PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 9, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Terry Mutchler, the first Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, will join Pepper Hamilton LLP, the law firm announced today. Mutchler held a news conference this morning in the Main Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
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A former award-winning journalist, trial lawyer and best-selling author, Mutchler will spearhead a Transparency Practice in Pepper Hamilton's Media and Communications Practice Group. The Transparency Practice is designed to promote open government from a media, government and corporate perspective.
"Terry brings a unique and highly desired skill set to Pepper's robust practice representing journalists and others committed to open government," said senior partner Amy Ginensky, chair of Pepper's Media and Communications Practice.
"Terry's experience creating the Office of Open Records and enforcing the state's Right-to-Know Law will allow us to further promote access to government information. Information contained in government documents is critical to journalists, as well as to many of our clients.
"There is a treasure trove of information that often remains undisclosed. Having one of the nation's foremost experts – and certainly the expert in Pennsylvania – on our team will allow us to serve our clients most effectively and efficiently. We are very excited about Terry joining our group."
In 2008, Mutchler was appointed Pennsylvania's first Executive Director of the Office of Open Records. The Office was created to ensure transparency in government. She also designed working protocols to help agencies and corporations comply with the complex field of transparency law at the national and local level.
"Transparency in government affects more than just citizens and media," Mutchler said. "It affects agencies and corporations, which also have a stake in this growing field of work. Pepper has a sterling reputation and is the clear front runner in First Amendment work. I look forward to joining this outstanding team of lawyers and staff to serve clients looking to navigate or leverage these critical open-government laws."
Mutchler is considered a national expert. She was appointed as Illinois' first Public Access Counselor, enforcing that state's sunshine laws, and a senior advisor to the Attorney General. While at the Office of Open Records, Mutchler testified before Congress, advised state legislators and consulted with journalists, policy makers and even an international pool of judges seeking to duplicate the "Pennsylvania Model" of open government in their jurisdictions.
A sought-after speaker, Mutchler has delivered more than 1,500 speeches and training sessions to government officials, businesses, members of the media and citizens on transparency issues.
Prior to her six-year appointment at the OOR, she worked in the media law group and appellate practice group of a major Chicago law firm. Focused on privacy issues, Mutchler clerked for both the Supreme Court of Illinois and the Executive Office of the President of the United States during the Clinton Administration.
Before becoming an attorney, Mutchler was an investigative reporter for The Associated Press, becoming the first woman to be appointed AP Bureau Chief and Statehouse Correspondent in Springfield, Illinois and also serving as AP Bureau Chief in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Juneau, Alaska. Before that, she was a reporter in Pennsylvania and won several Keystone Awards, Pennsylvania's top honor for reporting.
In November, Mutchler published her first book, Under This Beautiful Dome: A Senator, A Journalist and the Politics of Gay Love in America. For her memoir and her work at OOR, she has been interviewed by a number of national news outlets, including The Rachel Maddow Show, National Public Radio, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters, the AP, Slate, Politico, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mutchler received her B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University and J.D. from the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago. She was a Bohnett Fellow for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
About Pepper Hamilton
Pepper Hamilton LLP is a multi-practice law firm with more than 500 lawyers nationally. The Firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and world. The Firm was founded in 1890.
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Source: Pepper Hamilton