About Administrative & Regulatory Law

Administrative Law focuses on interactions with governmental institutions. It includes government regulation, legislation, rulemaking, and relationships with public owners.

Virtually all governmental bodies, whether they are federal, state, or local, have their own sets of procedures and practices for processing applications, making claims, developing laws and regulations, obtaining grants, etc. Understanding and complying with these requirements is essential to pursuing matters before these bodies. There is also a significant substantive component to administrative law. Highly regulated fields include environmental protection, energy, banking, transportation, healthcare, and professional licensing, among many others. Understanding and applying principles of administrative law are critical to effectively representing clients in these fields. Administrative law is also important in interactions with government in its proprietary capacity, e.g., eminent domain, real estate development, contracts, construction.

Lawyers who do administrative or regulatory law work in law firms, in corporations, and in government agencies. Because they work with complex regulations, they must be attentive to details. Other skills, such as negotiation skills, writing, and oral communications are also important.


Note: Whether a particular course is scheduled depends on faculty availability and student demand.

Core/Foundation Courses

These are the core courses that — at a minimum — employers expect a student interested in this specialty to have.

Recommended Courses

Students interested in this practice area should consider including one or more of the following courses as electives.

Enrichment Courses

These courses deepen or broaden the skills and substantive information that a lawyer in this field needs and may also provide advanced courses for students interested in a specialty within this area of practice.

Curriculum Questions

For particular Administrative Law curriculum questions, contact:

Clinics, Internships, &Externships

  • Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic: The Unemployment Compensation Appeals Clinic is staffed by volunteer student advocates who assist clients in obtaining unemployment compensation benefits. Student advocates work closely with supervising attorneys and gain litigation and case management experience while helping those in need of benefits who cannot afford representation.
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice Externship: This program offers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in civil litigation and public advocacy, with placements in one of the following units of the agency:  Civil Litigation Unit; Consumer Protection and Antitrust Unit; Criminal Appeals Unit; Criminal Litigation Unit; Environmental Protection Unit; Medicaid Fraud Unit; and State Programs, Administration and Revenue (SPAR) Unit.
  • Labor Law Externship: The Labor Law Externship provides placements for students in a labor law setting. Students spend two days a week working under the supervision of attorneys of the National Labor Relations Board in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in Madison, the Department of Labor's Chicago regional office, or in other similar agencies. They attend hearings, write draft opinions, research issues, write memos, and in general are exposed to the broad range of work done by the agency.  Contact Externship Director Erin McBride at erin.mcbride@wisc.edu for additional information.
  • Government and Legislative Clinic: The Government and Legislative Law Clinic (GLLC) provides students with the unique opportunity to observe and participate in the many facets of governmental law, policy and the legislative process. Working under the direct supervision of clinical faculty and clients in legislative and administrative settings, students will gain first-hand experience working with government clients on legal issues with policy significance.  Students accepted into this program earn between 3 and 6 credits depending upon their particular placement.  Participation is limited to second and third-year law students.  Contact Externship Director Erin McBride for additional information at erin.mcbride@wisc.edu.
  • Law Externship Course: Second and third year law students can receive academic credit through the Law Externship course for work at almost any state or federal governmental agency.  Contact Externship Director Erin McBride at erin.mcbride@wisc.edu for more information.

Student Organizations &Related Activities

  • Environmental Law Society (ELS): The Environmental Law Society welcomes all students interested in the application of law to environmental issues at the state, national, and international levels.  The Society studies all sides of the issues because it recognizes that environmental law applies to both those interested in classic environmental preservation, as well as persons whose activities create environmental impacts.


Here are some of the full-time faculty who teach or have an interest in this subject area:

In addition to our full-time faculty, the Law School's adjunct faculty members — prominent practicing lawyers and judges — bring their specialized knowledge and experience to the classroom. Filter by "Adjunct" in the Law School Directory for a full list.

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