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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Administrative Law as a 1L Course Redux

I want to bring Professor Jay Wexler's discussion on Boston University Law School's decision to include administrative law as a mandatory 1L course back to the forefront.  I think this is a great idea. Administrative law appears to be undervalued in law school curricula. Students may find themselves employed by the government or practicing in this area. Administrative law is also a broad topic, so I am glad to see that you are not just concentrating on rule making or administrative adjudication. Finally, administrative law touches upon many other practice areas including the regulation of corporations, business transactions with government entities (i.e., procurement), and securities.

Posted by Scott Maravilla on December 29, 2015 at 06:15 AM | Permalink


I think Admin Law is truly foundational if your law school emphasizes regulatory courses in the upper division. For example, George Washington has a renowned government contracts program in which a 1L course in Admin Law may be beneficial.

Posted by: Scott Maravilla | Jan 4, 2016 5:38:38 PM

No. if large numbers of JD holders do work involving administrative law, it suggests that all other things being equal, administrative law ought to be a required course. But it doesn't tell us whether it ought to be required in the first year. That fact is equally consistent with it being a foundational or a capstone course.

Here's another example: Every working lawyer does work that involves professional responsibility, and PR is quite appropriately a required course, but it's not a foundational course. It builds on other courses, rather than feeding into them.

Posted by: James Grimmelmann | Jan 1, 2016 3:54:12 PM

As for foundationality: perhaps that should rest on how many people with JD degrees now do work that involves administrative law?

Posted by: Frank | Jan 1, 2016 2:11:57 PM

These are arguments that Administrative Law is important and that it's broadly applicable. Both true. But they aren't arguments that it's foundational, which is what's at stake when making it a mandatory 1L course. I'm willing to be persuaded, but I'm still skeptical.

Posted by: James Grimmelmann | Dec 29, 2015 5:57:14 PM

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