Election Law

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Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Election Law

Postby wolverinefan2343 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:10 pm

Hey all,

I've applied to law school this cycle (0L) and I'm a slightly older student and have done a few years in politics and working on campaigns.
I am interested in practicing election law but am not sure where to start. Does anyone have an idea as to the career path? Do election lawyers only practice election law?

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Re: Election Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:45 pm

There are very few people who practice in this area, but fortunately I am one of them so I can try to answer your questions!

There are, generally speaking, a few ways you can work in this field: (1) work for a law firm with a political law practice group. There are a few firms that seem to really dominate in this field (Perkins Coie, Wiley Rein, plus a couple others) and then another handful of firms that seem to have smaller political/election law practice groups. (2) Work for a nonprofit that works in this space like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington or the Center for Responsive Politics. (3) Work for a government agency like the FEC or a couple of the DOJ divisions that do similar work (or I suppose something like a state's Secretary of State office, but tbh I know almost nothing about this).

All three options share the attribute that the vast majority of jobs are in DC but, even so, there are a pretty small number of jobs available in each of the three categories listed. With some employers, like the FEC and the "big name" political firms, you probably wind up doing nothing but election law, but I think a lot of the other options will cause you to do some other types of work as well. It seems that firms will often group election law in with subjects like nonprofit work, government relations, and public client work.

I don't think there is really any magic formula to getting these jobs: try to network with the right people, demonstrate a genuine interest in the field (both obviously easier to do if you are near DC), and have the most impressive overall resume possible. In my experience, prior experience working with campaigns is a big plus, but is not by itself enough.

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