What is Administrative Law?
Administrative law is the body of law created by and that applies to government agencies. The U.S. Congress state legislatures give federal and state agencies certain powers to regulate and enforce laws related to specific areas. These agencies, in turn, create rules and regulations, known as administrative law.
Government agencies exist to help the government administer the laws it creates. For instance, when a law passes related to pollution in air or water, the Environmental Protection Agency takes charge of how the law is implemented and enforced.
These agencies create rules and regulations that aim to meet the goals of the laws Congress passed. They also have unique procedures for individuals or groups that apply to them for various reasons. They have an administrative court system and appeals process.
What Do Administrative Lawyers Do?
Administrative lawyers help individuals, organizations, and businesses interact with government agencies, abide by their rules to avoid fees, apply for benefits, and appeal denials of benefits. For instance, if you apply to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits and receive a denial, an administrative lawyer can help you appeal through the agency’s specific appeals process.
An administrative lawyer may help businesses, individuals, or the government itself. These are just some examples of what these lawyers do:
- Act as advisers to government agencies and their leadership
- Write laws, rules, and procedures for government agencies
- Represent agencies in court
- Evaluate claims made to government agencies
- Represent individuals or business owners facing fines or denial of a license from an agency
- Represent individuals seeking benefits from an agency
- Represent individuals or companies in hearings before administrative law judges
When Do I Need an Administrative Lawyer?
Most people need the assistance of an administrative lawyer when they come into conflict with a government agency. Companies that are regulated by laws and agencies often have in-house lawyers to help them stay abreast of agency rules. Still, most ordinary people only require administrative lawyers for specific situations. You may need to talk to a lawyer if:
- You need to file for benefits with an agency but don’t know how to do it
- You have applied for benefits through an agency and received a denial
- An agency is threatening you with fines for violating regulations
- An agency has passed a new rule that you feel affects you unfairly
- You applied for a license for your business through the appropriate agency and feel you were unfairly denied
- You have to go to a hearing with an administrative law judge
The Benefits of Hiring an Administrative Lawyer
If you come up against a government agency, you may feel hopeless about a good outcome. Government bureaucracy can be overwhelming and confusing, but a lawyer experienced in working with them can help.
There are several benefits of hiring and working with an administrative lawyer in certain situations:
Most people rarely come into contact with or conflict with government agencies, but administrative lawyers do it every day. They have the experience you don’t.
Few things are as confusing as the laws and regulations of a government agency. You may not know what to do next or even which agency to contact, but an administrative lawyer can clarify your situation and options.
- Successful claims
If you need to make a claim with a government agency, such as the Veterans Administration, you must follow their rules, procedures, and deadlines. It’s easy to make a mistake. A lawyer will give you a better chance of getting your benefits or license.
- Successful appeals
If you make a claim without a lawyer and get denied, you can go through an agency’s appeals process. A lawyer can make this second chance worthwhile and give you a good chance of winning.
During an appeals process or when charged with a violation, some agencies may require you to go to a hearing. An administrative lawyer can represent you in this special court system and help you get a good outcome.
Hiring an Administrative Lawyer
When hiring a lawyer for any reason, it is essential to choose someone with relevant experience. Administrative law covers hundreds of agencies in areas ranging from social security benefits to water rights to trade and communications.
As you choose a lawyer to represent you or assist with a claim or appeals, make sure they have specific experience in the applicable area of the law. In other words, you need an administrative lawyer who also has expertise in your particular situation. Don’t hire a law firm that works with the Environmental Protection Agency for your veteran benefits appeal.
In addition to expertise and experience, select a firm or lawyer who makes you feel confident and comfortable. Have they succeeded in helping clients like you before? Do they have the resources and time to take on your case? Are their rates reasonable? Are they easy to reach and communicative?
How to Work with Your Administrative Lawyer
Once you have chosen a lawyer to work with, make sure you help them help you. This means being open and honest about everything relevant to your situation. Provide them with all the information they need to make your claim or defense successful. Ask questions and take an active part in the process.
Working with an administrative lawyer is a smart way to get the best results from engaging with a government agency. The agency has complicated rules and procedures that can leave you mired in confusion. A lawyer will help you get a good outcome.