Broadly speaking, administrative law refers to government action and regulation of people and business entities. Often, administrative law refers to government agency action, which has expanded dramatically in scope over the past century.
Agency action and regulation touches on an enormous range of practice areas. Although Georgetown Law students often think first of the federal government and agencies, state, county and city governments also have significant administrative functions and opportunities for legal careers.
To name just a few practice areas in addition to the above, administrative law attorneys may focus on agriculture, financial regulation, health and safety, disability and welfare programs, immigration, transportation, and zoning. At the most basic level, practitioners must understand the functions of law makers and rule-making entities, and the parameters of their authority. The Administrative Procedure Act is the governing law for federal administrative agencies; parallel acts exist at the state and local levels. Disputes are handled through the relevant administrative judicial system.
Many attorneys spend their career moving between the private and public sectors (a common career path in Washington DC), and often concentrate in a specific area such as energy or tax. Administrative lawyers in private law firms typically help ensure that private clients are complying with federal regulations promulgated by agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Government attorneys create, promulgate and enforce regulations and administrative policies, and through the administrative adjudication process. Administrative attorneys also practice in public interest organizations and in private lobbying firms to represent clients and positions.
What does an Administrative lawyer do?
The day-to-day practice of an administrative law attorney – also referred to at times as regulatory lawyers – will depend upon the sector in which she is located and her practice area focus.Many attorneys, including Georgetown graduates, choose a government career because they believe deeply in public service, the importance of public policy, and the ability to make an impact on the national level. Likewise, attorneys in administrative practice in the private sector understand that the outcomes of their advocacy may have a national impact. Attorneys drawn to the public sector may also work for advocacy organizations to focus on causes which are deeply meaningful to them, such as civil rights, the environment, or immigration.
What to do if you are interested in administrative law?
- Administrative Law
- Election Law: Voting, Campaigning and the Law
- Institute for Public Representation (multiple clinics)
- Congress and the Administrative State
- Federal Regulation of Financial Institutions
- Immigration Law and Policy
- Law and Regulation of Drugs, Biologics and Devices
- Environmental Law Society
- Georgetown Labor and Employment Law Society
- Legislative Law Society
- Society for Health Law & Bioethics
Relevant Bar Associations
- American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice
- American Bar Association of Public Contract Law
- Note: Virtually every section of the ABA has at least one committee focused on administrative law issues. For example, see the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law’s Committees on Patent Legislation, Trademark Legislation and Copyright Legislation.
Located in the heart of the nation’s federal capital, Georgetown law students are able to take full advantage of jobs, pro bono projects, internships, clinics and other opportunities to experience hundreds of government practice areas. Every year, the Office of Public Interest and Community Service hosts multiple programs that bring public sector employers to meet and interview Georgetown students for academic year, summer and post-graduate positions.
Moreover, our location allows students interested in state government access to the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.For example, students may work for the DC Government, the DC Council, and the DC Office of the Attorney General, as well as with the DC Court. The seat of Maryland’s state government is in Annapolis, about 30 miles from Washington. Richmond, the capitol of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is about 100 miles away. However, Maryland and Virginia county governments also offer closer opportunities.