Lawyers Need Lobbyists, Too

Lobbyists are often treated as cruel and vile creatures out to ensure companies receive preferential treatment by the government. At the expense of the common man, naturally. Similarly, people no longer hold attorneys in high regard. Does that make a lobbyist for lawyers the lowest-of-the-low? I hope you don’t think so.

Rather than feature another post decrying the work of lobbyists, this is an opportunity to show the good works of a lobbyist. According to the Daily Report, the long-serving lobbyist for the State Bar of Georgia is retiring on November 1, 2012. Among his recent achievements is the passing of Georgia’s new evidence code; a feat that only took two decades to come to fruition. The full article can be found below the fold.

But I ask you, keep in mind not all lawyers are bad. Not all lobbyists are bad. Generalizations, however, are generally bad–except when they are not. Just some food for thought.

Veteran lobbyist Tom Boller, whose client list includes the State Bar of Georgia, announced he is retiring from government affairs on Nov. 1.

“It has been a great run, and I couldn’t have asked for a better situation or better partners,” Boller, 64, wrote in an email announcing his resignation on Thursday.

State Bar President Robin Frazer Clark described Boller as “an incredible asset,” given his two decades working for the bar. “I knew he was thinking about retiring for a while, but this was a shock to us and a surprise.”

Clark also said the bar has not decided what it will do in regards to securing lobbyist representation for the upcoming session of the General Assembly, which starts in January.

Boller, who founded the Capitol Partners Public Affairs Group in 1986, has been a lobbyist in Georgia for 37 years. Most recently, Boller was instrumental in pushing the state Legislature to finally approve in 2011 new rules of evidence, which the bar had been pushing for the last two decades.

“He was a major help getting it through the Senate. He got the senators all lined up even though we had some folks we thought were friends that tried to hold it up,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, who sponsored the evidence code rewrite bill. “Tom has built up a lot of trust over the years, and his credibility is his hallmark.”

While Boller earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri in 1972, he never earned a law degree. However, his lobbying partner, Russell “Rusty” Sewell Jr., is an attorney.

“I didn’t know he wasn’t a lawyer for quite a while,” said Willard, who first met Boller upon joining the Legislature in 2001.

Boller said he doesn’t have plans for his retirement yet but promised to keep “a keen interest in politics and public policy.”

10 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    “…keep in mind not all lawyers are bad.”

    Of course not, it’s the 98% who give the other 2% a bad name. 😉

    Sorry Ron, I could resist such a set-up as you gave me.

  2. saltycracker says:

    “….keep in mind not all lawyers are bad. Not all lobbyists are bad.”

    Mathematically correct but theoritically an unacceptable sample could be bad.

  3. greencracker says:

    Lobbyists are great if they’re lobbying for what you like. Counties, cities, Sierra Club, NRA, raw milk, charter schools, no charter schools, abortions, no abortions, whatever. Heck, even the Georgia Press Association has a lobbyist.

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