Career Development

What Does a Legislative Assistant Do?

Find out what a legislative assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a legislative assistant.

Legislative assistants are the liaisons between legislators and their constituents. They help lawmakers understand the needs of their constituents, craft legislation to address those needs, and communicate with constituents about bills that are being considered.

Legislative assistants may work directly for a legislator or represent an entire political party or caucus. In either case, they’re tasked with keeping their boss informed about what’s happening in Congress so they can make smart decisions about how to vote on proposed legislation.

Legislative Assistant Job Duties

Legislative assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing advice to legislators on issues related to their work, including drafting correspondence, speeches, bills, and other documents
  • Reviewing bills introduced in the legislature for procedural correctness and drafting amendments when necessary
  • Monitoring the activities of other legislators who might impact the legislator’s district or committee assignments
  • Coordinating meetings between constituents and legislators, taking notes during meetings, and summarizing points from meetings in official records
  • Conducting research on topics such as current laws or proposed legislation to develop a legislator’s position on an issue
  • Scheduling meetings with constituents, government officials, lobbyists, or community leaders on behalf of the legislator
  • Preparing materials for meetings or events such as agendas, background information, and press releases
  • Act as an intermediary between constituents and their elected representative by answering questions about the legislative process or helping them submit comments or concerns to the legislator
  • Preparing reports on legislative activities such as committee meetings and voting records of members of Congress

Legislative Assistant Salary & Outlook

Legislative assistants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company or organization they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $100,000 ($48.08/hour)

The employment of legislative assistants is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for legislative assistants depends largely on the actions of legislators and their committees. Legislative assistants will be needed to help write and review bills as well as to provide information to constituents and lobbyists.

Related: Legislative Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Legislative Assistant Job Requirements

A legislative assistant typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Legislative assistants need at least a bachelor’s degree. Many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in political science, public policy or a related field. Some of the coursework that legislative assistants can expect to find in their degree programs includes political processes, public policy, public speaking, research methods, statistics and economics.

Training & Experience: Legislative assistants typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other legislative staff members. This training may include how to use the legislative computer system, how to organize and file paperwork and how to schedule meetings and events.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not usually required for a role as a legislative assistant, there are certifications available for political professionals who wish to increase their chances of finding a job and increasing their earning potential.

Legislative Assistant Skills

Legislative assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Research: Legislative assistants often need to research topics for their bosses, including researching laws, statistics and other information. This can include searching the internet, reading through documents and contacting other sources to find the information their bosses need. Legislative assistants also need to know how to read and understand complex documents and laws.

Communication: Communication skills are necessary for legislative assistants to have, as they often communicate with many different people throughout the day. They may communicate with members of Congress, constituents, lobbyists and other staff members. They may also need to communicate with others via phone, email or instant messaging.

Organization: Organization is a crucial skill for legislative assistants because they often handle multiple tasks at once. You can use organization skills like time management and prioritization to complete your work on time and to the best of your ability. Organization also includes keeping your workspace tidy and filing paperwork correctly.

Time management: Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks within a set time frame. Legislative assistants often have multiple tasks to complete each day, so it’s important that they can prioritize their work and stay on schedule. This can help them meet their employer’s expectations and maintain a positive work reputation.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small changes in information and make corrections accordingly. Legislative assistants often have to review and revise documents, so attention to detail is an important skill for this job. You may also need to notice changes in a person’s mood or tone of voice and adjust your communication style accordingly.

Legislative Assistant Work Environment

Legislative assistants work in the offices of senators, representatives, and other elected officials. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may occasionally work longer hours to accommodate the schedules of their bosses and the demands of the job. They also may travel with their bosses to attend meetings or events. Legislative assistants have a great deal of contact with the public, so they must be able to communicate effectively and have excellent people skills. They also must be able to handle a high level of stress and be able to work well under pressure.

Legislative Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how legislative assistants work. Legislative assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Legislative Assistants Will Become More Important

As legislative assistants become more important, they will need to develop new skills in order to be successful.

Legislative assistants are often the first point of contact for legislators and their staff, which means that they need to be able to handle a wide range of tasks. This includes everything from answering phones to scheduling meetings and preparing documents. In order to be successful, legislative assistants will need to be able to work quickly and efficiently while maintaining high-quality results.

More Legislative Assistants Will Be Needed

The trend of increasing demand for legislative assistants is being driven by the growing complexity of legislation. As laws become more complex, legislative assistants will be needed to help lawmakers understand and navigate them.

This trend will require legislative assistants to have a deep understanding of both the law and the legislative process. They will also need to be able to work well under pressure and manage multiple tasks at once.

A Greater Focus on Legislative Research

As legislative research becomes more important, legislative assistants will need to develop expertise in this area.

Legislative assistants will need to be able to quickly and accurately find information about current legislation, as well as track down historical data. They will also need to be able to effectively communicate with other members of the legislative team, such as lobbyists and lawyers.

How to Become a Legislative Assistant

Legislative assistants have a lot of opportunities to specialize in different areas of law. They can work for state or federal lawmakers, or they can work for non-profit organizations that advocate for certain causes. They can also choose to focus on a specific area of law, such as environmental law, criminal law, or family law.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest legal developments and news. You should also network with other professionals in the field and attend relevant conferences and workshops.

Advancement Prospects

Legislative assistants may advance to become legislative directors, who have more responsibility for developing and coordinating legislative strategies. Some assistants move on to become lobbyists for special interest groups or public relations specialists. A few become legislators themselves.

Most advancement in this occupation occurs through increased responsibility and knowledge. Many legislative assistants start out as generalists, handling a variety of tasks, and then specialize in a particular area, such as health care or tax policy. As they become experts in their field, they assume more responsibility for legislative strategy and develop closer relationships with the legislators they work for.

Legislative Assistant Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are looking for a Legislative Assistant to join our team and provide support to our lobbyists and clients. The ideal candidate will have excellent research, writing, and communication skills, as well as the ability to multitask and work well under pressure. He or she will be responsible for conducting research on various legislative issues, writing reports and memos, and assisting with the development of lobbying strategies. The Legislative Assistant will also be responsible for communicating with clients, government officials, and the media.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for assigned legislators, their staff, and key constituents
  • Monitor legislative activity and provide updates to the lobbyist, clients, and other interested parties
  • Attend committee hearings and floor sessions, and track bills of interest
  • Prepare bill analyses, position papers, and talking points on a variety of issues
  • Write and distribute press releases, e-newsletters, and other advocacy materials
  • Plan and coordinate fundraising events, receptions, and other special projects
  • Manage social media accounts for the office, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Answer constituent inquiries via phone, email, and social media
  • Maintain accurate records of all correspondence, meetings, and events
  • Assist with scheduling and logistics for the legislator’s district office, Capitol office, and travel
  • Process invoices and reimbursements in a timely manner
  • Perform additional duties as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, public policy, or related field
  • 2-4 years professional experience working in politics, government, or a related field
  • Excellent writing, research, and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite and social media platforms
  • Flexible schedule and willingness to travel

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in political science, public policy, or related field
  • 6-8 years professional experience working in politics, government, or a related field
  • Experience working on Capitol Hill or in a state legislature
  • Familiarity with legislative databases and research tools, such as LexisNexis


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