Meet Sam Wice, the incoming Student Representative to the Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice. Below, he discusses his experience with administrative law and his goals for the Section.
1. Where do you attend law school and what led you to a career in law? What are your plans for after law school?
I am a third-year student at Duke University School of Law. I became interested in the law when I worked for two years at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). I enjoyed the legal aspects of working with legislation and I decided to make law a career. For post-graduation employment, I am seeking a variety of positions, including judicial clerkships, government agency work, and law firm work.
2. What experiences with administrative or regulatory law have you had?
I learned about administrative law and regulatory practice through my work and internship experience. Before law school, I worked for two years on Unfunded Mandates Reform Act issues at CBO. As an intern at the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, I saw how the United States decided to argue City of Arlington v. FCC. As a summer honors law clerk at the Security and Exchange Commission’s Office of the General Counsel, I have seen how the Commission defended Dodd-Frank regulations.
3. How did you become interested in pursuing a career in administrative law?
At CBO, I saw how a law’s impact depends largely on regulations. For instance, one of the most specific provisions that I reviewed would have required seatbelts in motor coaches. But the Department of Transportation had regulatory discretion whether to apply the requirement to existing motor coaches, whether to require three-point or lap seatbelts, and how much force a seatbelt should be able to withstand. The range of possibilities had about a $1 billion difference in aggregate costs.
4. Based on your experiences thus far, what do you perceive to be challenges facing administrative law practitioners?
One challenge facing practitioners is that at the same time that some agencies are required to increase their regulatory purview, their budgets are being cut. With reduced funds, the government might not be able to hire top administrative law attorneys and citizens who require administrative assistance will have to wait longer for services.
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?
Law students considering a career in administrative law should take an administrative law class and try to intern with a government agency that engages in administrative work. Students should remember that administrative law does not just occur in Washington, DC. States and local governments practice administrative law too, and federal agencies have satellite offices throughout the country that practice administrative law. New attorneys considering a career in administrative law should read a hornbook on the subject and attend administrative law hearings in their spare time — students should feel free to do these too. Also, new attorneys should try to clerk with an administrative law judge.
6. From a law student’s perspective, how would you characterize the dialogue between academics, students, and practitioners in the area of administrative law?
The Section does a good job of facilitating dialogue. By offering free admission into the Section and free attendance at many conferences, the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice encourages law students to attend conferences where they can meet academics and practitioners. But because of geographical, cost restrictions many students are not able to take advantage of these benefits.
7. As the incoming Law Student Division representative to the Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section, what are your goals for the year? What do you think could be done to foster interest in administrative law or joining the Section?
I want to increase outreach to students who might not be able to attend the Section’s events. Thus, I hope to have a series of teleconferences or webinars about careers in Administrative Law, where students can ask practitioners about their jobs and how to enter the field. Likewise, hopefully the Section will be able to schedule some CLEs on law school campuses and we can encourage students to attend the classes.
8. Outside of the law, what are your favorite activities or hobbies?
I am a big baseball and St. Louis Cardinals fan. I also enjoy baking.
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.