Are Lobbyists Lawyers?

Are Lobbyists Lawyers?

Sometimes people get confused about the difference between a lobbyist and a lawyer. Are lobbyists lawyers? The simple answer is no.

Lawyer: Counsel Regarding Legal Matters

A lawyer is someone who gives you counsel regarding legal matters and ensures that your rights are protected. They can also represent you in a court of law and speak for you.  They are very familiar with the laws and can help interpret them. So a lawyer is helpful when you are going to court. They are helpful when you are trying to clarify a document. They can help you ensure that you are aware of your rights and that you get the possible outcome in a dispute.

Lobbyist: Solve Problems Through Law Creation and Policy Changes

On the other hand, a lobbyist is someone who helps you solve problems that you may have with the government. They will work closely with the government to figure out solutions. This may be through the drafting of a new law, changes made to law, or even policy changes.  They aren’t going to stand with you in a courtroom. They are going to work with government entities to find solutions for the issues that you are facing. 

Different Ways of Dealing with the Law

So, yes both a lawyer and a lobbyist can help you solve problems. However, they both deal with the law in different ways. A lawyer is in charge of interpreting the law and ensuring that it is being held up. A lobbyist on the other hand, works with the government to create new laws or make changes to laws and policy. The lawyer is in charge of ensuring the law is being used the correct way and also ensuring that your rights are being protected. The lobbyist is working to create new solutions by changes and the creation of new policies. 

But Don’t Lobbyists Have to Have a Law Degree?

Some lobbyist firms are made up of lawyers. However, a person does not need a law degree in order to be a lobbyist. Lobbying isn’t a certified position that requires licensing or a specific degree or training. 

This misconception probably comes from the stereotype that in order to deal with legislators you need to have a legal background to understand how laws work. This is inaccurate. It is not necessary to have a Juris Doctorate to be a successful lobbyist. A large amount of the work of lobbying is working with clients and legislators to find solutions to problems and to find common ground. 

What Makes a Successful Lobbyist?

Ideally, you want to find a lobbyist who has previous experience with the government. You need someone who is familiar with the way that laws are made and the legislative process. Also, it is helpful if they have contacts in the legislature so that they can easily find an audience that will listen to your concerns and proposed changes.

It is true that many successful lobbyists are lawyers, but there is also a large percentage of lobbyists that do not have law degrees. A law degree is not a guarantee for success as a lobbyist. 

To learn more about what a lobbyist is, check out “What is a Lobbyist?