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Colton
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Re: The Hill

Postby Colton » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:47 pm

Also, not to add to the controversy, but I looked up some of the LA's and LD's that I know. All in the House. The new LA's all started in the mid 30's and with a year or two experience were up in the mid 40k to low 50k range. The LD's, who all had about 5 years of experience [either as press secretaries or LA's] were all in the 65-75k range.

** All of the people I looked up only have BA/BS no grad degree or JD.

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oberlin08
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Re: The Hill

Postby oberlin08 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:01 pm

disco_barred wrote:
cheapthrills wrote:Does one typically have to start at a LA position before a committee job is possible? I mean could a MPV grad with good grades and summer internships start out at a committee or is a LA job the basic starting point no matter your school rank/grades etc....?


There is only one rule in Congressional hiring: Do you know somebody who is hiring?

If yes, then you should talk to them.

If no, you probably aren't going to get the job.

It's not like COMMITTEE and PERSONAL are two different prestige levels that require different GPAs or schools. MVP is going to be largely meaningless too - although it could be a bump for districts in M, V, or P :lol:

Hill hiring is too esoteric and people-centric to generalize the way you can with big firm or federal government hiring.



+111111111111111

knowing someone is basically all that matters, again it varies per office. But think of it this way - if these members depend on their public image for survival, why would they hire someone who they dont 'know' via one way or another?

gp86
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Re: The Hill

Postby gp86 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:23 pm

I work in a personal office in the Senate, so hopefully I can provide some information about the non-committee stuff.

Of the 6 LAs in our office, 3 have JDs. These are people who do agriculture, environment, foreign policy - policy areas you wouldn't expect to see a law graduate in. Another has a PhD (our finance guy). Both of our committee staffers also have JDs.

The bridge between being a junior staffer (SA,LC) and a senior staffer is an advanced degree or relevant private sector experience (or military - most offices have MLAs).

It's possible to do it without either, but you've got to be really good. A significant portion of an LA's job is meeting with various interest groups and handling district/state appropriations. This can range from meeting with local schoolchildren from the XYZ club to handling negotiations with Boeing over a major contract in your district. While the thought of sitting in an ornate office and kicking around ideas for the new Medicare payroll tax or the START treaty's implication on Iranian relations sounds great, the reality is that your boss is more likely to have you working fleshing out funding for a new bridge or port somewhere in your district. If members of Congress want broad policy ideas, they have think tanks hawking papers left and right. If they want gritty legislative details worked out, they turn to their staff.

This is why experience is so important. It takes time to learn Senate and House procedures, and it takes more time to learn how they can be effectively used. You can't really learn this in school. You pick it up when you're answering phones and writing letters as a junior staffer and perfect it as an LA.

There is another type of job here that hasn't been mentioned - leadership staff. Party leaders have separate leadership officers with staffers who do purely legislative work. That is, they monitor the floor, keep track of legislation, and play a role in developing the overall strategy of a party's legislative agenda. These are very interesting jobs, and many of these staffers have JDs (probably because a legalistic manner of thinking lends itself to analyzing procedural strategy.) But again, these are also jobs that require a lot of experience and connections.

Regarding money: there are no set rules. It all depends on what the member decides to pay and how experienced a staffer is. I made 25k when I began as a staff assistant, and I had friends on the House side making 35k doing the same job (and taking 85% less phone calls per day). There are LAs on the House side that might make 40k, but these might be people who are 26 or so and moved up from LC. An LA in the Senate might make $100k, but he may have been a PhD at Brookings who came on staff at the behest of the Senator to work on a certain policy issue. I will say, though, that reaching the LD and CoS positions take a lot of time, and their pay reflects that experience. A Chief making 170k after 15 years in the Senate could be making much, much, more for that lobbying, however.

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sky7
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Re: The Hill

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:50 am

gp86 wrote:I work in a personal office in the Senate, so hopefully I can provide some information about the non-committee stuff.

Of the 6 LAs in our office, 3 have JDs. These are people who do agriculture, environment, foreign policy - policy areas you wouldn't expect to see a law graduate in. Another has a PhD (our finance guy). Both of our committee staffers also have JDs.

