Adam Bonin, ’97, Discusses His Work in City & State Pennsylvania Interview

Working behind the scenes: A Q&A with attorney Adam Bonin

If you pull back the curtain during a Pennsylvania Democrat’s run for political office, you won’t see the Wizard of Oz, but you may find Adam Bonin. After a stint as an attorney with Cozen O’Connor, Bonin launched his own law office dedicated to helping candidates and others navigate the complex world of political law. 

He’s helped an Iraq War veteran get elected to Congress, guided a slew of candidates through tough election cycles and even witnessed political races get decided by, of all things, drawing lots. In an exclusive interview, City & State talks with Bonin about his work in political law, the prospects of election litigation in 2022 and what voters should know about the day-to-day duties of a political lawyer.

What does your work as a political attorney entail and what types of issues do you deal with on a regular basis?

Most of what I do is stuff that the public never sees and that never makes the papers. Most of what I do is client counseling. I represent candidates, party entities, other groups that are involved in the electoral process, sometimes in the lobbying and governance process. My job is to give them advice to make sure they understand the rules of the road and to avoid unnecessary risk and to avoid trouble. A lot of my job is about keeping my name out of the paper, keeping my client’s name out of the paper, insofar as the only thing that we want people talking about is what the candidates want to be talking about. It means making sure that everyone knows what it takes to get the right number of signatures to get on the ballot, making sure that their advertisements and mailers abide by all the laws that exist – things like that. It’s only really been in the past three years that there has been such a public-facing, litigation-oriented component to this. 

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