Careers in Administrative Law

Careers in Administrative Law

What is Administrative Law?

Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government and works to regulate the increasingly complex social, economic and political spheres of human interaction. 

Areas of interest include:

  • Rulemaking
  • Homeland Security
  • Adjudication
  •  Preemption
  • Environmental Law
  •  Immigration
  • Transportation Law
  •  Taxation
  •  Preemption
  • State and Local Law
  •  Regulatory Policy
  •  Election Law
  •  International Law
  •  Trade


What do administrative lawyers do?

Administrative Lawyers observe, evaluate, assess, and sometimes oppose the implementation of certain statutory provisions adopted by Congress or the state or local legislative body. As a whole administrative lawyers make a conscientious effort to standardize and systematize the way in which government agencies operate.  Behind each positive step to improve service to the public, there are dozens of lawyers in the administration and many more outside who have had some role in the development of this positive improvement. 

What Career Paths are Available to Administrative Lawyers? 

Working as a government attorney, counseling the agency staff and Administrative officials, is the most likely entry point for this career.

Taking a policy rather than legal role, becoming the administrative official yourself, is the second likely route.  Operating as a client can help you in your later roles as an advocate.

There are many who start as a political aide, assistant, or appointee to a particular legislator and move from personal staffs to committee staffs to the agency overseen by that committee.

Private law firms hire lawyers with administrative experience all the time.

You may work inside a corporate entity and have legal or regulatory responsibility for maintaining the corporate relationships to the administrative agency.

Advocacy organization, collectively known as NGOs or nongovernmental organizations often hire administrative lawyers.  These jobs are training grounds for future roles inside the agency you study, future roles in which you may be able to improve the functioning of the agency.

Finally, you may go into lobbying or direct support roles for the lobbying or advocacy organizations as one who prepares the presentations and data for the congressional or state legislative presentations.

Excerpts from Careers in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, James T. O'Reilly, Editor

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