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Michael Johansen

Administrative Partner
Rifkin Weiner Livingston

After more than 30 years as a lobbyist, Michael Johansen can still describe his profession as “fun.”

The administrative partner at Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC has represented clients from many backgrounds over the years, from trade associations to small businesses and nonprofits. Johansen believes the diversity of these experiences helped him “hone [his] skills as an advocate and practitioner of the lobbying craft.”

As the chair of the firm’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Compliance practice, Johansen has also represented clients in the General Assembly and local and municipal governments.

Johansen was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1989 after receiving his Juris Doctor from University of Baltimore School of Law. Outside of work, he boats on the Chesapeake Bay and the Magothy River with his wife and their yellow lab, Oscar.

What’s the most important life lesson you learned?

I was still in law school while I worked as staff counsel to the Maryland Senate Budget & Tax Committee. Senators on that committee included Chairman Larry Levitan, Frank Kelly, Jack Cade, Bill Amoss — all giants in the legislature, especially with regard to the budget and fiscal policy. What did I learn? Two things. No. 1, humility. There’s always someone smarter than you. Take some time to listen before acting. No. 2, respect the staff working for legislators and officials. They can make things happen.