27, ENGAGED, SOUTH BOSTON
ATTORNEY/LOBBYIST, SERLIN HALEY
Phinney, a native of Middleboro, started a lobbying career straight out of Wheaton College and seems to have no qualms or regrets — regardless of the opinion some have of her industry.
Phinney's corporate and trade association clients cover a wide range of issues including biotechnology, health care, education, retail, and manufacturing. Like many lobbyists, advocating for and against bills is just one part of what she does to help her clients navigate the state's bureaucracy.
And, according to our panel, Phinney is "the hottest lobbyist, hands down." On the side, she volunteers to represent domestic-abuse victims through the Women's Bar Foundation.
Job title: Attorney/lobbyist
Held since: 2010
Marital/relationship status; children; pets: In a relationship
Originally from: Middleboro
What you do: I represent a range of businesses, both individual companies and trade associations, before the government. This includes lobbying at the State House, but also regulatory advocacy and compliance, along with the practice of some municipal law. On a day-to-day basis I'm often working closely with clients on policy matters, developing effective advocacy plans, and working with government to keep policymakers informed. My job is also about monitoring political climates and policy trends, in order to anticipate opportunities and challenges for businesses and professions within the state.
Other activities: I've been pretty active with the Women's Bar Association. It's been great to use my skills as a lobbyist to bring attention and support to the causes important to women. While it's not traditional legal pro-bono work, advocacy before lawmakers can be just as important, and have major impacts in the lives of individuals.
I also volunteer my time with the Women's Bar Foundation, representing domestic-violence victims in family-law matters.
I'm completely into Crossfit right now as well. I've been going to Crossfit Southie in the mornings before work. The trainers there are absolutely amazing! It's just a great way to start the day.
Path to Beacon Hill: I think most lobbyists have worked in government in some capacity and then "jump the fence" to work in the private sector. This was not my path, and it has been unique and challenging to start a career lobbying directly out of law school, but that's what I did.
I went to Wheaton College (the one in Massachusetts, not Illinois), where my education was built on identifying the links between disciplines, and thinking outside of the box. While law school helped train me for this profession, my time at Wheaton completely armed me with an approach to advocacy and strategic thinking that has been really valuable as a lobbyist.
Personal style: I try to always take a substantive, issue-based approach when advocating on behalf of our clients.
Favorite thing about working in the State House: Definitely the people. Getting to interact with so many smart and kind individuals really makes my job a fun one.
One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": Caffeinated beverages should be allowed in the galleries for sessions that run beyond 8 pm!