Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic

The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) is a law school clinic dedicated to increasing government transparency, defending the essential work of news gatherers, and protecting freedom of expression through impact litigation, direct legal services, and policy work.

MFIA’s mission is to support robust investigative journalism and to promote the public’s right of access to information in the defense of democracy.

The clinic was established in 2009 by a group of Yale Law School students and, since then, has provided pro bono representation to clients on a diverse array of matters touching on issues of transparency, free speech, and press freedom.  Our clients include independent journalists, news organizations, public interest and advocacy organizations, activists, researchers, and others.  Our practice is focused in the state and federal courts of Connecticut and New York, although the clinic has represented clients in many other parts of the country as well.  

MFIA’s docket of cases remains diverse, but currently has a significant focus on the following four areas:

Government Operations and Transparency: Litigating rights of access to information that improves public understanding of government operations, including law enforcement activities, that promotes affirmative disclosure practices, or that enforces procedures intended to speed the release of information.

Constitutional Right of Access:  Advocating for the First Amendment right of public access to official proceedings, official actions, and related records, including criminal, civil and administrative proceedings.

National Security and Democratic Oversight: Asserting statutory and constitutional rights of access to information and proceedings key to exercising democratic oversight of our nation’s security policies and actions.

Privacy, Infrastructure Freedom, and Free Speech: Litigating issues surrounding privacy, surveillance, access to and control over communications infrastructure, and the legal obligations of intermediaries. 

The clinic is co-taught by Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment; David Schulz, Abrams Visiting Clinical Lecturer at Yale Law School and Partner at Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP; and Jonathan Manes, Abrams Clinical Fellow and Clinical Lecturer in Law.  Schulz and Manes serve as supervising attorneys on the clinic’s cases. 

MFIA is part of the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression, which is affiliated with and administered by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

Individuals or organizations interested in potential representation by the clinic should review the information on the contact page.