Ever wonder how the thousands of bills that are introduced each year to Congress ever get written, organized and collated to go to each member that must review, notate, approve or deny? Who writes all these would-be laws? If you're thinking a well organized political secretary is behind the magic, you're right - but only partly. A legislative assistant is the one who shoulders the lion's share of these bills. Each Congressional member has at least one, but usually several, legislative assistants who work closely with the administrative assistants behind the scenes to get these documents put together. In fact, this is a legislative assistant's primary function, says A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and LawCrossing.com founder. They often work with others who share the same responsibilities and even as their bosses are working towards their re-election campaigns and dealing with constituents, you can be sure a legislative assistant is working magic behind the scenes.
Unlike some employees who work for politicians, especially on a federal level, such as legislative "staffers" or other delegates, legislative assistants usually work in a full time and in a permanent capacity. In fact, many assistants have served in several terms over the years. Further, says A. Harrison Barnes, there are generally two sections within a politician's staff. Those who do research, write press releases, work in the legal side and other positions are considered part of the "casework" staff while others are dealing directly with legislative issues.
One important consideration that no one should underestimate is that these positions are incredibly fast paced and assistants often get burned out. The hours can be brutal - including up to 16 and 18 hour days - sometimes many in a row, says the LawCrossing.com founder. That said, the work is important and those who find their niche often do well in the long term. There's another consideration, too. Many have been noticed in these positions and have found themselves being promoted on a fairly regular basis. In fact, some say the role of a legislative assistant is a good way to determine who's best suited and those who might would do better in a different environment.
Some legislative assistants will parlay their experience into a judicial appointment and will work directly under a state or federal judge.