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Administrative Law
 
 


Administrative Law practice is an area of law familiar to most law enforcement officers. It involves the representation of individuals or businesses before governmental agencies or organizations. These organizations are created by county or city governments, state legislatures, and Congress. The authority these agencies possess is delegated to them by the entities which created them.

Administrative agencies administer law through the creation and enforcement of their own specific rules or regulations. Most of these organizations must also follow the law when taking action related to their rules, polices, or procedures as well. The need for counsel that relates to administrative agencies usually arises from the agency denying, limiting, or terminating benefits and entitlements, or taking disciplinary action. Ultimately, agency decisions may be reviewed at higher levels within the agency, by public employee relations boards, and ultimately by the courts.

If you are scheduled to attend an agency meeting or hearing, you should seriously consider having your own representative attend with you. The meetings or hearings may be informal, yet they are very important. You are often not required to bring a representative or attorney to the meeting or hearing. However, remember that the agency representatives almost always conduct business following advice from experienced agency administrators and legal counsel.

Warnings must also be given for protection of attendee rights under certain circumstances. Each side usually presents evidence and elicits testimony from its witnesses. Hearings may also be tape recorded by one or both sides or recorded by a paid court reporter.

Therefore, when possible, you should always consider retaining a licensed attorney, authorized to practice law in state and federal courts, with experience in administrative proceedings. That attorney should not have a conflict of interest. For example, a conflict of interest arises when a lawyer represents an employee, then represents others taking positions that may be contrary to that same employee in the future.

You may use representatives recommended by your own fraternal organization. However, be cautious when using the lawyers they recommend. These orgainizations are very political, meaning that its elected officials represent numerous members with conflicting goals and interests. Therefore, lawyers recommended who ignore their conflicting ethical obligations by representing these fraternal organizations in collective bargaining, its elected officials on other matters, and then also separately represent the members of those organizations as well, should not be retained.

Therefore, lawyers referred to you by the elected officials governing your organization, who also represent those organizations as well as their officials, should be avoided. These lawyers often claim all other lawyers are, "less experienced," "overcharge," or that they will, "make bad law." You'll know you're being compromised when the organization offers to pay for legal services you need only if provided by the select few who represent them, and the organization, and anyone else against you, in disregard of obvious conflicts. They might pay for that kind of representation, but usually so will you -- at too high a price at the point where your interests become secondary to the financial and political objectives of others willing to compromise you in lieu their own conflicting goals.


 

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