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June 01, 2016

Practical lobbying reference guide for state and local bars now available

Produced by ABA governmental Affairs Office and NABE Government Relations Section

The ABA Governmental Affairs Office and the National Association of Bar Executives Government Relations Section have collaborated to produce All Politics Is Local: A Practical Guide to Effective Advocacy for State and Local Bars.This “nuts and bolts” guide is intended to help bar professionals navigate the legislative terrain and to empower bars to develop and deliver influential and effective messages to lawmakers.

The free downloadable guide, which provides a set of tools for state and local bars to engage in effective public policy advocacy on their home turf, includes lobbying fundamentals such as achieving policy goals, mobilizing a grassroots network, and communicating through the use of social media. In addition, the publication also offers tips for dealing with technical lobbying disclosure laws, political action committees, and the nuances of federal v. state lobbying.

“It is our hope that this Guide offers something for everyone,” ABA Governmental Affairs Director Thomas M. Susman wrote in his introduction to the publication. He explained that the title of the guide is derived from the phrase “all politics is local,” which was popularized by legendary Speaker of the House Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill (D-Mass.) to emphasize the importance of framing and advocating issues as significant to a legislator’s district, state and local constituency.

“Participation by state and local bars is indispensable to the ABA’s effective advocacy in Washington,” Susman said. “While the ABA is limited in its ability to reciprocate and engage in advocacy at the state level, this guide should help bars develop and implement local advocacy to advance their individual priorities.

“Advocacy is a strong component to the work of the organized bar whether on the state or national level,” commented William K. Weisenberg, senior policy advisor and former government affairs director at the Ohio State Bar Association. “Our members consider advocacy to be a major member benefit as we lobby on behalf of the profession and significant public policy that advances the rule of law and serves the public.” He added that All Politics Is Local is a practical guide serving as a valuable reference for both veteran lobbyists (government affairs specialists) and those just starting their careers.

The guide is available and can be downloaded from the ABA Governmental Affairs Office website at

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