The bridge between being a junior staffer (SA,LC) and a senior staffer is an advanced degree or relevant private sector experience (or military - most offices have MLAs).



So, how bout someone with military experience and a law degree? 8)

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oberlin08
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Re: The Hill

Postby oberlin08 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:28 am

sky7 wrote:
gp86 wrote:I work in a personal office in the Senate, so hopefully I can provide some information about the non-committee stuff.

Of the 6 LAs in our office, 3 have JDs. These are people who do agriculture, environment, foreign policy - policy areas you wouldn't expect to see a law graduate in. Another has a PhD (our finance guy). Both of our committee staffers also have JDs.

The bridge between being a junior staffer (SA,LC) and a senior staffer is an advanced degree or relevant private sector experience (or military - most offices have MLAs).



So, how bout someone with military experience and a law degree? 8)



That could put you in a great position to do some veteran's work.

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sky7
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Re: The Hill

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:51 am

I'm going to count my lucky charms and hope for either MLA or SSCI staff.

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Re: The Hill

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:54 am

sky7 wrote:I actually just took an internship at a D.C. non-profit that ostensibly should suffice ("Congressional Correspondent"). I'm currently targeting the MLA job of my state's senator. That would be amazing.


As a hill staffer, I just wanted to note that these are not the same things nor are they seen as the same thing by the Senator's, COS, and office managers (who do the hiring).

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Re: The Hill

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:56 am

swester wrote:And by low, just to clarify, I think we're talking in the mid-$30s to low $40k range + gov't benefits for an L.A., and probably closer to mid-$50k starting for an L.D. So yeah, low. It's not a job you're in for the money, that's for sure.


This is bull...check legistorm for what LA's and LD's get payed. What you have listed is what Staff Assistants (receptionists get paid)

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Re: The Hill

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:00 am

Also, (same person as above) I work for the Senate side...I'm sure things are different here. I started out with 34, 000/yr as a staff assistant.

So yeah...

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Re: The Hill

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:Also, (same person as above) I work for the Senate side...I'm sure things are different here. I started out with 34, 000/yr as a staff assistant.

So yeah...



I worked on the house side, started as a staff asst at 27k

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sky7
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Re: The Hill

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
sky7 wrote:I actually just took an internship at a D.C. non-profit that ostensibly should suffice ("Congressional Correspondent"). I'm currently targeting the MLA job of my state's senator. That would be amazing.


As a hill staffer, I just wanted to note that these are not the same things nor are they seen as the same thing by the Senator's, COS, and office managers (who do the hiring).


Understood. It will be better than having nothing though.

Anonymous User wrote:
swester wrote:And by low, just to clarify, I think we're talking in the mid-$30s to low $40k range + gov't benefits for an L.A., and probably closer to mid-$50k starting for an L.D. So yeah, low. It's not a job you're in for the money, that's for sure.


This is bull...check legistorm for what LA's and LD's get payed. What you have listed is what Staff Assistants (receptionists get paid)


Yeah, we've bantered back and forth quite a bit on this. First, Senate makes more, it seems. Second, there's significant fluctuation from office to office. I agree with you though.

swester
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Re: The Hill

Postby swester » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:52 am

I just chuckle at how bent out of shape some of these posters get over some rather small numerical differences, as if I said anything about the numbers being set in stone. Of course every office is different, and Senate v. House v. committee will be different. And yes, for all the "total bull" commenters, there are plenty of offices where you could be starting at under $40k and others where it could be higher. My point is that you're not making big money here, and that is all. You go into Hill jobs because you enjoy the political process, and it could possibly lay the groundwork for a step into the private sector later on.

Sheesh, relax.

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Re: The Hill

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:04 pm

sky7 wrote:I'm going to count my lucky charms and hope for either MLA or SSCI staff.

You're not going to get SSCI without relevant agency experience, at least based on what I've seen (having worked for a member of SSCI for several years)

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sky7
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Re: The Hill

Postby sky7 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Understood. I'm fortunate in that regard.




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