Access & Accountability 2021: Seize the Day


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This annual conference brings together law school clinicians, investigative journalists, practicing lawyers, academics, and activists to focus on some of the key impediments to government accountability and openness. The goal is to foster conversation and problem solving.  More concretely, the conference informs the work of law school clinics and allied NGO’s, opening new vistas for legal action, policy work, and other advocacy. The first day of the conference convenes multi-disciplinary/multi-professional experts to explore some of the most pressing current issues; the second day is an incubator of ideas, opportunities for collaboration, best practices and success stories for law school clinics.

AAC 2021 Full Schedule


Friday, October 1, 2021

9:00     WELCOME by Floyd Abrams

9:15     Keynote:  Time to Fix FOIA?

Professor Margaret Kwoka, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University

9:45     THINKING BIG ABOUT FIXING FOIA

The past five years have witnessed escalating challenges to Congressional, and ultimately public, oversight of the executive, as well as unprecedented abuses by this branch. With a new administration that views institutional renewal as a core part of its mandate, there may be a unique opportunity to advance major reform to America's transparency structures, particularly FOIA, whose failures have been documented for years. This panel will identify some of the key deficiencies in the current means for obtaining information from the federal government and engage in some out of the box thinking about FOIA reforms that might meaningfully improve government transparency and accountability, particularly in support of better oversight to promote institutional compliance and a culture of openness.

Moderator: Michael Karanicolas, UCLA Institute for Law and Technology

Panelists:  

  • Margaret Kwoka, Moritz College of Law
  • Adam Marshall, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Toby Mendel, Centre for Law and Democracy
  • Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission

11:00    BREAK

11:15    RIGHTS OF THE PRESS CLAUSE

The Attorney General’s commitment never to seek the identities of journalists’ sources, legal objections to police targeting of journalists during BLM protests, defenses being raise by some charged with January 6 crimes that they were functioning as journalists, and criticism of techniques used by Project Veritas, all raise two fundamental questions: Who is a journalist for purposes of the First Amendment, and what rights does the Press Clause grant to a journalist?  This panel will search for answers and will consider how best to define and enforce the rights of the Press Clause through litigation.

Moderator: RonNell Anderson Jones, S.J. Quincy College of Law, University of Utah

Panelists:   

  • Emily Bell, TOW Center, Columbia J. School
  • Bruce Brown, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Adam Goldman, New York Times
  • Jane Kirtley, Hubbard School of Journalism, University of Minnesota
  • Mickey Osterreicher, National Press Photographers Association

12:30    BREAK

1:00     LAW ENFORCEMENT ACCOUNTABILITY

The panel will focus on the right to protest and law enforcement’s response to protestors, including interference and abuse of protestors, surveillance of protestor and activist movements, and legislative efforts to limit and target public protests.  Panelists will discuss legal strategies and ongoing litigation challenging such practices under the First and Fourth Amendments as well as federal, state and local transparency laws that apply to law enforcement agencies.

Moderator: Jonathan Manes, Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center

Panelists:

  • Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Drexel Kline School of Law
  • Nora Benavidez, Free Press
  • Vanessa del Valle, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Adam Schwartz, Electronic Frontier Foundation

2:15 BREAK

2:30 NATIONAL SECURITY ACCOUNTABILITY

In his Pentagon Papers concurrence, Justice Stewart famously observed that, in the realm of national security, “the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life” makes an informed citizenry “the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power.”  Since 9/11, an exponential growth in the amount of information classified by the executive, use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, invocation of the state secrets privilege, the deference given by courts to the executive’s assessment of national security harm, and the creation of military commissions to prosecute terrorists, have all served to limit the ability of informed public opinion to restrain executive power.  This panel will analyze some of the key impediments to meaningful oversight of our national security apparatus today, consider ways to address them, and assess the prospects for reform.

Moderator: Jameel Jaffer, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

Panelists:   

  • Laura Donohue, Georgetown Law School
  • Heidi Kitrosser, University of Minnesota School of Law
  • Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post
  • Stephen Vladeck, University of Texas School of Law
  • Andrew Weissmann, New York University School of Law

3:45     BREAK

4:00   DEFAMATION AS AN ACCOUNTABILITY TOOL

A shared understanding of basic facts is essential for democracy to function, yet some activists seem to be intentionally creating and disseminating disinformation that ricochets through partisan echo chambers. These efforts have been highly successful—some 90% of Republicans and Democrats now disagree about the truth or falsity of certain basic facts. This panel will explore the extent to which the problem of disinformation is exacerbated in the age of social media by First Amendment doctrine that relies primarily on counter-speech as the cure for false speech, whether libel litigation provides a useful tool for addressing political disinformation, and other steps that might help restore some common agreement on the relevant facts.

Moderator: Lee Levine, Ballard Spahr LLP (Ret.)

