Public Law

Public Law

All law students should have some general familiarity with public law. Students who are in private practice will inevitably represent clients who have a dispute with a local, state or federal governmental agency. Many private practitioners specialize in some area of public law, such as business regulation, employment law, environmental law, local government, natural resources or social regulation. Students employed as government attorneys likewise will specialize in a public law area.

What is Public Law?
Two essentially different methods exist in the U.S. for the resolution of social problems and disputes, depending on whether they involve private or public law. Private Law typically involves a law suit brought by private parties, usually against other private parties in state or federal court. Public Law typically involves the attempt of a governmental administrator to regulate the conduct, usually of many persons, under legislative standards designed to promote the public interest. The administrator's actions are subject to review by the judiciary, but they are also subject to oversight by the executive and legislative branches.


Clinical and field placement courses, in which students represent or assist clients, offer students the opportunity for hands-on experience in public law.

Gateway Courses

Gateway courses familiarize students with the legal principles and governmental institutions that are the infrastructure of public law.

  • Administrative Law
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation

Substantive Courses

Substantive courses acquaint students with the substance of business regulation, employment law, environmental law, local government, natural resources and social regulation. KU offers courses in several major public law areas. Courses marked with an asterisk* cover both Private and Public Law.

Antitrust Law

  • Digital Privacy Rights in an Open Society
  • Insurance
  • Media and the First Amendment
  • Intellectual Property
  • Securities Regulation

Employment Law

  • Employment Discrimination Law
  • Employment Law
  • Labor Law
  • Workers' Compensation

Elder Law

  • Introduction to Elder Law

Environmental Law

  • Environmental Law Seminar
  • Environmental Law

Health Law

  • Public Health Law
  • Health Law and Policy
  • Law and Bioethics

Local Government

  • Government Control of Land Development
  • Local Government Law

Natural Resources Law

  • Agricultural Law and Contemporary Food Production and Safety Issues
  • Public Lands and Natural Resources
  • Water Law*

Social Regulation

  • Federal Indian Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Sovereignty, Self-Determination and the Indigenous Nations

Course descriptions

Hands-On Learning

Experiential learning opportunities that pertain to the practice of public law include:

Other Opportunities

Students are selected by competition for the staff of the Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy, which specializes in the publication of articles relating to public law. Students can also compete for a position on the staff of the Kansas Law Review, which publishes both private law and public law articles.



Richard Levy
J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor

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