Thursday, September 10, 2020

Meet MFIA’s New Student Directors

The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) at Yale Law School welcomes its new student directors for the upcoming academic year: Anna Kaul ’21, Jacob Schriner-Briggs ’21, and Sarah Lamsifer ’21. All three bring many semesters of experience with the Clinic to the table and are excited to help further MFIA’s work on government accountability, transparency, and protecting freedom of expression and the rights of journalists.

“MFIA has been the most exciting, thought-provoking, and rewarding part of my law school experience,” said Kaul, who wants to practice media law and credits the Clinic for helping to shape that passion.

Kaul explained that throughout her time with the Clinic, she’s had the opportunity to work on challenging cases that grapple with the current media law landscape — which she can’t wait to continue, particularly as a student with an interest in media law and the First Amendment.

But you don’t have to know which field of law you’re most interested in to succeed with the Clinic. Lamsifer began the Clinic as a 1L on a whim and “fell in love with the work,” she said.

“The MFIA clinic has been a defining part of my law school experience and has taught me innumerable lessons about the real-world practice of law,” said Lamsifer, who praised the Clinic for providing students with hands-on experience in litigation and advocacy so early on in their legal education.

“We’re constantly in active litigation on a rocket docket and students are actively involved in strategizing, drafting motions, and leading calls with local and opposing counsel,” she said.

Lamsifer described the public access and transparency work that the Clinic pursues as contributing to the core values of democracy.

Schriner-Briggs agreed.

“Good journalism is vital for holding power to account,” he said. “Watching journalists getting attacked and arrested by police officers during this summer’s protests brought that home for me in a visceral way. Protecting news gathering rights and democratizing information are important tools for helping correct injustices. That the MFIA Clinic is able to contribute to those endeavors is important, and I’m lucky to play even a small role in that work.”

Schriner-Briggs also credited the Clinic for making him a better law student.

“The dynamic issues we work on demand creative and critical thinking,” he said, “and the Clinic’s wonderful mentors have helped me hone those skills. I came into law school with no real understanding of what lawyers did. Now, thanks to MFIA, I’ve even worked on a Supreme Court amicus brief — all before my 3L year.”

By Leah Ferentinos