Legal Intern, Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy
With the presidential election season officially underway, focus has increasingly turned to each candidate's respective financial backers. Who are among the leading donors thus far? Lawyers.
Lawyers and law firms are one of the top donors by industry for both candidates, raking in nearly $5.2 million for Romney's campaign and $12.4 million for Obama's campaign as of June 21, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lawyers and law firms rank third among Romney's top donors by industry, and second among Obama's top donors by industry.
When donations are sorted by organization, law firms are also among the top contributors to the respective candidates - particularly so for President Obama:
Kirkland & Ellis is the only law firm with a spot among Romney's top 20 contributors by organization, with $264,302 coming from the firm's PAC and individual employees and their families.
Law firms played a more prominent fundraising role for Obama: six of the president's top 20 contributors by organization are major law firms.
The law industry's involvement in campaign funding is not a recent phenomenon, of course. As highlighted in Manhattan Institute's 2010 Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street report, non-lobbyist lawyers have contributed upwards of $1 billion to federal election campaigns since 1990 according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.