Lawyering: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. At its best, it prioritizes transparency, requires accountability, and opens government files to inquiry without the need for litigation. At its worst, it overwhelms government employees, wastes taxpayer dollars, and may be used by lawyers as an unethical substitute for discovery. This lawyering skills class will use real FOIA examples to provide students the opportunity to analyze cases, write, perform internet research, apply statutes and regulations, interview, work as part of a team, and learn about this area of the law.