Administrative law is a broad area of law defined not by the substance but by the forum in which decisions are made. In contrast to judicial law where decisions are made by judges or juries in the judicial branch of government, administrative law refers to legal proceedings in which decisions are made by administrative agencies, typically in the executive branch, or sometimes by independent governmental bodies, such as school boards or zoning boards. Administrative agencies derive their power and authority from laws, known as enabling statutes, passed by the legislative branch of government (in Indiana, by the General Assembly, and at the federal level, by Congress). In some cases, quasi-governmental, or even private, entities conduct proceedings that are administrative in nature.
There are two types of administrative actions: rulemaking and adjudications. Rulemaking is essentially a quasi-legislative action, and representing clients in front of administrative agencies during rulemaking is, as a practical matter but not necessarily a legal matter, a lobbying activity. Hand Ponist’s lobbyist, Joel Hand, represents the interest of our clients when an administrative agency is considering a new rule or regulation that will affect the client’s interest.
Adjudications are essentially a judicial function. In fact, in some agencies, the person who makes the decision in an adjudication has the title of administrative law judge. In other agencies, such as many of the State boards that operating under the umbrella of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, the decision is made by the entire board.
Hand Ponist’s lawyers have extensive experience in administrative agencies, and one of our partners (Mr. Hand) has served as an administrative law judge. Some of the administrative actions we may be able to help you with are described below.
- Specialized driving privileges (formerly called hardship licenses) by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (or BMV)
- Suspension or reinstatement of driver’s licenses by the BMV
- Unemployment compensation matters in the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (or DWD)
- Accreditation by the Office of Career and Training Services (or OCTS) of the DWD
- Investigations of consumer complaints by the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, including investigations under the Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act
- Professional disciplinary matters or appeal of license denials by boards of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, such as the:
- Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board (marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, social workers, clinical social workers, addiction counselors, and clinical addiction counselors)
- Indiana State Psychology Board
- State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers
- State Board of Registration for Architects and Landscape Architects
- Indiana State Board of Nursing
- Indiana Board of Accountancy
- Home Inspectors Licensing Board
- Indiana Real Estate Commission
- Real Estate Appraiser Licensure and Certification Board
- Indiana Dieticians Certification Board
- Investigations of securities violations by the Indiana Securities Commission of the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State
- Reinstatement of corporations or limited liability companies (LLCs) administratively dissolved by the Indiana Secretary of State
- Firearms or handgun licensing
- Teacher certification or disciplinary actions by the Indiana Department of Education, Office of Educator Effectiveness and Licensing
- Certifications of Minority Owned Business Enterprises or Women Owned Business Enterprises by the Indiana Department of Administration
- Requests for records from federal agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Requests for records from Indiana agencies under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (or APRA, sometimes called the Indiana FOIA)
We can also represent athletes, coaches, volunteers or others who are accused of sexual misconduct and face disciplinary action by the U.S. Center for Safe Sport. The SafeSport Center is charged with investigating complaints made against members of a national governing body (or NGB), such as USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo, USA Swimming, and USA Diving or others associated with the sport.