Panelists:  

  • Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
  • Thomas Clare, Clare Locke LLP
  • Erin Murphy, Kirkland & Elis LLP
  • John Langford, Protect Democracy
  • Lyrissa Lidsky, University of Missouri School of Law

Saturday, October 2

9:00 COLLABORATION COLLOQUIES — projects worthy of cross-clinic collaboration

Supporting Local Journalism (9:00)

There is a compelling need to reinvigorate local journalism for democracy to thrive.  This panel will review various approaches being taken at law school clinics and elsewhere to provide the types of legal services needed to sustain robust investigative journalism, and lead an open discussion exploring additional ways that law school clinics might be a part of the solution to this pressing problem.

Discussants:

  • Josh Burday, Loevy & Loevy
  • Flavie Fuentes, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Heather Murray, Cornell
  • Susan Seager, UC Irvine
  • Stephen Stich, MFIA

Fighting “Censorship by PIO” (9:45)

Governments have increasingly imposed gag rules on their employees, barring staff from talking to journalists and providing information only through a public information office. With their careers on the line, employees have little incentive to litigate their speech rights, leaving the public blind to what the government is doing beyond the information officially approved for release through press officers. This panel will discuss the legal theories for mounting a journalist’s challenge to such gag rules, the procedural hurdles such a case would face, and the legal research and factual development that has already been done on this issue. It will explore opportunities for collaboration among clinics in bringing one or more test cases.

Discussants:

  • Kathryn Foxhall, Society of Professional Journalists
  • Gregg Leslie, Arizona State University
  • Michael Linhorst, MFIA
  • Frank LoMonte, Brechner Center

10:35    BREAK

10:45    DIRECTOR’S DIALOGUE: First Amendment, Friend or Foe?  

This panel will take up some of the challenges in teaching students who are not reflexively in the flow of free speech.  It will consider the extent to which there has been a norm shift among law students in thinking about free speech and consider the teaching challenges presented by changing attitudes. For example, the presence of disinformation on social media platforms has led to calls for greater government regulation of online speech. Violent marches by right-wing groups, such as Unite The Right in Charlottesville, have led some students to question the availability of robust free speech protections for racist and sexist speech. Panelists will discuss their own experiences as students and teachers of First Amendment law, with the goal of providing actional advice for clinical faculty to engage with First Amendment issues.   

Moderator: Catherine Crump, UC Berkeley

Panelists:  

  • Erwin Chemerinsky UC Berkeley
  • Gautam Hans, Vanderbilt
  • Meenakshi Krishnan, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

11:50    BREAK                                                                                                     

12:00    SUCCESS STORIES

Samantha Hamilton, University of Georgia
Samantha will describe a project called MLOG (Media Law & Open Government) in which a dedicated group of students provides non-litigation advocacy on a pop-up basis to citizens and journalists across Georgia. Its successes include shaking loose documents for journalists, getting functioning livestreaming in place for public meetings, and getting people unblocked from govt social media accounts who were censored for their critical comments. The project functions like a mini-clinic, where the members meet each week all together but the students divide the projects up among them based on interest. The project accepts matters on a rolling basis throughout the semester.

Ben Whittle, UC Irvine School of Law
Ben will describe his involvement with an ongoing law clinic project helping a freelance journalist unseal juvenile case files of children who were victims of fatal child abuse that local California child welfare agencies failed to intervene in. The clinical project's successes have contributed to a front-page LA Times story, the Netflix docuseries "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez," and ongoing investigations into California's child welfare system.

Celine Moussazadeh Rohr, NYU School of Law
Celine worked on a FOIA-based investigation of the FDA and NIH that uncovered information that apparently spurred the FDA to take a first-ever enforcement action to ensure public access to a drug manufacturer’s clinical trial data. She will explain the strategy of explicitly identifying the FOIA requests as a precursor to potential APA litigation as a way of getting the attention of the FOIA offices at both agencies.

1:15     OPEN FELN STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING

Participant Bios


Floyd Abrams is senior counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School. He is the author of three books about the First Amendment of which the most recent was "The Soul of the First Amendment" (2017). Mr. Abrams has argued numerous cases involving the First Amendment in the Supreme Court and lower courts. Among others, he was co-counsel to the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, counsel to the Brooklyn Museum in its litigation against New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and counsel to Senator Mitch McConnell in the Citizens United case. Former Yale Law School Dean Robert Post has observed that "no lawyer has exercised a greater influence on the development of First Amendment jurisprudence in the last four decades."

