Jean Paul Bradshaw II doesn’t see the point in not enjoying what you do. And when he describes his life — growing up watching his father and grandfather practice law, working as a journalist at a local radio station, becoming an attorney — he speaks of the interesting, the fun, and the great opportunities.
“If you’re not enjoying things like that, you need to go find something else to do,” he said.
Bradshaw’s latest effort with the new Lathrop Gage Consulting arm is no exception. He serves as chairman for this lobbying group and brings to the role legal experience, a family tradition of politics and a mission to find solutions for clients.
Bradshaw grew up in Springfield in a family steeped in legal and political history. His grandfather and namesake, Jean Paul Bradshaw, a candidate for both governor and U.S. Senate, moved his family and his legal practice to Springfield in the 1950s. His father, Paul Bradshaw, served in the Missouri Senate from 1971 to 1983 and practiced law in Springfield.
Although he fondly remembers following his father around the Capitol building, it was not into law or politics that Bradshaw initially jumped, but rather journalism. He studied at the University of Missouri, and even spent a summer as a reporter for a local radio station.
“My dad, at the time, said there was nothing wrong with a lawyer being able to read or write, so it seemed like a good place to go,” Bradshaw said.
He served as a special assistant to the Missouri Attorney General from 1985 to 1989, and as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 1989 to 1993.
Bradshaw joined Gage & Tucker in 1993, fresh from the US Attorney’s office. In 1996 Gage merged with Lathrop & Norquist to become Lathrop Gage. His practice area was white-collar criminal defense and toxic and mass torts, and in 2016 became the partner in charge of the Kansas City office.
But along the way, Bradshaw found there were times existing law couldn’t assist in providing a resolution to his client’s problems. To provide a solution, laws would need to change.
“There was no way from just doing what lawyers do to solve the client’s problem,” he said.
Bradshaw was working on a Missouri case with attorneys from McGuireWoods, an international firm based in Virginia. He witnessed the relationship the firm had created through a subsidiary lobbying consulting group. Following that experience Bradshaw returned to Virginia to meet with Richard Cullen, head of McGuireWoods, to learn how McGuireWoods Consulting had started.
As a result, Bradshaw began to draw the blueprint for a consulting business under the Lathrop Gage umbrella.
Lathrop partners Kurt Schaefer, a former state senator, and Doug Nelson, a former Missouri Commissioner of Administration, joined the team with Bradshaw. And upon hearing Harry Gallagher, a long-time respected Jefferson City lobbyist was retiring, Bradshaw said he jumped at the chance to merge Gallagher Consulting with Lathrop Gage.
“Those guys are very high integrity,” he said.
Bradshaw, who serves as Chairman of the new subsidiary, said the consulting practice is ahead of the pace he expected and, over all, things are going well.
“We’ve been really, really happy with how that’s worked out,” he said.