Amy Bresnen

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The general purpose of this paper is to provide law students and young lawyers with an overview for accessing, in the context of Texas agencies, these legislatively-delegated adjudicative, or quasijudicial, powers and explain how agency contested case decisions are reviewed by the courts. This is important for lawyers to understand in representing a client, be it an individual or entity, whose interests are affected by administrative proceedings within regulatory agencies. To accomplish this goal, the paper discusses the two most common methods of judicial review and contrasts the standard proceedings for contested cases at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) with those of the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC or “Commission”). Describing the two agencies’ governance, jurisdiction, and overall purposes will provide insight into how agencies use administrative and judicial resources while dealing with different subject matters and employing substantially different procedures for contested cases.