Who needs Congress? Last month, at The National Law Journal‘s first-ever Regulatory Summit, Washington insiders made it clear: If the House and Senate are unable to overcome partisan gridlock, the president will almost certainly use executive orders and rulemaking at federal agencies to advance his second-term agenda. And clearly that’s going to make for an even more active regulatory environment in 2013. The summit, a one-day conference assessing the state of regulation across a wide variety of practice areas, drew lawyers, law firm leaders, government officials and political figures. In this special report, we’ve distilled their observations at the summit to map out some of the areas that are likely to attract the most regulatory attention in the year ahead. — David Brown

Five issues to watch in labor and employment
The first Obama administration was a windfall for employment lawyers: Federal agencies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission roared back to life. And then there was a little law involving health care. Our panelists make their predictions for the major employment issues ahead.

SEC head lays out agency priorities
At the top of the agency’s to-do list: implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.

Regulatory engines revving over energy
The electricity grid and fracking are high priorities for the Department of Energy and related agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

‘Conflict minerals’ rules a big concern
Foreign policy and national security are driving some of the key developments in corporate compliance in 2013 — including a potentially massive new reporting regime for companies that use so-called “conflict minerals” in their products.

Managing partners foresee a lot of regulatory work
Top partners at five big Washington firms explored the year ahead for the business of law and the state of the regulatory and political climates in D.C.