Every day in Hawaii journalists and citizens battle the red tape of government bureaucracy when it comes to public information requests. Government agencies may ignore legitimate inquiries, stall them for months, or charge high fees to gather information. The only real recourse is to go to court to force the issue, but the expense of legal action is very often a deal breaker and agencies get let off the hook.
Introducing the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest
Offering free legal advice, and representation on a select basis, to members of the media and the public who need help with issues involving government transparency;
Providing guidance to non-profit organizations who find themselves in public-interest situations too big for them to address on their own;
Forging solutions that promote transparency and responsiveness in government to better serve the people of Hawaii;
Advancing the public’s rights by investigating questionable government activity, advocating for corrective action, and, if needed, enforcing corrective measures in the courts.
The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest is an independent organization created with funding from Pierre Omidyar, who is also publisher and CEO of Honolulu Civil Beat.

As Executive Director, Brian seeks to enhance the public dialogue between government and the community through a better informed citizenry.

Instilled with a strong community service ethic at Punahou School, Brian led the Civil Liberties Union at Harvard University, specialized in Public Law at Cornell University, clerked for a federal district court in Connecticut, and served as the inaugural fellow for the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at New York University. When he returned to Hawaii in 2011 after almost a decade in private practice as a complex commercial litigator with Hogan Lovells in New York, he was motivated by a sense of civic duty to serve the local community. Brian joined the Department of the Corporation Counsel for the City and County of Honolulu, assigned primarily to advise the Department of Environmental Services. Building on that experience, Brian uses innovative advocacy and a spirit of healthy government collaboration to further the Law Center’s mission.

Have questions about public records, open meetings, or other government transparency issues? Contact the Law Center at 808-531-4000 or info@civilbeatlawcenter.org.