Nick Littlefield is a former Chair of the firm’s Government Strategies Group. He uses his extensive public policy background to provide clients with legal, legislative, regulatory and strategic planning advice in the areas of health care, biosciences and technology, education, venture capital and other industries.More »
Drawing on years of experience as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for Senator Kennedy on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Nick represents leading life sciences companies and trade associations, in a wide range of matters. His clients include biomedical research, biotechnology, medical device, pharmaceutical, and information technology companies. They seek his guidance in connection with federal regulatory matters, including issues before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He has been engaged by clients on legislative and administrative law initiatives, including the multi-year bipartisan effort to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare, which passed the U.S. Senate in July 2003 with broad support, and ultimately was enacted into law in November 2003; the establishment of the Biologics Advanced Research and Development Authority (“BARDA”) and reauthorization of Bioshield in 2006; and the 2007 Congressional effort to establish a legislative pathway for FDA to approve follow on biologics. Nick also advised clients on such concerns as Medicare coverage and reimbursement, orphan drugs, and protection of intellectual property. Other substantive areas in which Nick provides government strategies advice include early education, elementary and secondary and higher education, and government administration.
Nick first joined Foley Hoag in 1981 and was a partner from 1982 to 1989, when he left to assume his position in the U.S. Senate with Senator Kennedy. During this period of service with the firm he advised corporate and individual clients concerning a full range of civil and criminal litigation. He also conducted investigations for clients who were victims of or accused of wrongdoing, involving financial transactions, fraud and embezzlement, theft of trade secrets and medical research misconduct.
From 1989 through 1997, as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Nick worked under Senator Kennedy’s direction to develop the agenda for Democrats on the Committee, and to prepare, oversee, and negotiate legislation in Committee, on the Senate floor, and in conference. He also worked with outside advocacy groups and managed the Committee’s budget and staff. From 1989 to 1992 the Committee, under Senator Kennedy’s chairmanship and with bipartisan support, is considered to have had one of its most productive periods since the mid-1960s, with accomplishments that included the following:
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Ryan White AIDS Care Act
- Food Nutrition Labeling and Education Act
- Prescription Drug User Fee Act
- Safe Medical Devices Act
- National Health Service Corps Revitalization
- The first increase in the minimum wage since 1981, from $3.35 to $4.25
- National and Community Service Act
- Child Care Block Grant- the first comprehensive child care legislation enacted since World War II
- Employee Pension Protection Act
- Higher Education Reauthorization Act
- Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act Amendments
- Excellence in Math and Science Act
- Drug Free Schools Amendments
- Civil Rights Act of 1991, overruling seven Supreme Court decisions which had reduced protections against job discrimination
During 1993 and 1994, the first two years of the Clinton Administration, the Committee was particularly active in the areas of education, health care, and job security, producing these initiatives:
- National Institute of Health Revitalization Act, including women’s health initiatives, removal of ban on fetal tissue research, and childhood immunization initiatives
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Goals 2000 school reform
- Technology for Education Act
- School-to-Work Opportunities Act
- Student Loan Reform Act, instituting direct student loans and income-contingent repayment
- National and Community Service Trust Act
- Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization
- National Community Economic Partnership Act, strengthening community development corporations.
The Committee continued its record of bipartisan accomplishment from 1994 to 1997, while the Senate was in the control of the Republicans. In 1996, it took the lead in enacting the bipartisan Kennedy-Kassebaum health insurance reform bill (“HIPAA”). An increase in the minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.15 was also enacted into law through the Committee. In 1997, Senator Kennedy and Senator Hatch were the principal cosponsors of the Children’s Health Insurance and Lower Deficit Act, (now called S-CHIP), which provided health insurance for over 5 million children whose parents work, but because of their low income cannot afford health insurance.
In addition to his work with Foley Hoag and in the Senate, Nick has substantial experience both in law school instruction and in trial practice. He taught at Harvard Law School full time from 1976 to 1978, and part time as Edward R. Johnston Lecturer on Law from 1980 to 1989. During this time he developed and taught several courses, including a course for over 100 second and third-year students, entitled “The Government Lawyer: Criminal and Civil Law Enforcement.” This course examined the special role and responsibilities of the government lawyer, concentrating on standards of ethical conduct, on the process of making policy decisions, and on conducting investigations in criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions.
Nick’s Harvard Law teaching was in part based on his impressive prosecutorial experience. From 1978 to 1980 he served as Chief Counsel to the Massachusetts Special Anti-Corruption Commission (Chaired by John William Ward, and known as the “Ward Commission”). In this capacity he directed the activities of the Commission and staff, including supervising and conducting public corruption and construction fraud investigations, coordinating and presenting testimony at public and private hearings, supervising Commission litigation, and drafting and negotiating legislative proposals.
From 1972 to 1976 Nick was Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (serving under United States Attorneys Whitney North Seymour, Jr., Paul J. Curran, and Robert B. Fiske, Jr.). As a federal criminal prosecutor, he conducted preliminary and grand jury investigations, tried jury cases and prepared briefs and argued appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He was initially assigned to prosecute narcotics conspiracy cases, and for his last two years worked with the white-collar and securities and business frauds unit.