Public Access Opinion 15-010

Information concerning outside counsel

Freedom of Information Act - FOIA
Case: Public Access Opinion 15-010
Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The public body received a FOIA request for lists of outside counsel, including the agencies represented and a description of their work. The lists provided by the public body are not exempt by section 7(1)(m) of FOIA. The lists contain only general information about the legal services provided for the public body. The lists do not contain litigation plans, mental impressions, legal advice, or legal theories. Additionally, rates paid to outside counsel are subject to disclosure because the records pertain to the use of public funds by the State.

Compiling information already in the public body’s possession into a different format in order to respond to a FOIA request does not constitute the creation of a new record.

This opinion is binding only to the parties involved and may be appealed pursuant to State law.

Shanell M. Bowden, IASB Law Clerk