Administrative Law & Administrative Hearing Practice

Quick Reference

  • Defense of Professional Licenses Before State Boards (Defense of Accusations)
  • Hearings Before Administrative Law Judges
  • Representations of Licensees Before State Boards
  • Appeals Before State Boards
  • Administrative Mandamus
  • Board of Medical Examiners
  • Psychology Examining Committee
  • ABC Appeals
  • Governmental Affairs

Legal Services

The state and local government as well as the federal government operate through various agencies known as boards, bureaus, commissions, departments and/or divisions. Examples include the California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) ( or the Contractor’s State Licensing Board (CSLB) ( Agencies are authorized to make their own rules and regulations also known as administrative regulations. See the California Code of Regulations and Code of Federal Regulations. They also promulgate procedures which must to be followed. California, for example, has the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). See California Government Code §§ 11340-11529. A person not happy with an agency or its decisions can seek redress via various methods, and depending on the outcome of the proceeding, seek administrative mandamus in the superior court or the federal district court.

However, a person must first “exhaust” his or her available administrative remedies before judicial review may be sought in a court of law, often by an administrative mandamus review. See California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.5.

The O’Brien, Watters & Davis Law Firm’s administrative law practice includes the defense of professional licensees who are faced with accusations of gross negligence (or worse) by a particular board which is seeking to suspend or revoke someone’s professional license. The licensee can fight charges by demanding an adjudicative proceeding (evidentiary hearing) usually presided over by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). The board has the power to review and change the decision of an ALJ. The hearing is subject to due process of law guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the California Constitution Article I, section 7(a). We have defended medical doctors before the Board of Medical Quality Assurance (BMQA), now the Board of Medical Examiners, a psychologist before the Psychology Examining Committee (PEC) as well as a Marriage Family Child Counselor (MFCC) before the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). We have also defended a licensee through the ABC Appeals process. We can handle not only the administrative law practice, but also the petition for a writ of administrative mandamus before the appropriate Superior Court.

This area of practice is headed by Michael G. Watters and Noreen Evans.