While it may not apply to the most dramatic court cases in public memory, administrative law is a broad field of study that has implications at virtually all levels of government in the United States. As an established branch within the field of public law, it primarily deals with issues regarding the proceedings, rules and policies of federal, state and local institutions. These laws establish a firm legal framework that guides the governance of publicly-funded institutions. Its development and enforcement can have consequences for the entire country.

Development and Primary Function

Regardless of the jurisdiction, all administrative law in the United States originates from the actions of a legislative assembly. The United States Congress is responsible for the development of the body of law that impacts federal activities, while state and local representative officials are responsible for those created on a local level. These laws specifically address issues regarding the administration of government organizations and they determine how these agencies draft and enforce their individual policies. This includes a wide range of issues including the way organizations accept public and appropriate disciplinary methods for employees.

Applications and Areas of Specialization

These laws have implications for employees at most levels of employment within state, local and federal agencies. However, there are some specific areas that are broad and important enough to warrant specialization. Police law, environmental regulations, taxation and immigration are among the many applications that have garnered notable public interest. Other specialty areas include international trade, domestic production, transport of goods and broadcast communications. Members of industries that deal with any of these issues are impacted by administrative regulations.

Professional Paths in the Field

Administrative law is much like any other legal study. Many people who focus on this area do so to launch a career as an attorney or judge. Administrative lawyers are found throughout federal and state government structures, often serving to represent the interests of certain organizations or other authorities. This background can also open up career options in politics for those interested in participating in the drafting and development of the law itself. Administrative judges, adjudicators and hearing officers are also potential career options, and these professionals enjoyed a median annual wage of almost $100,000 in 2017 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education and Career Preparation

The expectations and requirements of any given job depend on the employer and the specific position, but there are some skills that anyone interested in the field should possess. Strong writing skills are as vital as drafting and reviewing legal documents is an essential aspect of most jobs. A bachelor’ds degree is usually the minimum requirement for entry-level positions in legal administration, with additional education and certifications for higher level positions. Students interested in becoming an administrative judge or lawyer also need to consider the requirements for passing the state bar or obtaining a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.

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The rules that determine how government agencies operate aren’t often of interest on the surface, but they actually have broad and serious implications for millions of people. Administrative law offers prospective professionals with diverse and flexible career paths, as well as the opportunity to explore areas of special interest or concern.