Tabatha Abu El Haj

Tabatha Abu El-Haj is a Professor of Law at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law. She is a leading expert on the First Amendment’s right of peaceable assembly. Her research explores a variety of approaches to increasing democratic accountability and responsiveness to everyday Americans. Her publications include The Neglected Right of Assembly, UCLA Law Review (2009); Defining Peaceably: Policing the Line Between Constitutionally Protected Protest and Unlawful Assembly, Missouri Law Review (2015); and Networking the Party: First Amendment Rights & the Pursuit of Responsive Party Government, Columbia Law Review (2018). She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network, which published her 2018 policy brief “Why Strengthening Citizen Ties – Not Unleashing Big Donors – is the Way to Revitalize U.S. Political Parties.” Professor Abu El-Haj received her JD/PhD from New York University and clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Emily Bell is Founding Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School and a leading thinker, commentator and strategist on digital journalism. Established in 2010, the Tow Center has rapidly built an international reputation for research into the intersection of technology and journalism. The majority of Bell’s career was spent at Guardian News and Media in London working as an award-winning writer and editor both in print and online. As editor-in-chief across Guardian websites and director of digital content for Guardian News and Media, Bell led the web team in pioneering live blogging, multimedia formats, data and social media, making the Guardian a recognized pioneer in the field. She is co-author of Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present (2012) with CW Anderson and Clay Shirky. Bell is a trustee on the board of the Scott Trust, the owners of The Guardian, a member of Columbia Journalism Review’s board of overseers, an adviser to Tamedia Group in Switzerland, has served as chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on social media, and has served as a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board. She delivered the Reuters Memorial Lecture in 2014, the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture in 2015, and was the 2016 Humanitas Visiting Professor in Media at the University of Cambridge.

Nora Benavidez is a civil and human rights attorney and a tireless believer in equal rights for all. She works at the intersection of law, tech, and democracy as an ‘urgency incubator’ to elevate interdisciplinary solutions to complex threats facing our democracy. Benavidez serves as Senior Counsel and Director, Digital Justice & Civil Rights at Free Press. She leads the organization’s efforts to protect against digital threats to democracy and to push for media and platform accountability in creating a more equitable future for all. Previously, she served as the director of PEN America’s U.S. Free Expression Programs, where she guided the organization’s national advocacy agenda on First Amendment and free expression issues. She managed PEN America’s domestic fight for freedom of speech, the right to protest, robust local news, and its disinformation defense program. She authored two landmark policy reports -- Arresting Dissent and Closing Ranks -- which document recent legislative assaults on the right to protest around the U.S. Previously, Benavidez worked in private practice and at the ACLU of Georgia, litigating significant cases representing victims of voting rights violations, unconstitutional police practices, and other First Amendment infringements.

Bruce D. Brown is the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a former journalist and partner in the Washington office of Baker & Hostetler. Prior to joining the firm, Brown worked as a federal court reporter for Legal Times and as a newsroom assistant to David Broder at the Washington Post. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master’s in English Literature from Harvard University, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Stanford University.

Josh Burday has litigated hundreds of state and federal Freedom of Information Act cases around the country. Among other successes, Josh has forced the release of records about the NSA’s refusal to use a program that would have detected the 9/11 attack preparations; FCC records related to the repeal of net neutrality; Rahm Emanuel’s “private emails” about public business; and all Chicago fatal police-involved shooting videos from 2011-2016. Burday has trained journalists, activists, and citizens on how to use the Freedom of Information Act effectively. He has also litigated many First Amendment, Open Meetings Act, and assorted business litigation cases.

Erwin Chemerinsky is Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law. Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.  Before that, he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. From 1980-1983, he was an assistant professor at DePaul College of Law. He is the author of fourteen books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He is a contributing writer for the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times, and writes regular columns for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal, and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States. In January 2021, he was named President-elect of the Association of American Law Schools.

Thomas A. Clare is a partner at Clare-Locke LLP. He is best known for representing high-profile clients who are targeted in hostile media investigations or the subject of false statements in the press. He has handled defamation matters for Fortune 500 companies and individuals, including CEOs, hedge-fund managers, university presidents, professional athletes and sports teams, celebrities, journalists, and others who find themselves under reputational attack. Prior to founding Clare Locke LLP, Clare was an equity partner at one of the nation’s premier litigation firms and has more than 20 years of experience handling high-stakes commercial litigation matters. He is ranked in the 2020 Chambers USA Guide for nationwide first amendment litigation and for global defamation/reputation management in the Chambers HNW directory. Clare is a Super Lawyer for Business Litigation and Media and Advertising and a BTI Consulting Client-Service All-Star MVP.

Catherine Crump is a Clinical Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law, where she directs the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic. Her advocacy and research focus on the impact of new technologies on civil liberties and the justice system. Crump has litigated cases on behalf of clients in numerous federal district and appellate courts and in the California Supreme Court. She has also testified before Congress, the European Parliament, and various state legislatures and municipal bodies. She appears regularly in the news media, and her TED talk on automatic license plate readers has been viewed nearly 2 million times. Crump’s scholarly agenda examines deployments of surveillance technology on the ground by state and local justice agencies. She seeks to harness the details of how surveillance is governed and deployed to inform broader theoretical debates about surveillance, liberty, and democratic accountability. Her article, “Surveillance Policy Making by Procurement”, appeared in the Washington Law Review. Her article “Tracking the Trackers: An Examination of Electronic Monitoring of Youth in Practice”, was published by the UC Davis Law Review. Prior to joining the Berkeley Law faculty, Crump spent nearly nine years at the American Civil Liberties Union. Before that, she clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

 

