Joseph Lai

Joseph works with BGR’s Commerce and Infrastructure, International and Trade, Financial Services, and Defense and Critical Technologies Practices.

Washington, D.C.
Commerce and National Security Policy, White House and Executive Brand Policy Process, Federal Legislative Process, Congressional Hearing Process and Witness Training
White House, U.S. Senate, Aerospace Industries Association

Joseph Lai is a Principal with BGR Group. He has deep experience in navigating the Washington D.C. policymaking process. After serving as a key advisor to three U.S. senators and as a senior member of the White House legislative affairs team, Joe joined BGR in 2019 to help clients communicate more effectively with policymakers and get results that count.

With a broad portfolio spanning international commerce and financial services to defense and critical technologies, Joe understands how political and regulatory risk in Washington can affect a company’s operations and strategic investments. As a trusted partner to his U.S. and multinational clients, he puts his knowledge and skills to work designing and executing integrated legislative, communications, and political strategies to mitigate those risks.

Joe served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs from 2017 to 2019. In that capacity, he led the White House’s outreach to the Senate on economic issues including international trade and financial services matters. Joe worked with Senate leaders to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and to confirm multiple appointees to the Cabinet, the Federal Reserve, and the Supreme Court.

Prior to joining the White House, Joe worked in the U.S. Senate for over a decade including serving as defense policy advisor and later legislative director to Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee. Joe also served as a policy advisor to Senators George Voinovich of Ohio and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. In the private sector, Joe led international trade and defense policy coordination at the Aerospace Industries Association where he oversaw major international transactions for leading U.S. aerospace and defense companies.

A native of Burlingame, California, Joe received his Master of Arts from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Joe is a regent of the Fund for American Studies and a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is fluent in Cantonese Chinese.

Areas of Focus

  • Political and Legislative Risk Mitigation
  • International Economic Policy
  • National Security Policy
  • White House and Executive Branch Policy Process
  • Congressional Hearing Preparation and Witness Training


  • Yale University

  • University of California at Berkeley

  • Affiliations

    Regent, The Fund for American Studies Former Term Member, Council on Foreign Relations Fluent in Cantonese Chinese