News & Politics

James Meggesto: 40 Under 40

The young lobbyists with the most influence in Washington

Name: James Meggesto
Firm: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Age: 39

Meggesto had a tough act to follow when he decided to become a lawyer/lobbyist focused on advocating for the interests of American Indian tribes. His mother, who is, like him, a member of the Onondaga Indian Nation, was the first person from their tribe to become a lawyer in New York. Meggesto, though, hasn’t had trouble distinguishing himself since coming to Washington after law school.

He has chalked up wins for his clients at federal agencies and on Capitol Hill. He successfully fought for the passage of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, which gave one of the largest water-rights settlements ever to his client, the Crow Tribe. In the face of intense opposition, he recently got the National Indian Gaming Commission to allow the Ponca Tribe to pursue Indian gaming.

This article appears in the June 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia. Kashino lives in Northeast DC.