Meet Katie Kennedy, a third-year law student at Appalachian School of Law and Editor of the Notice and Comment, Recent Cases section. Below, she shares why she decided to go to law school, her experience as a law student, and discusses the benefits of being involved in the ABA.
1. Where do you attend law school? What led you to attend law school? What are your plans for after law school?
I attend the Appalachian School of Law. I was inspired to go to law school after sitting for an Environmental Law and Policy class in my Environmental Studies program at Stony Brook University, my alma mater. I plan to continue a career in environmental and energy law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after law school.
2. What interested you in administrative law?
After working for the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Washington DC for my first year externship, I fell in love with administrative law. I joined the Federal Bar Association for the Young Lawyer’s Division and I traveled around DC, visiting as many federal agencies as possible. I was published within the EPA in the Cross-Cutting Issues Periodical and I constantly read administrative decisions or cases concerning agencies.
3. What experiences with administrative or regulatory law have you had?
During my first year externship with the EPA, under the direction of Mr. Mike Walker and Ms. Candi Schaedle, I edited scholarly submissions for the 9th International Conference for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement; edited guidance documents for National Environmental Policy Act Compliance Actions; researched and briefed “NEPA: The Year in Review” for the U.S. Department of Justice; published work in Monthly Report for Office of General Counsel’s Cross Cutting Legal Issue Publication (May 2011); and conducted a mock trial for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance’s Administrative Hearing Workshop.
4. Based on your experiences thus far, what do you perceive to be challenges facing administrative law practitioners?
I think that the hardest aspect of practicing administrative law is the lack of uniformity among the federal circuit courts regarding administrative rulemaking, adjudication, and due process hearings.
5. For law students considering a career in administrative law, what do you think would be a good way of familiarizing themselves with the field? Are there any courses, other than Administrative Law, that you consider especially useful?
I think students should join the American Bar Association Administrative Law Section to start, and students should consider an externship or internship within an agency to gain experience. I also think that students should write and publish articles concerning the field.
6. From a law student’s perspective, how would you characterize the dialogue between practitioners and academics? Are there areas for improvement, and what might those be?
I would love to see a student career fair for this ABA section. I would also love to see the Federal Bar Association reach out to law schools and establish school chapters. I think that more networking events between academics and practitioners would also be valuable. Similarly, it would be valuable for practitioners to visit law students and give lectures or round table discussions about practicing and starting a career in administrative law.
7. Based on your leadership experience with the ABA Law Student Division, how would you advise students interested in administrative law to engage with the ABA in order to learn more about the field?
As the ABA is the largest network of attorneys, your experience is what you make of it. If you put yourself out there, ask questions, network, seize opportunities, and build connections, you will learn about the field and also develop relationships with practitioners. I thank the ABA for my wonderful mentors and network.
8. Outside of the law, what are your favorite activities or hobbies?
I love beach volleyball (I am a native of Long Island, NY), I have an amazing dog who I love to go running with, and I Zumba all the time!
This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.