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New York City Law Department
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Legal Divisions - Administrative Law

New York City has adopted numerous laws and regulations to enhance the quality of life for its citizens and visitors. For example, the use and development of private property is governed by code requirements addressed to building construction, fire prevention, housing maintenance, zoning, and landmark preservation. For purposes of protecting consumers and promoting the public health and safety, the City regulates the conduct of many types of businesses; examples include restaurants and cabarets, taxicab and car services, plumbing and electrical companies, parking lots and garages, and commercial carters, to name just a few. The City also regulates the use of the public streets and sidewalks with provisions of law addressed to various activities including vehicular traffic and parking, food and general vending, parades and assemblies, street fairs, newsstands, sidewalk cafes, and pay telephones.

The Administrative Law Division handles court proceedings brought by and against the numerous City agencies that are responsible for administering and enforcing these laws and regulations. Some of these actions include challenges to the provisions of law themselves, while most dispute the application of a particular legal requirement in a specific context. In addition, the Division brings some civil actions to obtain compliance with regulatory requirements, and prosecutes code violators in Criminal Court to punish their non-compliance and ultimately bring about code compliance.


What Summer Interns Do?
In the Administrative Law Division, a summer intern will typically write two to four respondent's answers and memoranda of law for filing in State Court. The papers will respond to petitions challenging final determinations by City agencies, such as the denial of a handgun license by the Police Department or the termination of tenant rent subsidies by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. After reviewing the adversary's petition and obtaining the administrative record from the relevant City agency, the intern will assemble the administrative record to be filed with the court and draft the City's answer and memorandum of law in support of the City’s position. After receiving feedback from a senior attorney, the intern will finalize the answer and provide it to the City agency for verification. Once the answer has been verified, the intern will have the verified answer and memo filed with the Court. Interns will also likely observe arguments before federal and state courts. The division normally takes 2 to 3 interns who have just completed their first year of law school.

What New Attorneys Do?
Attorneys joining the Administrative Law Division have their own caseloads consisting of challenges to City administrative agency determinations as well as the laws and regulations underlying those determinations. These cases concern the broad spectrum of the City's regulatory activities, including licensing, land use, regulation of street and park activities, health, housing, consumer protection, and code compliance. Attorneys also defend challenges to determinations made the City's pension boards. Many of the cases are brought as State Court Article 78 proceedings while others are state or federal actions. In all instances, working under the supervision of a senior member of the division, the assigned attorneys are responsible for handling their cases from beginning to end. A typical case requires that an attorney prepare responsive pleadings and affidavits after reviewing agency records and consulting with agency representatives, prepare memoranda of law, conduct necessary discovery and make court appearances to argue motions. New attorneys in the Division also prosecute violations and misdemeanors in the New York City Criminal Court based upon violations of various local laws enforced by the City.
View the Law Department's Annual Reports for More Information about the Administrative Law Division

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