I usually start each introduction about myself with the following opening: My name is Andy Cates and I am a combination of the two most hated professions in the world -
Lawyer & Lobbyist.
I don't see it as a bad thing, though. I wear both as a badge of honor and I try to use that opening line to break down some stilted barriers between myself and my audience that lawyers and lobbyists are humorless, greedy, and lacking in self-awareness. But it does take a great deal of ambition and hard work to make it all work.
In my primary day job, I serve as General Counsel and Managing Principal - State Affairs for The Bingham Group. We serve clients who need municipal and/or state-level government affairs consulting and lobbying. Some of our clients include UFCU, Nurse-Family Partnership, Reagan National Advertising, VillageMD, and others.
Prior to joining Bingham Group, I was a Senior Partner at a firm I helped start, Salient Strategies. At Salient, my partners and I helped shepherd to passage the Governor's emergency item on broadband expansion across the state, House Bill 5. Before that, I was the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Texas Nurses Association and legislative attorney for the Texas Association of REALTORS® as well as lead attorney for the Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee, the largest PAC in Texas.
In the years leading up to this practice, I spent three years at the Texas Capitol working for various state representatives and clerking the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, lobbied for solar energy and healthcare clients, and worked in various areas of the law including mergers & acquisitions, healthcare, criminal prosecution, and criminal defense.
I am also the Managing Partner of Cates Legal Group PLLC and the author of Texas Ethics Laws Annotated, the first and only complete legal annotation of campaign finance and lobby laws in Texas (7th edition now available in the shop on this website). I was a contributing author for the Texas Legislative Law Handbook through the first three editions, and I am one of the first five attorneys in the nation to be board certified in Legislative & Campaign Law, the creation of which I spearheaded and shepherded for 2 years prior to authorization by the Texas Supreme Court in 2019.
Additionally, I try to be involved in my profession as well as my community as much as my time will allow. I'm lucky to be a Founding Member and Chair Emeritus for the State Bar of Texas Legislative & Campaign Law Section, board member & general counsel for Good Politics, board member of Skillpoint Alliance, chair of the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas Next Gen Lobbyist Group, and 2022 McBee Fellow with the Austin Area Research Organization.
I received my B.A. in International Politics from Trinity University and a J.D. from Texas Tech School of Law in 2007.
I grew up in North Dallas, but I now live in South Austin with my wife Nicole and son Dylan.