and honesty.

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