TEXAS ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
Administrative law is the practice before Texas boards, agencies and commissions.
Many of the cases are litigated in front of administrative law judges at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (“SOAH”)
I have experience practicing in front of:
Public Utility Commission of Texas
Railroad Commission of Texas
Texas Lottery Commission
Texas Board of Nursing
Texas State Board of Pharmacy
If you have a dispute with a state agency, please contact me. Even if I have not listed the agency, the law governing practice and procedure before most state agencies is the same. I can fight for your rights
I Fight For Professionals In Texas!
If you are licensed in Texas to perform your profession – and many of us are – then you are also subject to the review of your licensing board or commission. You might be being investigated by your licensing agency even as you read this. I have experience before several such state agencies. I have practiced in front of the Public Utility Commission, the Railroad Commission, the Texas Board of Nursing, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and the Lottery Commission. I am willing and able to help you with your board or agency.
However, you want to avoid several common mistakes:
- NOT RESPONDING TO THE AGENCY – It amazes me to read “default” orders issued by agencies like the Texas Board of Nursing or the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. In those orders, they recite that the person who was being investigated did not respond to agency inquiries and did not appear at the hearing where their license was being reviewed. Even if you don’t have much of a defense, showing up to a hearing might allow you to argue for mitigation of the sanction the agency is going to impose against you.
- NOT MEETING DEADLINES – Every licensing agency will give you an opportunity to tell your side of the story. However, they will also set deadlines for you to respond to them. Not meeting the deadlines is almost as bad as not making any response at all. Your reputation and your livelihood are on the line – respond to deadlines accordingly.
- TRYING TO REPRESENT YOURSELF – While it is better than nothing to make your own appearance before the agency, you are much better off if you have a lawyer on your side. It is the lawyer’s job to know all the rules that might be cited in yur favor. A lawyer can make sure that you submit a well-tuned argument at the right time. Finally, a lawyer can help negotiate for what will hopefully be a better sanction than what you might get acting on your own.
- ACCEPTING THE FIRST PROPOSED AGREED ORDER THAT IS OFFERED BY THE STAFF – Some agencies process their caseload through “agreed orders.” Those orders are drafted by the staff of the agency. The staff does not know your particular fact situation and cannot draft a proposed order that is perfect for every licensee. You need to have an experienced administrative law attorney look over the order and negotiate on your behalf.
- SEEKING REPRESENTATION TOO LATE – I had one potential client contact me after the State Office of Administrative Hearings had already issued a proposed order in his case and after the time had expired to file exceptions to that order. At that point, there was very little I could do. I encouraged him to hire me anyway, but he did not do so. Not surprisingly, the agency adopted the proposed order without any changes.
- HIRING A LAWYER WITHOUT ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY EXPERIENCE – I have been working for or practicing in front of administrative agencies almost all of my professional life. I know the type of arguments most likely to prevail before an agency and those that are not likely to get very favorable reception. I also know what avenues of appeal that are available after the agency rules. Administrative law can be complex to someone who does not practice it on a daily basis. I do not do divorces or personal injury law and hope that lawyers who have mastered those areas would not try to practice administrative law.
- ATTACKING THE INTEGRITY OF THE STAFF, THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE OR THE AGENCY MEMBERS – I don’t know how many times I have heard statements like “the other side bought off the judge” or “that board was appointed by (fill in politician’s name here) – they’re all political hacks.” In my experience, agency staff and members are hard working and trying to do a good job. In many agencies, the agency members are part-time and are trying to make a living doing other tasks while also trying to serve the state. As for the State Office of Administrative Hearings – my experience is that they are all professionals who write proposals for decisions that are based on the facts and the law. Some are, of course, better than others, but I do not believe any of them is “on the take.” If you make such accusations before an agency, expect all of your other arguments to be rejected.
Any other questions? Contact me through the “contact” page on my web site – www.popelawtx.com or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are being investigated, it is important that you respond to the Board very quickly. Contact me now – while you are thinking about it!