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FOIA Training Opportunities, Fiscal Year 2004


The Department of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy, in conjunction with the Department's National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, offers five different training programs on the Freedom of Information Act. The schedule for Fiscal Year 2004 is as follows:

The Freedom of Information Act for Attorneys and Access Professionals

The first two days of this basic training program are designed for attorneys, paralegals, and information officers with limited previous experience under the FOIA who are now or soon will be working extensively with the Act. Workshops on FOIA exemptions emphasize the criteria for making information-disclosure determinations, and procedural issues are addressed as well. The third day of the program deals with the Privacy Act of 1974, addressing such matters as definitions, restrictions on disclosure, requests for record access and amendment, and fair information practices. Attendance on all three days is required for programs conducted in Columbia, South Carolina. For programs conducted in Washington, D.C., the FOIA and Privacy Act sessions may be attended separately.

October 21-23, 2003, Washington, D.C.
November 18-20, 2003, Columbia, S.C.
March 2-4, 2004, Columbia, S.C.
July 20-22, 2004, Washington, D.C.
September 14-16, 2004, Columbia, S.C. cancelled due to unanticipated budget cuts at the National Advocacy Center

Advanced Freedom of Information Act Seminar

This seminar is designed for the principal legal and administrative FOIA officers of all federal agencies and major agency components, or their designees. It provides advanced instruction on selected substantive and procedural topics under the FOIA, including up-to-date policy guidance. It also serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas useful in dealing with problems that commonly arise in administering the Act. The seminar includes sessions on such topics as recent FOIA decisions, selected procedural issues, FOIA from the nongovernment perspective, administrative and litigation considerations, and current policy issues. Registration is limited to no more than 45 attendees, all of whom should have attended the Department of Justice's basic two-day FOIA course.

December 3, 2003, Washington, D.C. rescheduled for December 4, 2003, Washington, D.C.
June 9, 2004, Washington, D.C. rescheduled for July 14, 2004, Washington, D.C.

Freedom of Information Act Administrative Forum

This program is designed for agency FOIA personnel who have several years of experience with the FOIA and are involved in the processing of FOIA requests on a daily basis. It is devoted almost entirely to administrative matters arising under the Act -- such matters as record-retrieval practices, multitrack queue usage, backlog management, affirmative disclosure, and automated record processing. Designed to serve also as a regular forum for the governmentwide exchange of ideas and information on matters of FOIA administration, this program brings veteran FOIA processors from throughout the government together and encourages them to share their experience in administering the Act. The program also includes an overview of recent case law pertaining to the processing of FOIA requests.

December 4, 2003, Washington, D.C. rescheduled for December 3, 2003, Washington, D.C.
June 10, 2004, Washington, D.C. rescheduled for July 15, 2004, Washington, D.C.

Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act

This half-day program provides a basic overview of the FOIA for agency personnel who do not specialize in access law. It is designed for those who either work with the FOIA only occasionally or need only a working familiarity with the FOIA in order to recognize and handle FOIA-related problems that may arise in other areas of agency activity. Topics include resource materials, background and legislative history, disclosure mandates, exemptions to mandatory disclosure, administrative considerations, and the relationship of the FOIA to the Privacy Act of 1974.

November 5, 2003, Washington, D.C.
March 17, 2004, Washington, D.C.
August 4, 2004, Washington, D.C.

FOIA Guide Seminar

This program is designed to provide attorneys and access professionals with an update on recent FOIA decisions and current FOIA policy. It is specifically intended for the access professional who has attended the Department of Justice's basic two-day FOIA course, or has worked extensively with the Act, and seeks a periodic update on FOIA matters. The program is conducted by the co-directors of the Office of Information and Privacy immediately after completion of each new edition of the "Justice Department Guide to the Freedom of Information Act," a special prepublication copy of which is provided to all attendees. The "FOIA Guide" is revised and published on a biennial cycle during the month of May in even-numbered years, and the next seminar is currently anticipated to be held in June 2004. As soon as a firm date is scheduled, it will be made available through FOIA Post, together with enrollment information, so that registration for the program may begin as soon as possible. The Office of Information and Privacy intends to hold this FOIA program at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, which has a capacity that should accommodate all interested attendees.

To find further information about these seminars, including application requirements and enrollment information, go to National Advocacy Center, click on "Courses sorted by topic," and click on "FOIA" or scroll down to "FOIA Programs." For enrollment information, return to the National Advocacy Center's home page and click on "Procedures to attend a course."


Freedom of Information Act training programs are also sponsored by the USDA Graduate School and the American Society of Access Professionals. These links can be used for these programs.

For programs offered by the USDA Graduate School:
1. Click on "Course Catalog."
2. Enter "Freedom" as the keyword/subject. Click on "Submit Search," or choose to limit your search geographically and then click on "Submit Search."

For programs offered by the American Society of Access Professionals, check for any course offering on ASAP's home page by using the above link.   (posted 7/23/03; supplemented 10/30/03 and 3/29/04)

Go to: Main FOIA Post Page// DOJ FOIA Page // DOJ Home Page