Laura K. Donohue is a Professor of Law at Georgetown Law, Director of Georgetown’s Center on National Security and the Law, and Director of the Center on Privacy and Technology. She writes on political theory, public law, constitutional law, federal courts, national security, and legal history. Her work on new and emerging technologies centers on social media, biometric identification, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and drones. Her book The Future of Foreign Intelligence: Privacy and Surveillance in a Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2016) won the 2016 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law/Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Professor Donohue’s articles have been published by the California Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Supreme Court Review, University of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Yale Law Journal Online, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Harvard National Security Journal, and numerous other scholarly journals. In November 2015, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appointed her as one of five amici curiae under the 2015 USA FREEDOM Act. Professor Donohue is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; an Advisory Board Member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center; and Reporter for the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Task Force on Border Searches of Electronic Devices. She has served on the Board of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security and is a Senior Scholar at Georgetown Law’s Center for the Constitution. Donohue obtained her A.B. in Philosophy (with Honors) from Dartmouth College; her M.A. in Peace Studies (with Distinction) from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland; her J.D. (with Distinction) from Stanford Law School; and her PhD in History from the University of Cambridge.

Kathryn Foxhall has reported on federal agencies for more than 40 years, witnessing firsthand the increasing controls on reporting, often through public information officers. Alarmed at the threat posed by these restrictions on important information, she has worked for more than 10 years to rectify the issue with the Society of Professional Journalists, where she is a member of the Freedom of Information Committee, and other groups.

Flavie Fuentes is the Pro Bono Director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She works closely with Microsoft, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and the Reporters Committee to lead and further develop the Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program. Fuentes comes from the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she oversaw the global pro bono service, TrustLaw, in North America and the Caribbean, for three years. There, in addition to managing the brokerage service's core activities, she focused on the Foundation's media freedom related activities and collaborated with key players such as CPJ, Media Defence and UNESCO. Prior to joining the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Fuentes worked in London for Advocates for International Development, a UK charity that empowers lawyers to eradicate poverty, as the Deputy Head of Partnerships and Legal Services. Fuentes also gained experience in Geneva where she worked for International Social Service, a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of children’s rights in the context of international adoption. She co-authored and published a study on child trafficking in the realm of international adoption. Before that, she worked as an immigration and family lawyer in France. Fuentes is a dual-qualified lawyer in France and England & Wales with an academic background in international human rights. She speaks French, English and Spanish.

Adam Goldman reports on the F.B.I. for the New York Times and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for national reporting on Russia’s meddling in the presidential election. Previously, he covered national security for the Washington Post and worked on the investigative team at The Associated Press, where he and his colleagues revealed the New York Police Department’s Muslim spying programs. Their reporting on the department won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Adam is the coauthor of Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden's Final Plot Against America (Atria, 2014).

Samantha Hamilton is Senior Legal Fellow with the First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law. She supervises the Clinic’s Media Law & Open Government Project, which is dedicated to helping Georgia residents hold their public officials accountable through Georgia’s Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act. The Media Law & Open Government Project has helped facilitate transparency into local government in Georgia through urging for live streaming of city council meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as assisting journalists to obtain information subject to disclosure under Georgia sunshine laws. Hamilton is a 2020 graduate of the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

Gautam Hans is Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic at Vanderbilt Law School. Hans’ scholarship addresses current issues in First Amendment doctrine, with a focus on digital platforms and new technologies. He also studies the dynamics of clinical education within legal academia. A frequent media commenter on privacy, free speech and surveillance, Hans regularly speaks at conferences and symposia on topics relating to civil liberties, clinical legal education, and technology law and policy. He currently serves as a board member of the Clinical Legal Education Association and the Center for Study of Applied Legal Education; as an adviser to for the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment; and as a non-resident fellow for the Center for Democracy and Technology. Hans worked at CDT for four years prior to teaching, focusing on privacy, free speech, and surveillance law and policy. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty, Hans was a clinical teaching fellow at the University of Michigan Law School. He earned his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School; his M.S. in information policy from the University of Michigan School of Information; and his B.A. in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. While in graduate school, Hans was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review and served as a student-attorney in the Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic.

Jameel Jaffer is the Executive Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which defends the freedoms of speech and the press through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Until August 2016, Jaffer served as deputy legal director at the ACLU, where he oversaw the organization’s work on free speech, privacy, technology, national security, and international human rights, and litigated many significant post-9/11 cases involving human rights and national security. Jaffer’s recent writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the Yale Law Journal Forum. He is an executive editor of Just Security, the national security blog, and his most recent book, The Drone Memos, was one of the Guardian’s “Best Books of 2016.” He is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He served as a law clerk to Hon. Amalya L. Kearse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then to Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada. He currently serves on the board of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, on the advisory board of First Look Media’s Press Freedom Litigation Fund, on the advisory board for the Center for Democracy and Technology, and on the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder.

RonNell Andersen Jones is the Lee E. Teitelbaum Chair and Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and an Affiliated Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Professor Jones is a First Amendment scholar who teaches, researches and writes on legal issues affecting the press and on the intersection between media and the courts, with a particular emphasis on the United States Supreme Court. Her scholarship addresses issues of press access and transparency and the role of the press as a check on government. She is also a widely cited national expert on reporter’s privilege and newsgathering rights and a regular speaker on emerging areas of social media law. Her scholarly work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Michigan Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, UCLA Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review Forum. She is also a regular public commentator on press freedom issues. Her op-eds have been published in several major news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, and her research has been quoted in Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other national publications. Professor Jones graduated first in her law school class and clerked for the Honorable William A. Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court. Prior to entering academia, she was an attorney in the Issues & Appeals section of Jones Day, where her work focused on Supreme Court litigation and included major constitutional cases.

