How to Become a Lobbyist

How to Become a Lobbyist in California

How to Become a Lobbyist

If government and law is your passion, there are many areas you can work. Lobbying is one of them. If you have ever wondered how to become a lobbyist, you have come to the right place. 

What is a lobbyist?

Lobbyists are professional advocates that work to influence political decisions on behalf of individuals and organizations. This advocacy could lead to the proposal of new legislation or the amendment of existing laws and regulations.

There are four types of lobbyist jobs out there:

  1. Contract
  2. In-house / GR
  3. Association
  4. Government

For each, there are different kinds of employers. The job description and position may also vary. Let’s go into more detail for each category.

Contract lobbyists get contracted by lobbyist employers to work on their behalf. They get employed by a lobbying firm. They get contracted out by unions, companies, and more. In order to become a contract lobbyist, you must register with the Secretary of State. Plus, you’ll need to take a lobbyist ethics course. 

In-house lobbyists are full-time employees of a business. They do local, state, and/or federal lobbying on behalf of their employer. As with contract lobbyists, they must register with the Secretary of State and take the ethics course.

Association lobbyists are full-time employees of a trade association. A trade association is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. Other names for trade associations include:

  • Industry trade groups 
  • Business associations 
  • Sector associations, and 
  • Industry bodies 

Association lobbyists must also register with the State and take the ethics course.

Government lobbyists are full-time employees of a state agency, department, board, or commission. They engage in lobbying on behalf of a government administration. These lobbyists appear before the Legislature to advocate on behalf of the administration. These are the only lobbyists that do not have to register with the State. This is because they are state employees. 

How do you become a lobbyist?

In order to become a lobbyist, there are a few steps you should follow. First, earning a degree that will help you in the field is essential. After your bachelor’s degree, earning a Master of Science in Law (MSL) is the perfect next step. Getting your degree in law or government can help your career.

Further, working in a related field and networking is crucial. You can learn about local issues and form relationships. Networking can help you find a job lobbying. Finally, you will likely need to register with the Secretary of State. Lobbyists who incur $2,500 in lobbying activity in a quarterly filing period must file. You also must take the lobbyist ethics course.  

How can an MSL help?

McGeorge School of Law has a Government Law and Policy MSL that can help further your career as a lobbyist. As a student, you can enhance your skills in: 

  • Lawmaking
  • Regulation
  • Election law, and 
  • Lobbying. 

Plus, you won’t have to get a traditional law degree. 

The faculty at McGeorge get hired for their outstanding teaching. In addition, they are experts with in-depth knowledge of government law. Courses emphasize real-world knowledge and the development of practical skills. 

McGeorge’s prime location is another advantage. The school’s proximity to the California State Capitol allows students unique connections. Their program is online as well. They are convenient and specifically designed for:

  • Working professionals
  • Students who need flexibility due to career, family, or other obligations, 
  • Those who want to further their education and advance their career.

The program allows for flexibility and opportunity. 


If you’re wondering how to become a lobbyist, look no further. McGeorge’s MSL program in Government and Law is a strategic step. Take advantage of the location, the resources, and the opportunity. Contact the admissions office today to get started.

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