Open Government

Bickerstaff attorneys are widely recognized for their expertise with Texas’ open government laws. We have extensive experience counseling and defending local governmental entities regarding compliance with requirements and procedures under the Open Meetings Act and have counseled numerous local governmental entities on how to respond to requests made under the Texas Public Information Act. Our attorneys have written numerous widely distributed analyses on open meeting and open records law addressing questions about adequacy of notice, bona fide purposes for executive sessions, what constitutes an emergency, and other problems frequently faced by county governments.

Our firm’s open government representation includes the following issues and areas, among others:

  • Open Meetings Act Compliance, including advising local governments on adequacy of notices and agenda postings, legality of closed and emergency meetings, what constitutes a quorum of the governing body, and various technical violations of the Act;
  • Public Information Act Requests, including reviewing and assessing of documents; advising clients on the treatment of homeland security, trade secret, personnel, and other sensitive information; preparing and submitting opinion requests and briefs to the Texas Attorney General’s Office; and representing governmental entities in litigation resulting from Attorney General opinions;
  • Private Entity Representation, including challenging state agency actions, assisting clients with the protection of trade secrets and commercial information from public release, and assisting clients in seeking information held by governmental bodies;
  • Open Government Training, including training newly elected officials and experienced attorneys;
  • Litigation, including defending governments and officials in lawsuits alleging violations of open meetings and open records laws and representing clients in challenges to governmental entities’ decisions either to disclose or to withhold documents.