Curriculum Guide · Courses
The Law of Open Government: Litigation Under the Freedom of Information Act
J.D. Practicum 1070 | 4 credit hours
This is a practicum class that combines a seminar and field placement work. In the seminar, students will be given (1) an overview of the federal open government law; (2) training in FOIA requests, appeals, and litigation; (3) experience pursuing actual FOIA matters in various stages of the litigation process; and (4) practical tips and strategies to become an effective FOIA attorney. Topics to be covered include the history of the FOIA, understanding the FOIA (key terms, the exemptions, statutory time limits), perfecting the request and identifying the appropriate agency, understanding agency FOIA regulations, the standard for expedition and the public interest standard, the “Glomar” problem, requester strategies, the role of the media, fee determinations, and fee recovery. Guest lectures will include local practitioners pursuing significant FOIA cases. For the practicum part of the class, students will be expected to draft, submit, and pursue a well –researched and well-crafted Freedom of Information Act request. To make this possible, students will be expected to complete several written assignments, including (1) a case memo describing the FOIA request the student is interested in pursuing, (2) a FOIA request to a government agency, (3) an Administrative Appeal that responds to the response (or lack thereof) received from the agency; and (4) other written work product.
Prerequisites: Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic (except Street Law) or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.
THIS IS A PRACTICUM COURSE.