“Skillful” First Amendment attorney from Iowa is 2017 Inductee to the State Open Government Hall of Fame

Michael Giudicessi, a partner in the Des Moines office of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP was selected as the 2017 inductee into the “Heroes of the 50 States: State Open Government Hall of Fame.”

Each year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists, solicits nominations for First Amendment “heroes” whose deeds, actions and achievements merit designation and induction into this institution.  The intent is to recognize individuals whose lifetime commitment to citizen access, open government and freedom of information has left a significant legacy at the state and local level. 

Mr. Giudicessi was nominated by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. “For most of the Council’s 41-year history, Michael has been an important voice in our efforts driven by his passion for the cause of government transparency,” said Randy Evans, IFIC’s executive director. “Over that time, having the services of one of the most skillful First Amendment lawyers in the Midwest –in the courts, in our training programs, and in the halls of government– have cost the Council exactly zero.”

A University of Missouri School of Journalism graduate and a JD degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, Giudicessi began his legal career as a staff attorney for the Des Moines Register and Tribune, later as general counsel to Palmer Communications. He continues his activism today as a senior partner in Faegre Baker Daniels’ Des Moines office and as counsel to the Iowa FOI Council.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former executive at the Register and Tribune, Michael Gartner said Giudicessi has been a mentor to two generations of news people in Iowa teaching them the importance of the First Amendment. “As a result, Iowa’s newspapers –from the Storm Lake Times to the Register– are led by news people who know the law and fight for it,” said Gartner.

Mr. Giudicessi’s induction will occur at NFOIC’s 2017 Freedom of Information Summit during the Hall of Fame luncheon sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute. The summit takes place October 13-14 in Nashville TN, at the First Amendment Center, Vanderbilt University.

FOI Summit sponsors include: Bloomberg LP (Platinum), Charles Koch Institute (Gold), and Official sponsors: the John S. and James L. Knight FoundationSDX Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists, and Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The summit co-host is the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.