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Government & Law

Government and Law includes fields such as lobbying, policy research, military and politics. Hamiltonians in this industry work at places such as the U.S. House of Representatives, Mathematica Policy Research, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and more.

Scroll through the blog posts and stories below to learn more about Hamilton student and alumni experiences in this industry, and then use our career resources such as Facts on File and O*Net to learn more. Finally, meet with your career advisor and explore the Career Center curriculum to learn how to network with alumni to discuss your interests and learn more about their work.

May Highlights

Hamilton resources to help jump start your job search process

Looking to prepare for future job/internship opportunities? Here are some things you can do over the summer:

  1. Meet with your Career Advisor! Appointments can be scheduled through Handshake.
  2. Update your LinkedIn page and join the Hamilton Career Network group!
  3. Take a LinkedIn course to bolster your skills with essential software such as Microsoft Excel.
  4. Activate your My Hamilton Connect account to network with alumni!

Internship resources

HPIN: Hamilton Peer Internship Network
Use the HPIN database to search career-related experiences upperclassmen have had in the past for ideas and to learn more about different types of opportunities.

Handshake: Hamilton College’s Career Center job database. Search for job or internship openings according to your career interests, location, and other relevant factors.

Government and law-related student organizations: 

College Democrats
College Republicans
Model United Nations
Mock Trial
The Monitor
Student Assembly

Tips & Advice

  • It’s never too early to start checking Handshake, USAjobs, and other job sites for internship postings. 
  • To learn more about the legal field, we recommend Vault for comprehensive guides to legal job options, and Above the Law for more colorful but still helpful articles. 
  • If you still haven't found an internship opportunity, look for volunteer positions. While they do not pay, they still help build your resume and provide valuable experience. 
  • Stay Informed with free access to the New York Times! We receive 100 online daily passes for the NYT. You can access the online subscription using your Hamilton.edu email address to make an account on the NYT website: https://myaccount.nytimes.com/verification/edupass. Once you've made your account, the pass still must be renewed every 24 hours (or whenever you want to access the site again) which can be done by returning to the above link and providing your login information.

Interested in law school?

AccessLex has created a databank of scholarship opportunities for law students! This resource has compiled hundreds of scholarships available to students pursuing a legal degree.

Event Highlight: From College Hill to Capitol Hill with Becky Cairns ‘11 and Jo Stiles ‘15

Hamilton alumni Becky Cairns ’11 and Jo Stiles ’15 joined current students to discuss their paths to Capitol Hill, experiences in the political field, day-to-day responsibilities, and advice to students interested in careers on the Hill. Becky’s official title is <3>professional staff on the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she works on the Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee, while Jo is the Director of Economic and Military Policy for Congressman Joe Morelle of Rochester. Continue reading to hear more about what these two powerful women had to say.

Becky has been working on the Hill since she graduated from Hamilton. Becky always knew she was interested in government and politics, and this was solidified for her after interning for three summers with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas while at Hamilton. Becky transitioned into working for Congresswoman Tsongas full-time two weeks after graduation and remained for several years, before trading in that role for her current position, where her main area of focus is renewable energy policy. On a day-to-day basis, as a professional staffer on the committee side, Becky mainly helps advance constituents’ issues, spends time helping offices develop legislation, answers questions as they arise, and attends committee hearings. Becky essentially schedules these hearings, comes up with the themes and topics, recruits witnesses, and drafts statements and memos.

Rather than working on the committee side like Becky, Jo works in the personal office of Congressman Joe Morelle. Congressman Morelle is part of the House Armed Services Committee, and Jo handles the specific committee work that Morelle does. Prior to working in the House, Jo worked on the Senate side for Senator Angus King, where she interned and worked with immediately after college graduation. While at Hamilton, Jo thought she was more interested in the non-profit sector and held an internship in this field, but quickly learned that she wanted to be more involved in policy action. While Jo says she was not on the traditional track to head to the Hill, through the DC program and her internships, her interest in policy was solidified. On the personal office side, Jo’s day-to-day is subject to change. On a day when her boss has a committee hearing, Jo spends the morning briefing her boss, but generally speaking, her job is to ensure that final legislation reflects what is needed “back home.”

As mentioned, Jo did not go the “classic DC route” while at Hamilton. While she did participate in Hamilton’s DC program, she did not take a ton of government courses. Yet, she said her time at Hamilton taught her to learn and learn quickly — a useful skill which she found translated well in adjusting to her job. Additionally, writing-intensive courses at Hamilton allowed her to write succinctly. Becky reiterated, telling students not to underestimate the training Hamilton provides in reading, writing, and communicating effectively. She also said that they need well-rounded individuals on the Hill, so take classes outside just government ones! It matters less what you study at Hamilton, and more about what you are interested in and how you can sell yourself.

Both Becky and Jo provided valuable advice to students looking to work and live in DC. They both agreed that the best way to get to the Hill is through an internship on the Hill! It provides great experience in understanding the ins and outs of government and how everything works. In terms of finding these opportunities, do some research on your local representative, check out their websites and also look into House job postings. Additionally, in our current COVID-19 climate, there are more remote opportunities than ever to intern for the House or Senate. In terms of finding housing, you never know when a Hamilton connection will pop up — that’s how Becky found a roommate!


Literature, law, and the importance of not knowingKeya Advani "08

Keya Advani graduated from Hamilton College in 2008 with a B.A. in comparative literature. She is currently based in London and serves as a solicitor at Bates Wells, the top U.K. law firm for charities and non-profits. Advani previously worked for organizations such as financial institution Big Society Capital (London), multinational law firm Linklaters LLP (London), The Mary Ward Legal Centre (London), The Human Rights Law Network (Delhi), Women’s Media Watch (Kingston), and the Global Justice Center (New York City).



2020 career outcomes charts
Outcomes by Industry

Class of 2019 Outcomes Report

Each year, the Career Center surveys recent graduates to track their progress during their first year after Hamilton. The resulting report includes data about career fields and employers, where graduates are pursuing advanced degrees and postgraduate fellowships, as well as outcome information for each concentration.

Contact Information

Career Center

Third floor of Bristol Center
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323 
315-859-4346 ccadmin@hamilton.edu
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