Michael Karanicolas is the Executive Director of the UCLA Institute for Technology Law & Policy, and an affiliated fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. He was previously the Wikimedia Fellow at Yale Law, where he led the Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. Michael also has ten years of experience in civil society, working on projects connected to freedom of expression, transparency, and digital rights. In this capacity, he led law reform campaigns across the developing world, and he was more recently involved in a constitutional challenge which struck down Canada’s criminal prohibition targeting “fake news”. His scholarly research encompasses a number of thematic areas, but generally revolves around the application of human rights standards in an online context. Michael has a B.A. (Hons.) from Queen's University (Dean's List), an LL.B. from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University (Dean's List), and an LL.M. from the University of Toronto.

 

Jasjot Kaur is the Project Coordinator for IfRFA - the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Before joining IfRFA, they worked as the Enrollment Data Manager at Urban College of Boston, a two year school that focuses on education to those in the urban community traditionally under served by higher ed.

Jane E. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and directs the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. Kirtley is also an affiliated faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School, and has held visiting professorships at Suffolk University and Notre Dame Law schools. She was a Fulbright Scholar teaching U.S. media law and media ethics at the University of Latvia’s Law Faculty in Riga during Spring 2016. Kirtley has written friend-of-the-court briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as two books, many book chapters, and articles for scholarly journals and for the popular and professional press, including the New York TimesThe Conversation, and the Guardian. Kirtley served as Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for 14 years. Before that, she practiced law in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and was a reporter for newspapers in Indiana and Tennessee. She was a Pulitzer Prize juror in 2015, and is a long-time member of the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation. Kirtley’s J.D. is from Vanderbilt University Law School, and her Bachelor and Master of Journalism degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Heidi Kitrosser is the Robins Kaplan professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is currently a visiting professor at Northwestern – Pritzker School of Law and will join the Northwestern faculty as a tenured professor in fall 2022. Kitrosser is an expert on the constitutional law of federal government secrecy and on separation of powers and free speech law more broadly. She has written, spoken, and consulted widely on these topics. Her book, Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution (U Chicago Press, 2015) was awarded the 2014 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law / Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Kitrosser’s articles have appeared in many venues, including Supreme Court ReviewGeorgetown Law JournalUCLA Law ReviewMinnesota Law Review, and Constitutional Commentary. In 2017, she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. Kitrosser is on the steering committee of the Free Expression Legal Network (FELN), a new network of law school clinics, academics, and practitioners spearheaded by Yale’s Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic and the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, which seeks to promote and protect free speech, free press, and the flow of information.  

Meenakshi Krishnan is an associate in the media law practice at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where she counsels and defends journalists, media companies, and nonprofits in a wide range of content-related matters, including First Amendment, defamation, FOIA, copyright, and reporters’ shield law issues. She also provides pre-publication review for media and nonprofit clients, including The Markup, The Atlantic, Pew, and Vice. Prior to joining DWT, she worked as a 2019-20 legal fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute and clerked for the Hon. James A. Wynn Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was a Student Director of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic and an Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal. A Fulbright scholar, Krishnan received her B.A. in History and Political Science from Wake Forest University and her M.Phil. in International Relations and Politics from the University of Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in Yale Law Journal Forum and Just Security, and she is an advisory board member of the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment.

Margaret Kwoka is the Lawrence Herman Professor in Law at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  Prior to joining the Moritz faculty, she was a Professor of Law and Director of the Information Transparency Project at the University of Denver.  Professor Kwoka’s research interests center on government secrecy, the Freedom of Information Act, procedural justice, and judicial review of agency actions. Her articles have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Duke Law Journal, Boston University Law Review, UC Davis Law Review, and Florida State Law Review, among others. Her forthcoming book, Saving the Freedom of Information Act, will be published by Cambridge University Press. She has testified before Congress on government transparency, served on the Federal FOIA Advisory Committee at the National Archives and Records Administration, and won various awards for her teaching, her pro bono litigation, and also for her scholarship, including most recently the Harry J. Kalvin Prize for Empirical Scholarship from the Law and Society Association. Prior to joining the academy, she clerked for Judge Michael Murphy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza, Massachusetts Appeals Court. She also practiced as an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C., where she focused on government transparency litigation in federal court. Professor Kwoka is a graduate of Brown University and Northeastern University School of Law and a former education volunteer with Peace Corps in Burkina Faso.

