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U.S. Administrative Law for International Students

Professor John H. Walsh
June 2015
Moscow, Russian Federation

The Securities & Exchange Commission is investigating my company’s subsidiary, do we have to turn over records?  

The Bureau of Industry and Security has put my client on a “Denied Persons List,” and now his U.S. supplier won’t ship his goods, what can I do? 

We heard a proposed regulation might make our company’s business illegal, how can I get the details and how can I make our opinion known?

In Russia, you may think of "administrative offenses," and think of small fines and annoying bureaucrats. But this is a completely incorrect translation of the U.S. legal concept! Contrary to what many Russian lawyers think, in the United States, administrative law is the main regulator of big business, and can reach internationally to involve your clients here in Russia too.

U.S. administrative law can drastically affect your business and your clients.  Most of the rules governing financial and commercial activities in the U.S. have been issued by administrative agencies.  Indeed, almost all law affecting international business: US tax law, international trade law, regulation of securities, banking regulation, anti-monopoly rules and economic sanctions is administrative law.  Administrative fines can include millions of dollars in penalties, and place serious limitations on a firm’s business. 

This course, which is absolutely new and unique for Moscow, is designed to teach you the basics of administrative procedures.  You will learn how the agencies function, what powers they have, and, most importantly, how to deal with the agencies to help your clients. 

When an administrative agency threatens to sanction a business, it is a matter of extreme gravity.  Take this course and be prepared.

SCHEDULE: Due to Mr. WalshТs need to return to his law practice, this course will be offered over an intensive two weeks: Tues June 16, 19:00-22:00, Thurs June 18, 19:00-22:00, Friday June 19, 19:00-22:00, Tues June 23 19:00-22:00, Thurs June 25 19:00-22:00, Friday, June 26, 19:00-22:00, and all day Saturday June 27, 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:00.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this two-credit course is to give international students a basic understanding of the principles and practical operation of U.S. administrative law.  The course will include class presentations by Professor Walsh, discussion of leading statutes and cases, as well as practical exercises using case studies.

PLAN FOR THE COURSE:  The course will have three parts: (1) administrative action and judicial review, (2) administrative enforcement, and (3) obtaining governmental information.  While the focus of the course will be on the rule of law in a financial or business context, cases from other types of administrative actions will be used to illustrate important propositions.  The course will also include a class exercise and a workshop.  

  • During the class exercise teams of students will analyze an administrative situation and present proposed Action Plans to the class. 
  • During the workshop the class will analyze and prepare a responsive plan to an investigative letter from a U.S. administrative agency.

COURSE OUTLINE: (For full details and readings, please contact Pericles administration for the syllabus.)


Many of the rules governing financial and commercial activities in the U.S. have been issued by administrative agencies.  Even when Congress has established a basic governing standard, administrative agencies often issue rules to interpret or elaborate upon Congress’s standard.  This section of the course will focus on the administrative process for issuing rules and how rules are challenged in the courts.

1st Session: June 16, 2015
Introduction to U.S. Administrative Law: Administration in the American State, Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”)

2rd Session: June 18, 2015
Checks and Balances: Using the APA to Challenge an Administrative Rule: Who May Challenge an Administrative Rule? Successful Challenges

3rd Session: June 19, 2015
Two Key Doctrines: Due Process and Deference

4th Session: June 23, 2015
Class Exercise on Challenging an Administrative Action: A New Rule Will Impact Our Business: What Should We Do?


Administrative agencies in the United States often conduct inquiries to gather information on a variety of topics.  When, as the result of such an inquiry, an administrative agency threatens to sanction a business, it is a matter of extreme gravity.  Administrative sanctions can include millions of dollars in penalties, limitations on a firm’s business, and other serious remedies. 

5th Session: June 25, 2015
Administrative Enforcement: Inquiries, Adjudication

6th Session: June 26, 2015
Administrative Sanctions: Penalties, Other Administrative Sanctions such as Freezing Assets

7th Session: June 27, 2015
Class Workshop on Administrative Enforcement: We Just received a Letter from the SEC: What Should We Do?


 8th Session: June 27, 2015
Obtaining Administrative Information and Course Wrap-Up

3 Hour Open Book In class Exam on Monday, June 29, 2015.


COURSE RULES: Some sessions will have advance reading required while others will have none.  Students may wish to take advantage of the days on which there are no assigned readings to get a head start on required assignments.

No less than 75% attendance is required.  Hence, the grades of students who miss more than 2 sessions will be reduced, and students who miss more than 4 sessions will be required to quit the class. 

Grades will be administered on the standard Pericles Project curve.  Credit will be awarded as follows:

20% -- Participation in class discussions/attendance
20% -- Participation in the classroom exercise and workshop – 10% each
60% -- An in class open book essay final examination