When Clark Smith told his dad he wanted to get into lobbying, Jim Smith suggested he do something else first: Work for the state.

Like any good son, he took that advice. And over the years, Clark, now with Southern Strategy Group, has doled out the same advice to others hoping to join the lobby corps.

It seemed to be a natural fit for Clark to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, also a lawyer and lobbyist with Southern Strategy Group, had spent decades in Tallahassee, serving two terms as the state’s Attorney General.

But after years of working for the state, including stints as the deputy Secretary of Commerce and the assistant Secretary of State, Jim decided to go back to practicing law, which evolved into a lobby practice.

Clark took his dad’s advice. He worked for the state Senate Appropriations Committee before beginning his lobbying career in mid-1990s. Jim said his son was “just coming out of his genius stage” when they started working together.

Clark said it has been a great experience working with his father. He got to learn the ropes from someone who knew the industry inside and out. While they spend their days working in the same industry, Clark said they try not to talk shop outside the office.

“He’s a lot more relaxed nowadays,” he said. “We spend time together; we have dinner together. We work together on general life things.”

Jim said he never regrets the chance to work with his son.

“For a dad to have your son working with you, it is a pretty big thing,” he said.

By:  Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

FloridaPolitics.com