John Langford is a counsel who focuses primarily on issues related to the First Amendment, newsgathering, free expression, and disinformation at Protect Democracy. Before joining Protect Democracy, Langford was a Clinical Lecturer in Law, Associate Research Scholar, and the Floyd Abrams Fellow and Staff Attorney for the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School. He previously clerked for the Honorable Robin S. Rosenbaum on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and worked as a litigation associate at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Langford received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

 

Gregg Leslie is the executive director of the First Amendment Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and is also a professor of practice at ASU’s Walter Kronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He was previously a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit association that provides legal assistance to journalists, and served as the organization’s legal defense director for 17 years. Leslie serves on the governing committee of the Communications Law Forum of the American Bar Association, and was a member of the ABA's Fair Trial and Free Press Task Force in 2011. He also served as chairman of the D.C. Bar’s Media Law Committee and Arts, Entertainment, Media & Sports Law Section, and taught media law in Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Journalism program.

During a career that spanned more than four decades, Lee Levine represented media clients in libel, invasion of privacy, reporter's privilege, access, copyright, and related First Amendment litigation, most recently as Senior Counsel at Ballard Spahr. In the U.S. Supreme Court, he argued for the media defendants in Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc. v. Connaughton and Bartnicki v. Vopper. Levine also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center for 25 years. He was the lead author of the treatise Newsgathering and the Law; he co-authored the casebook Media and the Law; and, together with Professor Stephen Wermiel, he co-authored The Progeny: Justice William J. Brennan’s Fight to Preserve the Legacy of New York Times v. Sullivan, published by the American Bar Association Press to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that landmark decision. Levine was one of the founding attorneys of the highly regarded First Amendment boutique law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz in 1997, which merged with Ballard Spahr in October 2017.

Lyrissa Lidsky is Dean and Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law. She is co-reporter on the Restatement of Defamation and Privacy, co-author of a leading Media Law casebook, a First Amendment casebook, and a reference book on press freedom and has published dozens of articles, including her recent work in California Law Review, “Considering the Context of Online Threats.” Her work has been cited by a number of state supreme courts and the highest courts of Canada and Hong Kong. Before becoming dean at Mizzou Law, Lidsky was Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the University of Florida. She also held the Stephen C. O’Connell Chair in Law, and she received a number of teaching awards during her 23-year tenure at UF. Before becoming a law professor, Lidsky served as a clerk for the Honorable Joseph T. Sneed of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Calif. Lidsky received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law with high honors. She was initiated into the Order of the Coif in recognition of her scholastic achievement and served as articles editor of the Texas Law Review. Before law school, she was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University in England, studying medieval legal history and early development of the Common Law. She received her Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in English and political science from Texas A&M University.

Michael Linhorst is a Clinical Lecturer in Law and Abrams Fellow at Yale Law School. He has worked as a Law Clerk to the Honorable D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine and as an associate for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City. Prior to law school, Linhorst was a journalist covering New Jersey state government for the Bergen Record. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. from Cornell University.

Frank LoMonte is the Director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida. Previously, he was the executive director of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) in Washington, D.C. since 2008. Before joining the SPLC, LoMonte practiced law with Sutherland Asbill and Brennan LLP in Atlanta and clerked for federal judges on the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Prior to embarking on his legal career, he was an investigative journalist and political columnist. He was the capitol correspondent for the Florida Times Union (Jacksonville), Washington correspondent for Morris News Service and the Atlanta bureau chief for Morris. He was the Otis Brumby Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgia Law School in spring-summer 2014 and has been a lecturer since 2015 in the University of Georgia Washington Program, teaching a course for undergraduates on “Law of Social Media.” LoMonte received his B.A. from Georgia State University in 1994 and his J.D., from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2000 magna cum laude. His work on behalf of open government and journalists’ rights has been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor” and the National Press Photographers’ Association First Amendment Award. The College Media Association offers an annual award in his name to honor special distinction in ethical journalism.

 

Jonathan Manes leads the MacArthur Justice Center’s work on voting rights at Northwestern University. He also litigates civil rights and government transparency cases challenging police practices, novel technologies, and national security policies. Over more than a decade of practice and teaching, Manes has worked to hold government accountable and defend the rights of immigrants, prisoners, victims of police abuse, and investigative journalists. Before coming to the MacArthur Justice Center, Manes was the founder and faculty director of the Civil Liberties & Transparency Clinic at the University at Buffalo. He previously worked as a supervising attorney at Yale Law School’s Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic representing journalists and non-profits in First Amendment and transparency lawsuits. Earlier in his career, as a Gibbons Fellow, he won an important appellate victory establishing the First Amendment right to record police officers on the streets, and he developed successful litigation challenging the discriminatory surveillance of Muslim communities by the NYPD. He began his legal career as a fellow in the ACLU’s National Security Project. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Law Journal, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, and Yale Law Journal Forum. Manes is a board member of the New York Civil Liberties Union and serves on the steering committee of the Free Expression Legal Network. He clerked for Justice Morris J. Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada. He graduated from Yale Law School, the London School of Economics (M.Sc. Philosophy of the Social Sciences), and Columbia University (B.A. Biochemistry; Philosophy of Science).

Adam A. Marshall is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. His work at RCFP includes federal and state public records litigation, writing amicus briefs, and training journalists. Marshall has been named a Forbes "30 Under 30" in Media for his work on promoting government transparency, including the development of the FOIA Wiki. His writings include a chapter on the federal Freedom of Information Act in Troubling Transparency (Columbia University Press, 2018), and a chapter on public records in COVID-19: The Legal Challenges (Carolina Academic Press, 2020). Marshall has a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. You can find his FOIA musings on Twitter at @a_marshall_plan.

