Joseph M. Birkenstock is a member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C. office. He joined the firm in 2005 after serving as Chief Counsel of the Democratic National Committee and practicing political law with a firm in Los Angeles.
ServicesMr. Birkenstock focuses on advising corporations, non-profit organizations, candidates, officeholders, and other clients in structuring new political efforts and administering their political, lobbying, and issue-advocacy projects. He also helps clients respond to controversies involving issues of political law such as alleged campaign finance improprieties, conflicts of interest, and real or perceived violations of other legal and ethical obligations.
HighlightsWhile at the DNC, Mr. Birkenstock worked closely with the party's fundraisers and campaign staff to help ensure their compliance with the myriad of state and federal laws governing their activities. He took primary responsibility for responding to several investigations into Democratic Party fundraising following the 1996 presidential election. He also assisted in the litigation and public relations efforts surrounding the 2000 Florida recount and helped implement the DNC's transition to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regime.
Mr. Birkenstock speaks before many professional associations and conferences. His recent engagements include:
- Speaker, Political Outreach Considersations: PACs, SuperPACs, and Beyond, Financial Services Roundtable, Washington DC (June 2012)
- Lecturer at The University of Virginia Law School, where he teaches an upper-level seminar on the Law of Politics
- Lectured or appeared on panels at The George Washington University Law School, George Mason University School of Law, Vanderbilt Law School and the Pepperdine University School of Law
Awards & Honors
- Ranked as a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyers magazine in 2013
- Ranked as a Top Lawyer in the 2010-2013 editions of Chambers USA in Political Law
- Listed in the 2010-2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in Government Relations Law
- Listed in Washingtonian magazine as one of "DC's Best Lawyers" in 2007, 2009, and 2011-2012 editions
Mr. Birkenstock has been published or quoted in the media including the Associated Press, CNN.com, and Salon.com, legal niche media such as the Election Law Journal and the American Lawyer Media publications, as well as more narrowly focused media outlets including The Daily Tax Report and The Capitol Weekly.
- Obama Site Tested Early on Non-Partisan Promise, POLITICO (February 8, 2013)
- Was Paying Off Clinton's Debt Legal?, POLITICO (January 30, 2013)
- Romney Faces Sale With a Win, Wall Street Journal (November 2, 2012)
- End of the 'Tell President Obama' Ads?, NPR (August 30, 2012)
- Tandem Press Briefings, POLITICO (July 11, 2012)
- Super PAC Craze Sweeps the Nation, The Hill (February 16, 2012)
- Power for Sale Cheap, Forbes (February 15, 2012)
- The Rise of the Hispanic Super PAC, The Hill (January 31, 2012)
For a comprehensive list of Mr. Birkenstock's mentions in the media, please click here.