By Maria Saporta
Friday, May 21, 2010
There is life after the legislature.
Mark Burkhalter, a former state representative who served briefly as speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, is joining McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP as a senior strategic adviser.
Burkhalter will lead the law firm’s public affairs efforts in the United Kingdom, where he already has established a consulting practice.
“It’s great news for us,” said Eric Tanenblatt, head of McKenna’s national government affairs practice. “Mark has built relations across the country and internationally. A lot of his clients that he has in his consulting firm we hope will come to McKenna. We can both grow together.”
Burkhalter agreed. “It will be a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said. “It’s an honor to be part of an organization that’s so trusted and dominant, not just nationwide but worldwide.”
Already Burkhalter, a real estate developer and consultant, has nine clients in London. Now that the legislature is over and his political career has come to a close, Burkhalter said he expects to spend at least half of his time in London.
Because London will host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Burkhalter said, there’s a lot of development activity under way in the United Kingdom.
Burkhalter and Tanenblatt got to know each other well when they co-chaired Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Georgia during 2008.
Also, during his tenure at the legislature, Burkhalter served as Speaker Pro Tem since 2004 when the Republicans took over the House.
Burkhalter also served as Gov. Sonny Perdue’s floor leader from 2003 to 2004.
“It’s certainly a change in direction,” Burkhalter said of his new role. But after 18 years in the legislature, Burkhalter said it was the right time for him to make a change.
Burkhalter was first elected to the legislature when he was only 31, representing the suburban area of North Fulton. He served nine terms, during which time he focused on economic growth and development issues in metro Atlanta.
Burkhalter also had served on the Legislative Oversight Committee of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and he had been considered a candidate to serve as its executive director after Dan Graveline retired at the end of last year.