In cities, counties, and state and Federal agencies, lawyers help elected and appointed officials implement a wide range of civil and regulatory programs in areas like environmental protection, land use, education, health, and public safety. This Pathway helps guide students interested in exploring careers as government attorneys working on these and other civil and regulatory matters.
Government attorneys may be called upon to draft legislation to advance new policy initiatives, draw up contracts with private firms that help to administer government programs, conduct administrative hearings to enforce the law, and defend the constitutionality of government actions in court. They provide advice and opinions involving statutory interpretation, potential liability, legal authority for proposed agency actions, and federal law requirements. Successful government attorneys thus draw upon a diverse skill set that includes negotiation, transactional, and litigation skills as well as a deep understanding of the substantive policy issues confronting their clients. Accordingly, this Pathway identifies skill courses and doctrinal courses that will help to prepare students for the range of challenges and opportunities government lawyers face.
Students interested in a particular area of law should also consider taking courses focused on the law in that area. The Pathway Guide includes a number of courses relevant to students combining interest in government practice with interest in a particular area of law under “Other Courses to Consider.” However, those specialized courses that also offer an opportunity to write a long paper related to government practice are included among the Pathway Recommended Courses at Stage 3.