Today, DistrictGPS features the fourth part of a five part interview-series with TFAS alumni working in the DC area.
Michael Mellen assists clients with government investigations and international and domestic regulatory compliance at Patton Boggs LLP. He also assists clients in responding to federal grand jury subpoenas and specific requests from United States Attorneys.
Before joining Patton Boggs, Michael developed his litigation skills and gained significant experience in discovery and motions practice, including conducting several bench trials. He has taken and defended depositions, including expert witnesses, and represented clients in litigation in federal and state courts throughout Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
Michael is a 2010 TFAS Leadership Fellow, a year-long professional development program for area alumni working in the public policy arena. He is a graduate of the 2001 Institute on Business and Government Affairs.
1. Tell me a little about your current position, what is a typical day like for you?
I’m currently an Associate at Patton Boggs LLP, a major law firm in Washington, DC, and the largest public policy firm in America. I represent clients as they attempt to navigate the maze of U.S. and foreign laws that govern the export and movement of goods and services around the world.
In a typical day, I might counsel clients on changes in regulations and Executive Branch policy, attend meetings of agency committees, advocate positions on regulatory issues, or advise on investigations and interactions with government agencies should clients run afoul of the law.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is adapting to the ever-changing laws and regulations that govern the clients and industries I serve. It requires me to constantly change and continue to learn in order to be an effective advocate and counselor.
3. How do you feel TFAS prepared you for the position you’re in now?
TFAS provided me with a vehicle in which to gain a practical understanding of how our government works. No class in school can substitute for the hands-on experience and interactions with government regulators and officials I received during my summer.
I quickly realized the extent to which government in Washington, DC impacts every industry in this country. Whether you work on Capitol Hill or not, I strongly believe that an understanding of the functions of government is essential in order to serve as an effective leader, whether as a citizen or in your chosen field.
4. Do you have any words of wisdom for current and potential TFAS students, whether about your career, DC, or the TFAS program?
Take advantage of the network provided by TFAS and develop it to your advantage. It really is a small world, and it is even smaller once you realize that your TFAS classmates are the types of individuals who will excel in any organization they join.