We thought you might like to learn more about members in the ABA Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section, so we have restarted our Section Member Spotlight Series. Prior posts in this series can be found here, on the Section’s legacy Notice and Comment blog that merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation‘s blog in 2015.
The next profile in our member spotlight series is Andrew Emery. Andrew is the President & CEO of The Regulatory Group, Inc. He’s been in this role since 2007, having started at the company after law school in 1996. The company is a small firm providing consulting services and training on the federal regulatory process. All of its work is in Administrative Law. Andrew is the new Chair of the Section, succeeding Christopher Walker. As you will see below, Andrew has a tremendous sense of humor.
Q: What is your current or past position within the ABA Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section?
Currently, I am Chair of the Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section. Although I joined the section in 1996, it took me a while to get more involved. In 2011, I volunteered to be a panelist on the inaugural Rulemaking 101 panel at the Spring Conference. Almost every year since, I have been a panelist and organizer of the Rulemaking 101 sessions and the organizer of the Judicial Review 101 sessions, typically held during the Section’s spring and fall conferences. I have also been a member of the Regulatory Policy, Rulemaking, E-Rulemaking, Sponsorship, and Fundraising committees. I co-chaired the section’s Fall Conferences from 2014 through 2020. I served on the section’s Governing Council from 2017-2019, served on the section’s 2017 Nominating Committee, served as the section’s liaison to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), and received the 2017 Chair’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. During the last couple of years, I wore the hats of Vice-chair and Chair-elect.
Q: How has membership in the ABA Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section furthered your career?
The section has been a continuing source of education in administrative law, politics, professionalism, and life. The events the section puts on are the best academic and practical training sessions on administrative law one can get. But, participating on the various process committees, conference organizing teams, and section leadership committees and getting to know the people who are part of this incredibly pervasive and diverse field has been an advanced education.
I spend most of my work hours preparing for and teaching courses on the federal regulatory process with an audience that is predominantly federal government employees, but also includes state, local and foreign government employees, as well as the private sector. So, membership in the section has helped me continuously improve my knowledge base. This is such a broad field of law that it is easy to run into questions for which I do not know the answer. In the section, I know people to call who either know the answer or will provide an entertaining conversation about a perplexing problem.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Teaching. I teach one-day, two-day, and short seminars on the regulatory process. I also co-teach an evening course once a year for the DC Bar (with a section colleague and friend) and have occasionally guest lectured at the Washington College of Law. I teach courses on the federal regulatory process about 100 days a year, with most of these days teaching for six hours. So, if I didn’t enjoy the teaching and the audience, I would not have been able to have kept this up for more than two decades. The audience always changes, and the issues and perspectives change frequently—certainly every four years. The prior job experience that most informs my teaching performance was my very first job. But the content of my teaching is directly the result of the incredible mentoring and training from my father and this section.
Q: What was your first legal job or first job?
Two good questions to choose from. I will go with the former over the latter. But if anyone wants to hear about my first job as a professional juggler, magician, and unicyclist at the age of eleven (retired at age 13), feel free to chat me up at the next in-person conference.
During law school, I worked at a boutique bankruptcy firm in Alexandria, Virginia. I started working there in the spring of my second year and continued through graduation with the offer of a job after graduation. During this time, my father asked me if I planned to continue in bankruptcy law. I said yes. The hiring market was dismal, and the law clerk position was fairly interesting and paid. My father expressed concern about a future in bankruptcy law. He asked how I could foresee a career in a field as boring as bankruptcy law. I looked at my father in baffled amazement. My father was a lawyer, and his chosen field was regulations. He had worked in a state regulatory agency in New York, before moving to DC to work at the Federal Aviation Administration, then he went to the Department of Transportation to oversee regulatory policy, then on to being the Director of the Federal Register, and finally to founding his little company called The Regulatory Group, Inc. I was stunned. I responded to my father by saying, “are you kidding me? Boring? As compared to regulatory law?”
Irony kicked in that spring and summer. During this time my brother decided to open a restaurant. I had bartended for some years and agreed to help. The lawyers at the bankruptcy firm laughed relentlessly at me. “Andrew, you do realize that most of our clients are failed restauranteurs?” They mocked that I could be an associate at the firm while also being a client. Well, the restaurant (Uncle Jed’s Roadhouse in Bethesda, MD) went on to survive for ten years of successful experiences and great stories, but the bankruptcy firm did not. The firm fell apart as I was finishing my final law school exams, and with it fell apart my career in bankruptcy law. Thus, I spent my first summer after law school helping my brother open a restaurant, bartending, and training and hiring law school classmates into the world of “restauranting.” Part of that summer I spent studying for the bar exam and helping my father at his firm. Thus began my second “legal” job. By the next spring, I was in a six-seater aircraft flying around the Grand Canyon helping the FAA revise policies for air tour flights. That was more interesting than bankruptcy law.
Q: What was the best advice you got along the way to where you are now?
The law is supposed to make sense. If it doesn’t, do more research. But sometimes, it doesn’t make sense. And in those cases, do more research.
Q: What has been the most exciting event of your career that involves administrative law?
As I mentioned already, I do love teaching. But in terms of an exciting event, more than teaching, and even more than reading a gripping law review article, I like creating things. Outside of administrative law, I love building, repairing, and improving stuff. I particularly love carpentry, but I enjoy any sort of creative effort. The most exciting event of my career that involves administrative law has been conceiving and developing DocketCAT™. Administrative law is all about due process, and due process is all about providing the public with notice and opportunity to be heard. So, whether they are doing rulemaking or not, agencies are always publishing notices and inviting public comments. Dealing with public comments has been a major part of our company’s work for more than four decades. DocketCAT™ is a comments analysis tool that we developed to help analyze and categorize public comments. Working with my colleagues and our developers to design, develop, revise, and improve this tool over the last four years has been fun.
Want to join the section? Visit www.americanbar.org/adminlaw and choose “Join the Section.” Or contact the ABA customer service department at 1-800-285-2221 to join. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda D. Jellum is Past-Chair of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law, and the Ellison Capers Palmer Sr. Professor of Tax Law at the Mercer University School of Law.