Campaign Finance, Ethics And Municipal Securities Dealers, Legal education has long been viewed as a necessary accompaniment to any advanced degree program. A highly respected legal educational institution is a key element in fulfilling this goal. “The University of Michigan Law School is perhaps the best in the country for attorneys who want to specialize in tort law,” according to US News and World Report. “Murdoch University has been described by legal educators as one of the nation’s top 10 schools.” Temple University and George Washington University are consistently near the top of American law schools.
In addition to providing an education in the most comprehensive areas of law and legal practice, many American universities and colleges provide a limited degree program in political laws. Students pursuing a legal education focusing on political law will be preparing to enter a profession which is crucial to serving their clients and society. As America becomes more polarized, attorneys become more important to their clients and judges become more unwilling or unable to exercise their power in these politically charged times. By educating themselves and becoming competent political pundits, attorneys can protect their clients and uphold the values upon which our country was founded.
In the last decade, attorneys have become prominent members of civic and other community organizations, contributing significantly to local, state, and federal laws and issues at the local and national level. While there is no guarantee that any attorney will become a hero or notorious villain, attorneys do play an important part in the political process. Activists and politicians often rely upon the services of attorneys to help them build coalitions and raise funds. Activists’ efforts often result in victories over powerful corporate interests. In turn, local municipalities give awards to attorneys who make contributions to their community or to local lawyers to provide counsel to those involved in local government work.
Campaign finance and lobbying are two key arenas where attorneys play an increasingly large role. Campaign finance law is complex and evolving as attorneys hone their skills and serve their clients with greater expertise. While there is often a great deal of debate over campaign finance, and some would call it “controversial” and “looming”, lawyers have an unparalleled ability to shape the political landscape and ensure that their clients are properly represented. In response to the recent congressional gridlock, many state legislatures passed new rules and regulations regarding contribution limits and disclosure of PAC’s (campaign funds), further fueling the importance of attorneys as a major force on the political scene.
Because of their close ties to local governments, attorneys play a key role in shaping local policies and ethics rules. As a result of these ties, the number of attorneys practicing in cities and counties has steadily increased since the 1980’s. These changes mirrored changes throughout the country regarding campaign finance and lobbying. Campaign finance and lobbying rules were often passed by state legislatures, with the support of attorney generals, and remain a vital component to the campaign finance law today.
Many municipal securities dealers also work closely with state and local government contractors. In turn, these municipal securities dealers are regulated by several state and local regulatory bodies. Because these companies do business in multiple states and districts, rules governing political contributions and disclosure of donations can differ among different states. These rules can be complex and many experts recommend that attorneys working with municipal securities dealers and government contractors to consult with local attorneys specializing in this area. This way, clients can ensure that they are complying with the legal requirements of their states and districts while still taking advantage of benefits to doing business in those jurisdictions.