Administrative Law

Elective Course
Course Number: LAW 665
Credits: 3

Administrative Law is that “fly under the radar,” important course touching on every conceivable type of law practice. Without question, every lawyer will interact with (or work for) agencies and their regulations at some point in their practice. Current events have cast even more significance on this area of law, as national leaders seek to redesign and closely influence the administrative state. As just one example, consider the agency role in the current covid19 pandemic at both the federal and state level.

This course introduces you to the world of agencies, exploring both the laws that govern them and the political forces that shape them. We examine how agencies exercise their powers and how the President, Congress, and courts influence those powers. While focusing predominantly on the federal arena, we will also study how the federal administrative law system compares with that of Montana. And there will be a healthy dose of practice problems and real world application along the way.

By the end of the course, you should substantively understand: (1) the laws that govern the creation and functioning of federal agencies and the role that politics plays in that functioning; (2) the main agency functions—rulemaking, adjudication, and investigation—and how agencies strategically choose particular functions to achieve agency goals; (3) judicial review and constitutional limits upon agencies; (4) the public’s rights to be involved in agency processes; and (5) key ways that federal administrative law differs from Montana administrative law. In the area of skills and values, you should also be able to critique the administrative state from different points of view (e.g., regulated entities, interest groups, and individual parties, including those from the BIPOC community); explain the role of lawyers in agency matters; and apply your knowledge to current events and hypothetical fact patterns.