This Paralegal 3 position is located in our client’s Information Governance (CGI) organization within Agency Compliance & Governance (CG). This position supports the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program, verifying the timely processing and release of FOIA requests. This position handles sensitive information and requires confidentiality, tact, and a professional demeanor.
With oversight and approval of the Lead Case Officer and FOIA Officer:
Coordinate, collaborate on, draft, and review all FOIA correspondence and requests to validate that the completion and processing of such requests adhere to FOIA legal statutes, regulations, and policy.
Perform Case Coordinator role in assigned FOIA requests, organizing and managing records or files using software to gather information and materials needed to respond to public requests.
Create and maintain a tracking system for monitoring assigned FOIA requests and statutory deadlines, providing regular status reports to Lead Case Officer, FOIA Officer and FOIA attorneys.
Perform research and analysis required to gather information necessary to draft responses to FOIA inquiries and requests.
Facilitate consults with and transfers from other federal entities. Establish contact with local federal personnel at other agencies to obtain documents or coordinate searches and document productions concerning the processing of FOIA requests.
Gather, sort, and compile comparative data for fee calculations.
Learn new FOIA processing software and assist the FOIA Program staff with IT needs as they pertain to said software and tools.
Evaluate Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) document productions; confirm either completeness or identify deficiencies or areas of weakness in the materials produced. Collect data and other information to help create further transparency to the extent necessary.
Execute a comprehensive plan to follow up with SMEs in the event the materials provided for the FOIA response to the Program Office are incomplete.
Adhere to established policy when handling, distributing and storing records. Maintain filing system(s), files, emails and records in accordance with compliance requirements. File and disperse documents/letters to appropriate personnel. Validate that official records are accurately maintained for auditing purposes.
May appear in an administrative proceeding in the event a FOIA response is appealed so as to confirm sufficiency of search and provide detailed analysis and description of what exemptions, if any were involved in the process of the original FOIA request.
Evaluate respondent’s position to identify deficiencies or areas of weakness. Collect data and other information to counter, rebut or respond to respondent’s position.
Provide technical guidance to managers on the FOIA program. Review organization FOIA practices to identify any methods that are outside the parameters of current regulation and policy. To the extent FOIA practice requires realignment; engage in research and analysis, providing technical expertise to verify FOIA practices and methods are within current regulation and policy.
Verify that all policies, guidelines and directives are current and, to the extent revisions are needed, provide input so as to confirm realignment is timely and appropriate.
Compile expert legal and analytical support and advice to the FOIA Program in assessing the legal implications of legislative or administrative developments, and administrative or judicial decisions related to FOIA laws and policies.
Assist Management with coordinating and implementing FOIA programs with higher organizational levels and prepare required and requested reports and information in accordance with established program policies and procedures as documented in the Program Deskbook. This includes daily reports on open FOIA requests, weekly reports and other information productions as necessary. These reports and the input to them will be provided through SharePoint and the LH, eD systems of project management.
Advise management and staff on Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) Sections 5701, 5702, 5705 and 7332, FOIA and, where appropriate, HIPAA requirements, policies, and procedures and verify that facility managers and staff understand their responsibilities concerning compliance with FOIA and document production as required. To the extent facility managers and staff are not in compliance, the manager will be provided consultation based upon research and analysis of legal requirements.
A Bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies or equivalent training such as a certification in paralegal-related studies is required. A Law degree is preferred.
With an applicable degree or certification, 9 years of experience is required.
Experience must include: researching, analyzing, and responding to legal or policy questions; preparing formal correspondence that articulates sensitive information; understanding, interpreting, and relaying laws, regulations, and policy; and serving as a point of contact for complex technical information requests and questions that involve legal and policy interpretation.
Required Technical Skills
3 years of FOIA or state public information disclosure work experience.
Must have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of:
Title 38 U.S.C. Sections 5701, 5701, 5705, and 7332
The Privacy Act of 1974 (PA) 5 U.S.C. 552a
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 5 U.S.C. 552 legislation; and implementing regulations, Executive Orders, Federal and policies and procedures, case law, and precedent decisions related to information disclosure, security, privacy, and protection in order to manage a facility FOIA/PA program and provide expert advice on the applicability to the facility.
Proficiency with Acrobat Professional software.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite products, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (MS Office 2010 proficiency).
Knowledge of public records principles, state and Federal records disclosure requirements.
Benefits are available to eligible VanderHouwen contractors and include coverage for medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, and matching 401k.
VanderHouwen is an award-winning, Women-Owned, WBENC certified professional staffing firm. Founded in 1987, VanderHouwen has been successfully placing experienced professionals throughout the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. Our recruitment teams are highly specialized in either Technology and IT, Engineering, or Accounting and Finance career markets. Our recruiters value building meaningful, professional relationships with each candidate as well as developing honed knowledge of companies' staffing needs and workplaces. Partner with us to land your next exciting career.
VanderHouwen is an Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify. VanderHouwen does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable local, state or federal civil rights laws.