March 6, 2017

Alumni Profile: Casey Duggan

Casey Duggan, BA ‘14, shares insight on her experiences after Batten

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

As a member of the Emerging Technologies Practice Group based in Washington, D.C., I monitor the latest legislative and regulatory activity that impacts our clients and assist in representing their related priorities and interests. Topics of interest range from unmanned aerial systems (UAS) regulations and federal broadband privacy standards to H-1B visa program reforms and online sales tax legislation. Any given day could include monitoring and reporting on hearings held by congressional committees or subcommittees of jurisdiction, drafting weekly reports and monthly newsletters on advocacy efforts, sending client alerts on legislation of interest, and planning targeted meetings and events to educate law and policy makers. I also manage the website and social media accounts for two UAS coalitions run out of our practice group - one based in the US and one based in Europe.

What class through the Batten School is most applicable to your current job?

Professor Paul Martin’s “Political and Institutional Context of Public Policy” gave an overview of the complex considerations that must be taken into account when working to generate support for, pass, and implement new policy. He emphasized the existence of a “policy window” - the period of time during which a given piece of legislation or regulatory reform has any chance of consideration or passage. Based on my own experience in the public policy space, this could not be more accurate. Lawmakers, regulators, advocates, and lobbyists must be strategic in timing, developing targeted allies, and closely monitoring the broader legislative and regulatory landscapes in order to know when best to act.

What piece of advice do you have for Batten students pursuing a career in the same field?

Prior to joining Akin Gump, I served as a Legislative Correspondent in the House of Representatives. Although I did not have extensive experience or a deep portfolio of issues areas, my time working for a member of Congress helped me to develop a more holistic understanding of the legislative process, which has been directly applicable to my work at Akin Gump. Even if it is just a summer internship for a Senator or Representative, I would highly recommend gaining Hill experience before pursuing a career in advocacy or lobbying.

What is the greatest policy challenge in your field?

I have found that it can be challenging to keep pace with cutting edge technology. As new technologies continue to evolve, policymakers must work to establish flexible, thoughtful, and forward-looking policies that ensure safety and protect individual rights without being overly prescriptive or stifling innovation. It is an incredibly tough challenge to overcome, but is absolutely critical if we want to realize the vast potential of these technologies and maintain American leadership on the world stage.