Toby Mendel is the Executive Director and founder of the Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian-based international human rights NGO that provides legal and capacity building expertise regarding foundational rights for democracy. Previously, Mendel was for over 12 years Senior Director for Law at ARTICLE 19, a human rights NGO focusing on freedom of expression and the right to information. He has provided expertise on these rights to a wide range of actors including the World Bank, various UN and other intergovernmental bodies, and numerous governments and NGOs in countries all over the world. In these various roles, he has often played a leading role in drafting legislation in the areas of the right to information and media regulation. Before joining ARTICLE 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). He has published extensively on a range of freedom of expression, right to information, communication rights and refugee issues, including comparative legal and analytical studies on public service broadcasting, the right to information and broadcast policy. Mendel has an Honours B.A. in mathematics from McGill University and an L.L.B. from Dalhousie University.

Colleen M. Murphy is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. She has held that position since 2005. Murphy is a frequent speaker at national, state and provincial programs on government transparency, information policy, electronic information issues, privacy and data protection, the First Amendment and administrative law. She has also acted as a consultant to leaders from numerous countries and states in the U.S. Murphy currently serves as a Director of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, Inc., Board Member of the National Freedom of Information Commission, member of the Administrative Law and Media and the Law Sections of the Connecticut Bar Association and as a Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellow.  She is also a former Steering Committee member for the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws. Murphy has co-authored articles on access to the information superhighway, open and accountable government, the legacy of Watergate and Freedom of Information at middle age. She has also taught courses on privacy law at the University of Connecticut and on Comparative Freedom of Information Law at the University of Connecticut Law School. Murphy is a graduate of Providence College and the Boston College Law School.

Erin Murphy is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Her practice focuses on Supreme Court, appellate, and constitutional litigation. She has argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including successfully arguing McCutcheon v. FEC; successfully arguing on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas v. United States; and successfully arguing on behalf of the Wisconsin State Legislature in Gill v. Whitford. Erin has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers” and “Litigation Trailblazer”; has been ranked by Chambers & Partners as one of the nation’s top appellate lawyers; and has been named a “Rising Star” by numerous publications. Erin’s work before the Supreme Court has included briefing such high-profile and high-impact cases as PennEast v. New Jersey, TransUnion v. Ramirez, Maine Community Health Options v. United States, Bond v. United States, and NFIB v. Sebelius. She also has a robust practice before the U.S. Courts of Appeals, where she has argued before most of the circuits on several important statutory and constitutional questions, including the scope of the First and Second Amendments, the Takings Clause, the Federal Power Act, and the National Labor Relations Act. Her extensive appellate experience spans a wide range of topics and has included several cases dealing with energy law, labor law, bankruptcy law, the Affordable Care Act, and property rights. Erin is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, has served as the co-chair of programming for the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, and frequently speaks on topics relating to the Supreme Court and appellate advocacy. She has appeared on national television to discuss the Supreme Court and has been featured in several publications.

Heather E. Murray is the Managing Attorney of the Local Journalism Project at the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic. In addition to co-teaching the Clinic, she provides pro bono legal advice to journalists and represents them in seeking access to public records and court proceedings and in defending First Amendment and newsgathering rights. She previously was a litigation associate in the New York City offices of two international law firms. While there, she co-founded a housing clinic aiming to keep low-income women from being evicted and represented pro bono clients seeking asylum. She is a recipient of the Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award from the Burton Foundation. Prior to her legal career, she worked as a local journalist for newspapers in Westchester and New York City. She serves as the chair of the board of directors of Queens and Brooklyn child welfare agency Forestdale, Inc.

Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post covering cybersecurity and intelligence issues. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for coverage of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, transition team and eventual administration. She was part of another team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2014 for reporting on the hidden scope of government surveillance and its policy implications. Nakashima has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She has a bachelors’ degree in humanities from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of London. She joined The Post in 1995.

Mickey Osterreicher is of counsel to Finnerty Osterreicher & Abdulla and serves as general counsel to the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). He is an award-winning visual journalist with over fifty years’ experience in print and broadcast and has been a uniformed reserve deputy sheriff with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) since 1976. His work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and USA Today as well as on ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News and ESPN. He has been actively involved in matters such as cameras in the courtroom, the federal shield law, media access, public photography, use of drones for newsgathering and copyright infringement. He writes regularly for the Media Law Resource Center and NPPA's magazine as well as other online publications and has been quoted in the news nationally on these issues. Osterreicher was a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Public Recording of Police advisory committee and helped draft the manuals and provide training on this issue. He has also presented similar programs and training to journalists and law enforcement agencies throughout the country for over a decade. He has been an adjunct lecturer in Photojournalism at SUNY at Buffalo and an adjunct law professor in media and the law at the University at Buffalo Law School. The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) honored him in 2015 as a “Fellow of the Society,” the highest professional honor given by the Society for extraordinary contribution to the profession. In 2017 he was named Reserve Deputy of the Year by the ECSO and Erie County Deputy Sheriff’s Badge and Shield Club. He was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2021. Osterreicher graduated cum laude in 1973 from SUNY at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Photojournalism/Photography and received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1998. He is admitted to practice in New York State and several federal jurisdictions around the country including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Celine Rohr is a third-year student at New York University School of Law. As a student attorney in NYU's Technology Law & Policy Clinic, she focused on issues including open science policy, FOIA, corporate surveillance and digital privacy, and rights of public access. She has served as a legal intern with the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and as a law clerk at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Before law school, Rohr worked as a producer for the Charlie Rose Show and on a forthcoming HBO documentary series about disruptive technologies. She received her Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Schwartz is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He advocates against surveillance and censorship in courts and legislatures. Before joining EFF, Schwartz worked as a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Schwartz graduated in 1995 from the Howard University School of Law.

