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Getting Facts from Third Parties: FOIA and Other Avenues

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: March 02, 2021
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  • Methods of Obtaining Relevant Third Party Information
  • An Overview of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)
  • The Government's Perspective
  • Conclusion
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Recorded: March 2, 2021


Fact development is foundational to client representation –both for assessing the merits of the case and in persuading the fact-finder. This panel will look at methods for attaining documents invaluable to tax practitioners prior to bringing a tax court case. The panelists will discuss how to get information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as well as obtaining bank account statements, health records, and other documents important in low-income tax representation.

This program was recorded on March 2nd, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Teresa Dondlinger Trissell

Senior Technical Reviewer
IRS, Office of Chief Counsel

Teresa Dondlinger Trissell is a Senior Technical Reviewer for the Office of Counsel at the IRS.

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Nick Lawton

Senior Associate
Eubanks & Associates, PLLC

William N. “Nick” Lawton is a Senior Associate at Eubanks & Associates, PLLC. Previously, Nick was an Associate at Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP from 2015-2019. Nick’s legal specialties include advocating for protection of wildlife and natural resources, environmentally sustainable energy production, and government transparency. Nick has won several major victories in federal appellate and trial courts as lead counsel or co-counsel.

Nick received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2013 along with certificates in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Intellectual Property. During law school, Nick served as Form and Style Editor for Animal Law Review for two years. He also gained practical litigation experience through clerkships at the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and Lewis & Clark’s environmental law clinic, Earthrise Law Center. After graduation, he served as an Energy Fellow, earning an LL.M., summa cum laude, in Environmental and Natural Resources Law while also helping to found the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School. At the Green Energy Institute, Nick worked to design and advocate for effective ways to promote distributed renewable energy, particularly rooftop solar power, in an effort to mitigate climate change while avoiding the negative environmental impacts of utility-scale development. Nick’s publications include white papers on reducing the soft costs of distributed solar power and on modernizing building standards to require rooftop solar panels, as well as a law review article that earned a prize from the American Bar Association Public Lands section, Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act: Demanding a Gift of Federal Lands, 16 Vt. J. Env. L. 1 (2014). Before law school, Nick earned a B.A. in English, cum laude, with an emphasis in creative writing from Pomona College. He spent several years as a starving artist before deciding to put his pen to use as a public interest attorney.

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Elizabeth Maresca

Clinical Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law

Professor Elizabeth Maresca is a Clinical Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and Supervising Attorney of the Civil Litigation Clinic. In the Clinic, she supervises law students who provide free legal services to low income clients in tax controversies, debt collection, auto fraud, FRCA and FDCPA cases. Professor Maresca has also taught Income Taxation and Lawyering Skills.

Professor Maresca specializes in federal tax controversy, litigation against the IRS and consumer law. A regular presenter on topics including identity theft, innocent spouse relief and cancellation of debt issues. Prof. Maresca is also published in the areas of Ethics in Tax Practice and Tax Interest and Penalties. A graduate of Fordham University, Professor Maresca received her LLM in Taxation and her JD from NYU School of Law in 1997 and 1991, respectively.

Before joining the faculty in 2000, Professor Maresca spent three years working in the tax controversy departments of private sector firms. She also spent over six years as a Trial Attorney for the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel. While there, she represented the IRS Commissioner in cases before the United States Tax Court, including several landmark cases, such as Federal National Mortgage Association v. Commissioner and United Parcel Service v. Commissioner.

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Janice Shih

Director, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service

Janice Shih is the Director of the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service.

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