Legislation at the federal or state level is a primary source of law and policy, whether the topic is civil rights, health care, food safety, the environment, taxation, securities – the list is long. Once legislation is passed, government agencies develop the law through regulations and other guidance and enforce the law by litigation and with adjudicative authority.
Understanding and working with legislation and regulation is a core part of what lawyers do. Lawyers in Washington and across the country represent clients before federal and state administrative agencies, Congress, and state legislatures. To address client needs, lawyers must be able to interpret an ambiguous statute or regulation and advise clients on how to comply with complex legislative and regulatory schemes – and keep their clients out of the courtroom. Lawyers also lobby legislators and their staff directly to effect change, for nonprofit and for profit clients.
Thus “Leg-Reg” is not a legal field but rather a background for many types of legal practice. There are two foundational courses in the area. First, Administrative Law teaches students how agencies make law through study of the Administrative Procedure Act. Any lawyer that works with government needs to understand the topic. Second, students should take a course that covers the skill of statutory interpretation. A course in interpretation conveys how to read rules like a lawyer and how to use established modes of interpretation to advocate for one reading over another. Interpretation courses include: Legislation: The Making and Meaning of a Federal Statute; and Statutory Interpretation: Regulatory Analysis in the Administrative State.
Along with those fundamentals, students should consider taking a course in a doctrinal area of interest that has a compliance, regulatory, legislative, or public policy focus. Some of these courses are listed below. In addition to providing students with knowledge of a particular subject matter these courses to varying degrees acquaint students with the regulator (whether it be the EPA, the FCC, the FDA, the IRS, or the SEC) and the various types of administrative guidance peculiar to the agency.
In addition, Catholic Law offers specialized certificate programs and clinics that allow students to pursue their interests even further, and which have their own course listings and requirements. Students can also pursue an externship in government agencies and on Capitol Hill.
- Administrative Law, and
- One course that covers Statutory Interpretation, such as
Legislation: The Making and Meaning of a Federal Statute; or
Statutory and Regulatory Analysis in the Administrative State
These include any course in a particular legal subject matter with a legislative or regulatory focus, including:
- Compliance and Regulatory Focus: Antitrust, Communications Law, Fair Employment Law, Federal Regulation of Food and Drug, Government Contracts, Health Law Compliance, Securities Regulation
- Public Policy Focus: Campaign Finance Law, Civil Rights, Election Law, Lobbying and the Law
- Statutory Focus: Environmental Law, Federal Income Tax, Immigration Law, Securities Regulation
Clinics, Skills, and Externships
Students should consider externships in government or at firms with regulatory or compliance-based practices.
Any Catholic Law Certificate Program may be of interest to students expecting to practice law in a legislative and regulatory environment.
Faculty: Professors Breger, Colinvaux, Duggin, LaBelle, Squitieri plus the faculty of any specialization course.