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When Harry Met Sally...at the Fish and Wildlife Service (An Administrative Law Ethics Romance)

J. B. Ruhl, Natural Resources and Environmental Administrative Law and Procedure (1999)

Natural resources attorneys in the private and public interest sectors make their living in large part through their knowledge of administrative law and agencies: which agency has jurisdiction over a matter; whom to call in the agency for information on the current policy; what information is available and by what means; what laws apply to which agencies; what rules and decisions are on the agency's horizon; what procedures will the agency follow to make policy and adjudicatory decisions; and so on. Practice before administrative agencies thus involves many different procedural settings, a variety of potential communicants, and both rights of communication and constraints thereon.

Against that backdrop, administrative law contains several familiar sources of law covering how attorneys working in or before an agency must conduct themselves. Chief among these sources of law are: (1) the Constitution and the state constitution if a state agency is involved; (2) the agency's organic statute; (3) the federal or state general administrative procedure law; and (4) the agency's rules of practice. Natural resources attorneys must become adept at navigating these rules of practice and communication in each of the procedural settings and with each of the agency positions described above. What is often overlooked, however, is the additional layer of regulation the rules of profess