Meet Lauren Khouri, third-year law student at American University Washington College of Law and Notice and Comment contributor. Below, she shares her experiences and enthusiasm for administrative law.
1. Where do you attend law school? What led you to attend law school? What are your plans for after law school?
I am a third-year law student at American University Washington College of Law, graduating this May. I went to law school because I have always wanted to work on improving equal opportunity in our country. In my opinion, the law provides a uniquely effective tool for protecting and enhancing our individual civil rights. After law school, I hope to litigate cases in the education or labor and employment law field.
2. What experiences with administrative or regulatory law have you had?
I have experience with both local and federal administrative agencies. While working with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Tax Division, I interacted frequently with the IRS. Now, I am working with the National Partnership for Women & Families, a non-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fairness in the workplace, among other issues, and helps men and women balance the demands of work and family. For this organization, I am researching regulations and agency decisions of the Department of Labor, NLRB, and EEOC. On the local level, I spent time working within the District of Columbia’s regulatory system while serving in the General Counsel’s Office of the D.C. Public Schools.
3. How did you become interested in studying or pursuing a career in administrative law?
I first became interested in administrative law while working with the Labor & Employment Law Forum at American University. As I read articles for publication, I realized how important and pervasive the administrative law field is. Since then, I see how significant administrative law is in every place I work.
4. Based on your experiences thus far, what do you perceive to be challenges facing administrative law practitioners?
From what I have seen, there still seems to be a power struggle between Congress, agencies, and the courts. The weight of authority given to regulations by the federal courts and the discretion delegated to agencies from Congress will always be a point of dispute. This is even more important during a time where Congress and the courts are debating the constitutionality of agency appointments.
5. For law students or new attorneys considering a career in administrative law, what do you think would be a good way of familiarizing themselves with the field?
I am a strong supporter of legal blogs. The best way to familiarize yourself with a new body of law is to find the most reputable blogs in the area and read them every day. Blogs offer a general overview of the important legal precedent and stay up-to-date on the cutting-edge developments in the field. Legal blogs are also one of the few places where you can read about district court cases and smaller legal issues that do not make it onto the front page of the newspaper. It is informative, and also fun, to know about the legal issues that are happening day-to-day on the ground.
6. From a law student’s perspective, how would you characterize the dialogue between academics, students, and practitioners in the area of administrative law?
In general, I believe the dialogue between students, academics, and practitioners should always increase. For students, there is no better way to learn then to speak with people who are out there in the field practicing what they may be interested in doing. Academics also provide useful insight as to recent developments in the law and trends that are important to pay attention to. In the administrative law field, the dialogue between students, academics, and practitioners is even more important. In my opinion, administrative law is a subject that you do not truly learn until you have seen the process in action. The best way to do that, as a student, is to talk to those that are doing it.
7. Outside of the law, what are your favorite activities or hobbies?
When I am not inside a library or coffee shop, I love to be outside exploring D.C. or experimenting with my new affinity for cooking!
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.