Students in the Washington, D.C. Program recently visited Williams & Jensen, a private law firm focused on lobbying, to talk with George Baker ’74 and Frank Vlossak ’89 about their work.
Throughout the conversation, Baker and Vlossak pushed against the assumption that lobbying operates the way popular television shows, such as House of Cards, portray it. Instead, they broke down types of lobbyists, explained the process of building relationships, and discussed how clients are chosen at their firm.
Baker emphasized that developing connections and credibility are vital to success in most professions, but especially in the lobbying field.
Credibility is all you have, said Baker, and once you do something to undermine the relationship you developed you will never be able to get it back.
Daniel Berrick ’18 is interning at Williams & Jensen. He says that his job has given him perspective on lobbying and insight into how decisions are made in Washington. In particular, Berrick notes the importance of non-election years and the power and diversity of special interests in Washington.
Baker and Vlossak often return to Hamilton and continue to build connections with students. Last fall, they taught a seminar on lobbying and Baker led a Career Center workshop titled “How to Find a Job in Washington.”