Boston University School of Law

Lobbyist extraordinaire Mark Molloy ('96) gives BU Law students some tricks of the trade

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Mark Molloy (’96), managing director of the lobbying company Lynch Associates, Inc., went to the usual State House office on the morning of October 17. While used to employing his oral skills inside those doors, this day he would be speaking not to a group of politicians, but to a different group meeting in the State House: BU Law students in Professor Sean Kealy’s Legislative Counsel Clinic.

Molloy spoke candidly about his profession to the class, made up of eight students.  The course, which is new to BU Law this semester, “is designed to give students intensive exposure to the legislative process by putting the student in the role of a legal counsel to a legislative committee,” said Professor Kealy. 

The class has classroom and fieldwork components, the latter including projects like reforming the way state transportation projects are financed and improving access to the Commonwealth's community college system.  Part of the classroom experience incorporates guest speakers, like Molloy.

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Starting off his talk by asking the students what they honestly thought when they heard the word “lobbyist,” Molloy neither affirmed nor denied the opinions of the class.  He instead explained what one can accomplish through lobbying, what it takes to work diligently and honestly in the field, and why, in the field of lobbying and in other professions, it helps to have a law degree. 

“Law school is more than just teaching someone ‘the law,’” said Molloy. “Law school—BU Law particularly—teaches students how to research a problem, analyze the problem to develop lasting solutions, communicate what they’ve discovered or what they propose to do, and then do it. Put simply, the benefit of a law degree is that it allows you to do almost anything.”

Proving this theory, Molloy started his career after BU Law working for the Joint
Committee on Transportation in the Massachusetts Legislature and also teaching first year legal writing under Professor Robert Volk at the School.  Eventually, Molloy found his niche in lobbying.  “The great thing about being a lobbyist is that you really do have a large effect on what policy is,” Molloy told students.  “I’m here to educate and advocate.”

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Kealy said his students gained practical knowledge from the years of experience Molloy brought to the table.  “I think the students were able to compare the theoretical information they get in readings about lobbying to the real world as described by a working lobbyist. [Molloy] was able to speak about the benefits—and pitfalls—of the lobbying world in a way that I cannot,” he said.

Reported by Elizabeth Ress

Photo Source: Sara Gelston