Transition into politics

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Fark-o-vision
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Transition into politics

Postby Fark-o-vision » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:02 am

I think the general thought a few years ago would have been that transitioning from the legal profession into the political sphere was the easiest way to go (aside from local law enforcement). Now, the transition seems to favor business men. I have to admit, my endgame with a legal degree is a move into the political sphere (Jesus, I made a mistake putting a blowjob joke on the internet, didn't I?). I'm not so much soliciting advice as wondering if anyone else went this way, or decided against it, and what it was that convinced them. I'm convinced that a poly sci degree is useless in this respect.

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pany1985
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby pany1985 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:09 am

The only thing I'm qualified to comment on is the last sentence of your post, but I agree with that sentence.

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ArtVandelay
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby ArtVandelay » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:21 am

Fark-o-vision wrote:I'm convinced that a poly sci degree is useless [strike]in this respect[/strike].


This

CyLaw
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby CyLaw » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:26 am

ArtVandelay wrote:
Fark-o-vision wrote:I'm convinced that a poly sci degree is useless [strike]in this respect[/strike].


This


A polymer science degree is very useful in general, just not for politics.

Edit: To Op,

The best way to go into politics to go out an be political. It is that simple. Get involved in local causes, meet with people, and advocate for the changes you want to see. I doubt there is any formal education you can really attain that is going to be a good path into politics, unless you mean politics by the media junkies we see in the arena today.

That being said I am going to law school in part to be political, not because I want elected office, but because I see a need for the law to champion the rights and interests that are important to me.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:04 am

Degrees are only as useless as you allow them to be.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby pleasetryagain » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:21 am

WhiskeyGuy wrote:Degrees are only as useless as [strike]you allow them to be[/strike] the jobs you can (can't) get with them.

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englawyer
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby englawyer » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 am

i dont think politics has that much to do with academic credentials; nonetheless, lawyer is still better than business for politics. the most likely transition in my opinion is ADA -> DA -> Local Politics. i am not sure what toiling away for a few years in biglaw gets you politically

imisscollege
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby imisscollege » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 am

I say go DA's office and do a really good job...for a while.

Anonymous User
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:26 am

I work in politics now as a lobbyist, and am transitioning back to school because I believe it's necessary for my political career. A business background may be en vogue in politics, but the job itself, especially on the legislative side, is to write laws. Thus, the degree is helpful.

That said, for non-politicos looking to work in politics the best avenue is fundraising/contributing. Politicians follow the money, and if you can establish yourself as a funder, you have a great future. That was Rahm Emanuel's in with Bill Clinton, and it has paid off swimingly.

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TTH
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby TTH » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work in politics now as a lobbyist, and am transitioning back to school because I believe it's necessary for my political career. A business background may be en vogue in politics, but the job itself, especially on the legislative side, is to write laws. Thus, the degree is helpful.

That said, for non-politicos looking to work in politics the best avenue is fundraising/contributing. Politicians follow the money, and if you can establish yourself as a funder, you have a great future. That was Rahm Emanuel's in with Bill Clinton, and it has paid off swimingly.


1. Go BIGLAW and make partner
2. Make Associates donate to your pet causes in order to get work from you. Become a major bundler.
3. ...
4. Profit.

articulably suspect
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby articulably suspect » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:00 pm

englawyer wrote:i dont think politics has that much to do with academic credentials; nonetheless, lawyer is still better than business for politics. the most likely transition in my opinion is ADA -> DA -> Local Politics. i am not sure what toiling away for a few years in biglaw gets you politically


The elected position of District Attorney is not considered local politics?

ArmyVet07
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby ArmyVet07 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:57 am

Military service also looks very good on a political résumé.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby pleasetryagain » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:57 am

ArmyVet07 wrote:Military service also looks very good on a political résumé.


unless you are giving that resume to a liberal.

CyLaw
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby CyLaw » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:09 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:
ArmyVet07 wrote:Military service also looks very good on a political résumé.


unless you are giving that resume to a liberal.


Umm. No, we are past the 60s. Many liberals are veterans, and others realize the political power of veterans to reach multiple sides of an issue.

SlipperyPete
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby SlipperyPete » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:10 am

.
Last edited by SlipperyPete on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

imisscollege
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby imisscollege » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:28 am

SlipperyPete wrote:
englawyer wrote:i dont think politics has that much to do with academic credentials; nonetheless, lawyer is still better than business for politics. the most likely transition in my opinion is ADA -> DA -> Local Politics. i am not sure what toiling away for a few years in biglaw gets you politically


It gets you contacts. As a biglaw lawyer, you'll have more money than most others in their 20s. You can get to know politicians by donating to their campaigns yourself and helping to raise money for their campaigns. In the course of this fundraising, you can get to know other big contributors in the area. When you are ready to run for office yourself, you'll have a nice rolodex . . . people whom you can ask for money, and people whom you can ask for political support, etc. And with this, you can start your career by running for a respectable office, like state house or senate, suburban mayor, urban city council, or county council. If you can raise money, and have established good (i.e., mutually friendly, not sycophantic) relationships with a few prominent politicos, you'll be miles ahead of the gadflies, PTA presidents, and labor goons you'll be running against. Also, bide your time wisely . . . if you decide that the state assembly is where you want to start, move into a district that matches your politics and then sit around and wait until the incumbent retires--then run (this last bit applies to every non-political job one would use as a springboard to electoral politics, not just biglaw)

As for "ADA -> DA -> Local Politics," somebody else pointed out that DA=Local Politics. Also, local politics are for chumps, unless you're talking about mayor of a city or a position that pays as a full-time job (e.g., most city councils in "big" cities are full-time, and pay $80k+ whereas city councils in suburbia and hicksville are part-time and pay in the $1k/mo neighborhood . . . same distinction exists between groups of county councils/commissions). If you want to be a "player," don't waste your time on city council of your exurb or school board. your name will be in the paper once a month when you vote on widening the sidewalks downtown or interviewing a new superintendent . . . nobody cares. unless you are on the council for like 20 years before you run for a higher office, nobody is going to care or even know who you are. I think biglaw->politics is a much better path than ADA->politics for the reasons above. but if you start out at ADA, you still don't have to consign yourself to local politics. you just have to figure out a good way, other than from money, to get to know the people whose support you will require.