 

Susan Seager is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law's Intellectual Property, Arts and Technology Clinic.  Seager supervises law students in the Press Freedom and Transparency practice as they provide free legal services to independent journalists, press advocacy groups, and documentary filmmakers throughout California.  Susan is a veteran media defense litigator, working as an associate at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles from 1999-2007 and Fox Entertainment from 2007 to 2016, defending journalists from lawsuits and unsealing court records and government documents. She returned to Davis Wright part-time in late 2018. Seager is a former journalist and author of the 2016 article “Donald J. Trump Is a Libel Bully But Also a Libel Loser" detailing Trump's history of suing the press and critics before his election as president. She was awarded the Freedom of Information Award in 2004 by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. She earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1999.

Stephen Stich is a Clinical Lecturer in Law, Associate Research Scholar in Law, and Local Journalism Fellow at the Yale Law School Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic. He has worked as an associate at a law firm and a law clerk for Justice Peter Rubin of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School (where he was a member of the MFIA Clinic), an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Arizona, and a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Toronto.

Vanessa del Valle is Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University and part of the MacArthur Justice Center. Previously, she served for two years as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Rubén Castillo in the Northern District of Illinois. Her work focuses on enforcing the civil rights of victims of police misconduct and prisoners in Illinois correctional facilities. She has also litigated suits to address issues facing immigrant communities. In 2013, del Valle received a law degree from Stanford Law School where her experience included serving as managing editor for training at the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and representing clients as a certified law student at the Stanford Community Law Clinic and the Stanford Criminal Defense Clinic. She also was a board member of the Stanford Latino Law Students Association. She majored in political science at Yale University where she received a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in 2010.

 

Stephen I. Vladeck holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law and is a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, and military justice. Professor Vladeck has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, and lower federal civilian and military courts; has served as an expert witness both in U.S. state and federal courts and in foreign tribunals; and has received numerous awards for his influential and widely-cited legal scholarship, his prolific popular writing, his teaching, and his service to the legal profession. Vladeck is the co-host, together with Professor Bobby Chesney, of the popular and award-winning “National Security Law Podcast.” He is CNN’s Supreme Court analyst and a co-author of Aspen Publishers’ leading national security law and counterterrorism law casebooks. And he is an executive editor of the Just Security blog and a senior editor of the Lawfare blog. Previously, Vladeck taught at the University of Miami School of Law and American University Washington College of Law. He is an elected member of the University of Texas Faculty Council; an elected member of the American Law Institute; a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law; and a senior editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of National Security Law and Policy. A 2004 graduate of Yale Law School, Vladeck clerked for the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Rosemary Barkett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While a law student, he was Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal and the Student Director of the Balancing Civil Liberties & National Security Post-9/11 Litigation Project, and he was awarded the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for Outstanding Moot Court Oralist and shared the Potter Stewart Prize for Best Team Performance in Moot Court. He earned a B.A. summa cum laude with Highest Distinction in History and Mathematics from Amherst College in 2001.

Andrew Weissmann is a Professor of Practice at NYU School of Law. He served as a lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office and as Chief of the Fraud Section in the Department of Justice. During his previous tenure at NYU Law, Weissmann was a Senior Fellow at both the Reiss Center on Law and Security and the Center for the Administration of Criminal Law. He taught courses in national security and criminal procedure. From 2011 to 2013, Weissmann served as the General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He previously served as special counsel to then-Director Mueller in 2005, a partner at Jenner & Block in New York, and Director of the Enron Task Force in Washington, D.C., where he supervised the prosecution of more than 30 individuals in connection with the company’s collapse. Weissmann was a federal prosecutor for 15 years in the Eastern District of New York, where he served as the Chief of the Criminal Division. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School and was on the managing board of the Columbia Law Review. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and attended the University of Geneva on a Fulbright Fellowship.

Benjamin Whittle has worked on a number of projects in the Press Freedom and Transparency practice of UCI Law's Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology clinic since the fall of 2020. Born and raised in the Florida panhandle, he received his Bachelors of Science degrees in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Florida in 2017. After spending a year at Ernst and Young, he began pursuing his J.D. as part of the University of California, Irvine School of Law's 2022 class.