In our 2011 issue of Virginia Super Lawyers & Rising Stars, we sat down with government law attorney Bill Axselle, with Williams Mullen. He opined about the ups and downs of serving as a politician, which he did for 16 years as a lawmaker in the General Assembly, and compared shaping policy from the inside to lobbying for change from the outside.
“I really enjoyed having a say in the public policy debates, working with people to reach that best public policy. What I got a little tired of was the political aspect of public service. I won every election I ever ran in and all that good stuff, but it is very demanding on your time. When I left 20 years ago it was demanding. It’s even more demanding on the public officials now: more time demands, and probably more criticism from the public, no matter what you do; and so that I don’t miss. … It’s unfortunate, because these men and women — Republicans, Democrats — they really put their hearts into it. I like having the ability [now] to influence decisions, and I love conceptualizing and planning and then fulfilling a purpose, and that you can do in your government-advocacy work. I enjoy it. On the flip side of that, sometimes when political considerations overtake good public policy, that is just appalling.
“This is the thing I like about government advocacy: You’re doing things that are beneficial for your community … as well as trying to service your client.”