This is interesting. How do you know so much about this? I think this sort of topic is largely unexplored on these boards.

CyLaw
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby CyLaw » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:39 am

SlipperyPete wrote:
englawyer wrote:i dont think politics has that much to do with academic credentials; nonetheless, lawyer is still better than business for politics. the most likely transition in my opinion is ADA -> DA -> Local Politics. i am not sure what toiling away for a few years in biglaw gets you politically


It gets you contacts. As a biglaw lawyer, you'll have more money than most others in their 20s. You can get to know politicians by donating to their campaigns yourself and helping to raise money for their campaigns. In the course of this fundraising, you can get to know other big contributors in the area. When you are ready to run for office yourself, you'll have a nice rolodex . . . people whom you can ask for money, and people whom you can ask for political support, etc. And with this, you can start your career by running for a respectable office, like state house or senate, suburban mayor, urban city council, or county council. If you can raise money, and have established good (i.e., mutually friendly, not sycophantic) relationships with a few prominent politicos, you'll be miles ahead of the gadflies, PTA presidents, and labor goons you'll be running against. Also, bide your time wisely . . . if you decide that the state assembly is where you want to start, move into a district that matches your politics and then sit around and wait until the incumbent retires--then run (this last bit applies to every non-political job one would use as a springboard to electoral politics, not just biglaw)

As for "ADA -> DA -> Local Politics," somebody else pointed out that DA=Local Politics. Also, local politics are for chumps, unless you're talking about mayor of a city or a position that pays as a full-time job (e.g., most city councils in "big" cities are full-time, and pay $80k+ whereas city councils in suburbia and hicksville are part-time and pay in the $1k/mo neighborhood . . . same distinction exists between groups of county councils/commissions). If you want to be a "player," don't waste your time on city council of your exurb or school board. your name will be in the paper once a month when you vote on widening the sidewalks downtown or interviewing a new superintendent . . . nobody cares. unless you are on the council for like 20 years before you run for a higher office, nobody is going to care or even know who you are. I think biglaw->politics is a much better path than ADA->politics for the reasons above. but if you start out at ADA, you still don't have to consign yourself to local politics. you just have to figure out a good way, other than from money, to get to know the people whose support you will require.


Yes, because people who go into politics to enact change in their local community and don't want to do it for being a media star are chumps. :roll:

SlipperyPete
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby SlipperyPete » Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:47 pm

.
Last edited by SlipperyPete on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:21 am

It gets you contacts. As a biglaw lawyer, you'll have more money than most others in their 20s. You can get to know politicians by donating to their campaigns yourself and helping to raise money for their campaigns. In the course of this fundraising, you can get to know other big contributors in the area. When you are ready to run for office yourself, you'll have a nice rolodex . . . people whom you can ask for money, and people whom you can ask for political support, etc. And with this, you can start your career by running for a respectable office, like state house or senate, suburban mayor, urban city council, or county council. If you can raise money, and have established good (i.e., mutually friendly, not sycophantic) relationships with a few prominent politicos, you'll be miles ahead of the gadflies, PTA presidents, and labor goons you'll be running against. Also, bide your time wisely . . . if you decide that the state assembly is where you want to start, move into a district that matches your politics and then sit around and wait until the incumbent retires--then run (this last bit applies to every non-political job one would use as a springboard to electoral politics, not just BigLaw)


It's definitely easy to get involved in state politics if you have a lot of money, and as an attorney you would have a good avenue to get to know state politicians at fundraisers and other events. This wouldn't necessarily get you anywhere though. BigLaw is lucrative, but it takes more than a mil or two in the bank to leap frog you past the hierarchy in either party. It takes some serious connections to do well in Washington. If you look at the people that run Congress (and I don't necessarily mean the members), the majority have been in politics for a while. Someone with 2 years of campaign experience and 3 years on the Hill will have a big advantage over someone who donates a few thousand dollars here and there, and there are a LOT of people with that kind of experience. We're talking hundreds of applicants to any one available job in D.C.

Running for Congress is always a possible way to get involved in National politics, but it would be tough to win without an established organization - having served in the state legislature helps, but even running for a spot on state legislatures is very difficult, and there are plenty of people who try to tap into this and only a 150 or so are successful.

"Politics" is not typically a fall-back career. Yes, some people happen into it through business and law, but the majority of the people spend years building their connections. If you dedicate your youth to working in BigLaw, it's tough because you will be older when you climb the ladder and will be trying to keep up with a bunch of college kids with no commitments but their careers. Political jobs are very volatile. Come November, hundreds - if not thousands - of people in Washington might become unemployed overnight (with many thousands more positions suddenly becoming available). You have to be able and willing to go with the flow. It can take years for a political career to catch fire.

Generally the way it works is you work on politics while you are young and rely on law as a fallback - not the other way around.

Anonymous User
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Re: Transition into politics

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:44 am

One thing I am curious about is how might clerking factor in here? Is the only purpose of a clerkship to pursue a bona fide legal career, or might there be benefits for those of us who wish to make the transition, especially if we can clerk in the city where we wish to become political?

Also, here is an article from yesterday that is relevant to our discussion: "The Practice: Political Networking."
http://abovethelaw.com/2012/02/the-prac ... etworking/




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