A legislative assistant (LA) is a legislative staffer who works for a legislator by monitoring pending legislation, conducting research, drafting legislation, giving advice and counsel, and making recommendations.
In the United States
Members (both Representatives and Senators) have multiple legislative assistants who may be tasked to handle one or more area in which the assistant has particular expertise (e.g. education policy, environmental policy, tax policy). Often the assignments will be connected to the committee assignments of the member.
In most offices, there is one staffer, variously called a legislative director (LD) or senior legislative assistant, in charge of all legislative assistants in the office.
Some practitioners have questioned the lack of a federal congressional clerkship program, finding that few top law school graduates seriously consider becoming a legislative aide to gain practical skills after graduation.
In France, this position was formally opened after Edgar Faure visited the United States Congress in 1975. The assistants can also work on the non-legislative part of the MP job, such as managing transportation between Paris and the constituency, or handling a part of the MP's public relations.
In European Parliament
Following his election, an MEP can submit to the European Parliament one or more application and contract for the secretarial assistance allowance. Sometimes the submission has given way to criminal prosecution of the MEP, who falsely declared the duties of the assistant or diverted part of the financial flux to himself.