John P. Schmitz has significant experience working on high-profile business and regulatory matters involving both American and German/EU public policy and legal activities. He has a deep working knowledge of all three branches of U.S. government, and private practice, particularly focusing on antitrust, media, energy, and environmental issues. His clients have included Airbus, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, General Electric, Bertelsmann, Microsoft, Pfizer, DuPont, Deutsche Telekom, and Lufthansa.
John received his J.D. from Stanford University Law School (1981), and a M.S. in Economics at the California Institute of Technology (1978), where he interviewed Members of Parliament in the U.K. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University (1976) with a B.A. in Economics and was admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. While at Georgetown, John worked for two Members of Congress and learned the legislative process first hand.
After law school, John clerked for The Honorable Antonin Scalia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and worked in the Justice Department as Special Assistant to William Baxter, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust during the Reagan Administration.
In 1984, John was awarded a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship in Germany where he worked in the Office of German Bundestag Member Matthias Wissmann (Bonn) and the Office of General Counsel, Robert Bosch GmbH (Stuttgart). In 1985 John returned to Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP before rejoining the Reagan Administration, serving as Deputy Legal Counsel to then Vice President George H.W. Bush for three years. Between 1989 and 1993, John continued to serve now President Bush as White House Deputy Counsel throughout the senior Bush Administration. He worked extensively on the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, regulatory reform, Forests for the Future, The Americans with Disabilities Act, and helped Barbara Bush establish her Foundation for Family Literacy.
John also accompanied senior President and Mrs. Bush on several trips to Berlin, Germany and Point Alpha where President Bush was honored as one of the “Three fathers of German Unity” along with Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev. In 2008, John helped raise contributions to fund the PBS Houston historical documentary detailing the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, “The Wall: A World Divided”. John personally organized and assisted with filmed interviews of prominent German leaders, including Chancellor Kohl.
In 1993, John joined Mayer Brown LLP as a Partner to help open its first German office in Berlin. From 1993 to 2009, John developed a thriving U.S./German and European practice with offices established in Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Brussels. Fluent in German, John was one of the first Americans to be admitted as a “Rechtsanwalt” to the Berlin Bar. Prior to joining Prime Policy Group as a Managing Director, John was a Principal at Bingham Consulting and a Partner at Bingham LLP. During his career, John has served on numerous boards, including The Atlantic Council, The American Council on Germany, C2ES (formerly The Pew Center on Global Climate Change), The Aspen Institute, IESE, and The Friends of Dresden.
In 1990 John received The Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit, First Class, from the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (Deutsches Bundesverdienstkreuz Erste Klasse), awarded for promoting strong US-German relationships and German unification. John also received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1990; the Distinguished German American of the Year Award from the United German American Committee in 2000; and The Robert Bosch Fellow of the Year Award from the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association in 2011.