Government Relations & Administrative Law
District of Columbia


While Capitol Hill and the White House tend to be the focus of Washington, DC efforts to influence public policy, the government of the District of Columbia is a remarkably active and powerful entity that should not be ignored by corporations, funds, and associations looking to sell goods and services, relocate operations, invest in real estate, or partake in other significant financial ventures. The Nelson Mullins District of Columbia Government Relations Practice is well positioned to represent entities before the District of Columbia Council, DC agencies, and the Mayor’s office.

Each year, the District of Columbia spends more than $10 billion, much of which is devoted to procurement of goods and services, investment in infrastructure, development of land, and maintenance of facilities. Unlike other localities, states, and the federal government, the district government operates under a unique set of rules and regulations. Having an experienced team to assist with navigating such a complex maze is often the difference between winning a contract and losing the award. The Nelson Mullins team not only has a thorough understanding of the processes through which entities conduct business with the district, but also maintains the personal relationships with key decision makers necessary to find success. The team has represented developers, educational institutions, healthcare advocacy groups, and hospitality interests before the council and the administration.

The Nelson Mullins Washington, DC team is led by Vinoda Basnayake, who serves on the Board of Directors of DC Vote and was appointed by Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (and confirmed by the DC City Council) to serve as Commissioner of the DC Small and Local Business Opportunity Commission. He was also appointed as Councilwoman Muriel Bowser's representative to the Residential Advisory Committee for CityCenterDC, the largest development project in DC in the past two decades. For the last four years he has been listed as one of the most influential Washingtonians under 40 by Washington Life magazine and was named one of Washington’s “Power 30 Under 30” in 2010.  

Of counsel Rob Hawkins practices in the areas of DC government relations, administrative law, federal government relations, and public relations strategies. His background is in District of Columbia government, having served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director to the Mayor as well as Special Counsel and Deputy General Counsel to the Mayor of Washington, DC. He also has served as Legislative and Communications Director for a variety of legislative committees. He works with clients to prepare and implement government relations strategies and political and legal analysis. He represents clients before federal, state, and local legislative, regulatory, and administrative agencies.

Countless policy decisions are made each and every day by the district government. The Nelson Mullins District of Columbia Government Relations Practice provides clients with a quantifiable, competitive advantage whether the matter involves a regulations on zoning, private equity investment, regulations on alcohol and food license holders, permits for construction, contracts for infrastructure, implementation of the DC HealthLink Exchange program, or other relevant issues.