Presidential transition, public-private ­partnerships among topics at ABA conference

Legal experts and U.S. government officials from regulatory agencies will offer insight into regulatory capture, judicial review, how agencies should interpret and implement the Constitution and the latest on ethical issues during the American Bar Association’s 2016 Administrative Law Conference on Dec. 8-9 in Washington, D.C.

The conference includes panels exploring federal encroachment on state securities regulation, the ethics and professional responsibilities in a presidential transition and diversity and inclusion in federal agencies. Attendees include several former and active federal judges and prominent officials from government agencies, including the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Administrative Conference of the United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce.

Program highlights include:

• “Administrative Law in China: Recent Developments and Implications for Chinese Law and Governance” — Administrative law reform in China has appeared to gain momentum in recent years, promising greater regularization and accountability of administrative decision-making throughout the Chinese government.  This panel will highlight recent developments in Chinese administrative law – from government, civil society and academic perspectives – and seek to evaluate their real-world significance in China’s larger political and legal context.

• “The Future of the Cost-Benefit State” — President-elect Donald Trump and Congress may have a significant opportunity to dramatically advance the use of cost-benefit analysis in regulatory decision making. This panel will take stock of the state of play on this issue, predict what the future may hold and offer varying perspectives on the uses and limitations of benefit-cost analyses.

• “Legal, Policy and Political Challenges in the Presidential Transition” — Presidential transitions are big, complicated and dangerous, and when managed strategically they also represent one of the best opportunities to make government more effective. One issue that will be discussed is the documented phenomenon of Midnight Rulemaking. The current situation in this regard is under study by the Regulatory Studies Center and George Washington University, and the latest information and analysis on the phenomenon will be part of the panel’s discussion. Another issue that will be discussed is the mechanism of transitions and how successful planning can minimize disruption caused by the transition. Past transition teams and administrations have essentially had to start from scratch, but our next president must be ready to govern on day one to keep our country safe and prosperous. The Center for Presidential Transition is an effort to provide guidance and support to facilitate a successful transition, and we will hear exactly how the center aims to accomplish its goals.

• “A Legal Primer on Public-Private Partnerships” — Public-private partnerships are increasingly common as a means for federal agencies to address complex challenges. Agency experience with partnerships varies, and partnerships involve novel issues that span agency general counsel practice areas. This panel will convene key experts across government to advise agency attorneys on partnership authority, appropriations issues, proper legal documents, due diligence and vetting and partnering with international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
A complete agenda can be found online.