State Legislative & Regulatory Practice

What’s at Stake at the State Level?

States, not Congress, are enacting and enforcing the policies that affect if and how companies can legally operate their businesses in a particular state.

State-level issues are especially challenging for businesses. Instead of one set of laws and regulations to consider at the federal level, there are potentially 50 different sets of regulations and legislation at the state level—passed by regulatory bodies and legislatures with their own unique procedures and timelines.  The stakes could not be higher: as one New York Times commenter noted, “a tweet-length change to a law could spell the difference between success and failure of an entire new sector.”

From the fastest-growing startups to stalwarts of the Fortune 500, leading companies turn to Orrick’s team of lawyers and legislative experts who focus exclusively on state legislatures and regulators. We design and implement cutting edge strategies—whether it’s passing legislation that will provide our clients with a competitive advantage in their most important markets or convincing state and local regulators to bless their innovative business model.

  • We have built and executed successful multistate legislative and regulatory campaigns for companies in industries ranging from gaming (DraftKings and FanDuel), telecommunications (DISH and DIRECTV), energy (LS Power), carsharing (Getaround), telemedicine (Warby Parker and Simple Health), alcohol delivery (Drizly), and life insurance (Fortress Investment Group).

    Saving Fantasy Sports & Opening New Markets.

    Orrick was the key architect of a nationwide strategy that saved the $7 billion fantasy sports industry. In a matter of months, Orrick convinced New York lawmakers to pass a bill that neutralized the New York AG’s illegal gambling claims against our clients and allowed them to resume business in time for the NFL season. Over the past four years, Orrick has helped DraftKings and FanDuel become the leading sports entertainment platforms in the country—first, by passing similar fantasy sports legislation in 21 other states and Puerto Rico and, now, by legalizing online sports betting in 13 jurisdictions and counting.

    Safeguarding Sports Integrity.

    When the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to decide whether to legalize sports wagering, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and PGA TOUR turned to Orrick. The objective was simple: encourage the passage of legal, safe sports betting legislation to stamp out the illegal sports betting market, while ensuring states build in protections that safeguard the integrity of sports contests. Today, sports betting is legal and safe in Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, and other states because of Orrick’s work.

    Paving the Way for Innovation.

    Getaround is transforming mobility options by facilitating carsharing through technology. As carsharing grew in popularity, the traditional rental car industry responded with a nationwide effort to pass burdensome and protectionist legislation. In a matter of two years, we prevented more than 30 states from passing harmful regulatory and tax proposals and paved the way for new laws in multiple states that cleared risks for the emerging carsharing market.

    Defeating Anti-Competitive Taxes.

    Satellite TV was one of the first disruptive technologies to face a concerted regulatory and legislative pushback from an entrenched competitor—the cable TV industry. We orchestrated the response to cable’s effort to impose anti-competitive taxes on satellite. We have defeated more than 60 cable-led tax proposals in 27 states since 2009, saving DISH Network and DIRECTV millions of dollars in litigation costs and tens of millions in lost revenue.

    Protecting Emerging Business Models.

    In a tremendous win for HR software startup Zenefits, we reversed the ban that shutdown the company’s ability to operate in the state of Utah. We defended Zenefits before state regulators who challenged the legality of its business model, a challenge supported by incumbent market competitors. This successful regulatory and legislative strategy was called “a roadmap for startups facing regulatory challenges in the future” by Forbes.

    Clearing Regulatory Risks.

    Looking for innovative ways to protect a substantial investment, one of the world’s largest asset managers, Fortress Investment Group, turned to Orrick to develop a multistate legislative and regulatory strategy for its life settlement portfolio. Orrick advanced legislation in multiple states that provided much-needed certainty to the $30 billion tertiary life insurance market. In just two years, we passed groundbreaking legislation in Minnesota and advanced bills in Delaware and California, despite being outspent 10:1 by our opponents.