Page 15 - Minnesota Vol 8 No 5
P. 15

“Ilove working here every day,” O’Grady says. “You come here, and you feel lucky that you get to engage in this process, in our de-
O’Grady, 32, who gradu-
ated from Mitchell Hamline
School of Law in January, works for the Minneapolis  rm Larkin Ho - man as a lobbyist. He represents a wide range of clients—from government organizations to private companies. “It’s a really diverse set of clients,” he says. “ at makes it fun but also very busy because you’re jumping from com-
mittee hearing to committee hearing.”
Yes, O’Grady knows that lobbyists o en get a bad rap as “money people.” But in his view lobbyists in Minnesota—thanks to rules that restrict gi s to lawmakers from those trying to in uence them—are more akin to subject matter experts who work hand-in-hand with
O’Grady’s path to the Minnesota State Cap-
itol started a decade ago. A er he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, he spent a year in London, where he earned a master’s degree in international relations.  at got O’Grady a job in Chicago working for the Canadian government on foreign pol- icy, diplomacy, and trade.
While attending a conference in Minnesota in 2013, he met then-state Sen. Leroy Stumpf, who o ered him a job on his sta  the next day. O’Grady worked for Stumpf until his re- tirement in 2017. During that time, O’Grady was also attending law school part time. He graduated from Mitchell Hamline in January but will take the bar exam in July to give him more time to study a er this year’s legislative session ends.
Having a law degree isn’t required to be a lobbyist, but O’Grady says his time in law school taught him how to see issues from all sides and  nd new ways to solve problems. Having knowledge of the law—even the 1L classes where he studied rules of statu- tory construction—has come in handy when dra ing ideas for legislation.
By combining his work in government and politics with a Juris Doctor, O’Grady has cre- ated a niche for himself as a lawyer/lobbyist. But that process took time. O’Grady says he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do when he started law school, but he sees that explo- ration as a bene t, something he wants future and current law students to consider.
“Don’t think because you’re in law school you have to do just one thing,” he says. “You can make your own path.  at’s what a law degree is for.”
You can
own path. That’s what a law degree is for.”

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