What is regulatory law?

Federal and state regulations influence everything from the air we breathe to the fine print on credit card agreements. Regulatory law involves creating and/or managing the rules and regulations created by federal and state agencies. There are careers in regulatory law inside and outside of government in everything from finance to environmental law.

What do regulatory lawyers do?

Regulatory lawyers who work at government agencies draft and implement regulations based on legislation. Conversely, regulatory lawyers in private industry work with clients to navigate the regulations applicable to their organizations. Some regulatory lawyers also represent individuals before government agencies.

What types of practices need regulatory lawyers?

Regulatory lawyers work in almost all types of legal practice. Here are a few examples:

  • Business. You might complete filings as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission for clients seeking to go public or raise capital. 
  • Health care. You might counsel hospitals on compliance with state and federal programs that pay for medical care. 
  • Public interest. You might assist clients with applications for VA and Social Security benefits.
  • Energy. You might advise drilling companies regarding the complex regulations governing oil well spacing or the electric grid.

How is this different from business law or litigation?

Regulatory lawyers focus on creating rules as required by legislation, as well as on helping clients navigate those rules. A regulatory lawyer may create policies and procedures to ensure that a business complies with current law, whereas a business lawyer would create the legal structure to establish that business, and a litigator would be required if that business is sued. Each area of law requires different areas of legal knowledge, writing skills and negotiating expertise.

Do regulatory lawyers go to court?

Some do, but most primarily focus on advising clients and assisting in negotiations between clients and state and federal agencies.

How can Texas A&M School of Law help me prepare for a career as a regulatory attorney?

Our faculty includes accomplished attorneys who have served in federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the offices of various state attorneys general. Others have advised clients on regulatory compliance as general counsel and lawyers in multinational law firms. This combination of government and private practice experience will give you the practical insights you need to prepare for a career in regulatory law.

Why should I study regulatory law at Texas A&M School of Law?

Our partnerships with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension create opportunities for students to address regulatory issues while still in law school. Our relationship with the Bush School of Government and Public Service offers access to an important network of policy professionals. In addition, the Fort Worth/Dallas region is home to many Fortune 500 companies and numerous state and federal agencies, and offers excellent employment opportunities to graduates who specialize in regulatory law.

When can I start learning about regulatory law?

Unlike most law schools, you’ll start learning regulatory law in the first week of our Legislation & Regulation course by discussing how regulations are created, implemented and changed. After your first year, you can choose from a wide range of electives focusing on regulatory topics. Furthermore, our Externship Program can help you earn class credits by working for agencies and businesses.

What opportunities will I have when I graduate?

Our graduates are pursuing regulatory careers in law firms, the private sector, government and non-profits. Opportunities are particularly strong in energy, finance and health care. A legal education also prepares you for a career as a compliance officer, risk analyst or consultant.

Whom should I contact if I have further questions about regulatory law?

You can contact any of our regulatory law faculty: Terri Helge, Gary Lucas, Huyen Pham, or Neil Sobol.