According to the American League of Lobbyists, there’s no specific degree or even formal training to become a lobbyist. That said, most lobbyists typically have a college degree. Some even have graduate or professional degrees. An understanding of how business and government interrelate is valuable to those interested in the profession. Many of those who work as lobbyists have had a successful background in government service.
Lobbyists certainly need strong oral and written communication skills and the ability to build relationships and persuade decision‑makers are a critical component to any lobbyist’s success. In addition, lobbyists have to have the ability to analyze a client’s problem and determine the best course of action to address that problem.
Some of the additional qualities of a good lobbyist include strong interpersonal skills, effective oral and written advocacy skills, determination, hard work, a thorough knowledge and an understanding of both the legislative and regulatory processes, honesty and integrity, and the ability to operate in challenging environments and, of course, the ability to multitask. Fundamentally, effective lobbying requires an understanding of the legislative process, the policy, the players, and the politics. A successful lobbyist possesses the experience and knowledge to connect all of these. Subject matter expertise is also necessary. How do individuals interested in a career in lobbying obtain some of these skills?
One option is the Capitol Seminars Lobbying 101 and 201 seminars taught by Ray LeBov. The two sessions are half-day seminars. McGeorge School of Law also has options for aspiring lobbyists. McGeorge offers a Capital Lawyering Concentration to JD students in the full time and part-time programs. Or for those who do not want or need a JD to pursue their career goals, McGeorge also offers a Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy as well as an online Master of Science in Law, Government Law, & Policy.
You can find the full transcript of today’s podcast here.