DHS Releases Course Titles for Its OPLA Training


In response to a FOIA request and lawsuit, the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] has released the “course titles” of 28 segments of its training of lawyers at its Office of the Principal Legal Advisor [OPLA].

The titles include “Expert Witnesses and Preparing DHS Witnesses,” “Litigation Skills,” ”Motions Practice,” and “Research Tools-Databases.” The litigation continues to get the course information released.

Some, but not all, training materials are exempt from disclosure under the “attorney work-product” doctrine. The Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book, a manual to guide prosecutors, is exempt under attorney work-product privilege, according to National Association v. Dep’t of Justice, 844 F.3d 246 (D.C. Cir. 2016]. But, the case was remanded to see if some parts are nonetheless segregable. The Court ruled that in general, “policy manuals” are not work product. Id. at 255.

In Mayer Brown LLC v. IRS, 562 F.3d 1190 (D.C. Cir. 2009), the Court held that a checklist to detect fraud was exempt from disclosure under Exemption (b)(7)(E ) of the Freedom of Information Act; but that a discussion of case law was not. “Where the information is nothing more than garden-variety legal analysis, it does not fall under exemption 7E.”

A list of all 28 titles is below.

OPLA 101 - Course Titles

A Day in the Life: SAUSA, HSI Embed, and HSILD

Appeal Workshop

Asylum and Protection Law

Beyond Your Work Unit: Employment Law

Beyond Your Work Unit: Fiscal/Procurement Law

Bond Hearing Preparation


Enforcement and Removal Operations Law Division

Ethics Training

Expedited Removal and Organizational Structure and Reach

Expert Witnesses and Preparing DHS Witnesses

Federal Litigation

Financial Crimes and FinCEN 101


Human Rights Violator Law Division

Idea Hub: Brainstorming Session

Immigration Benefits and Relief for Crime Victims


Litigation Skills

Mental Competency

Mission Support Division

Motions Practice

National Security Law Division Fundamentals

Privacy and Information Law Overview

Professional Responsibility

Relief in General

Research Tools – Databases

U.S. Citizenship Claims

About The Author

David L. Cleveland,David L. Cleveland is counsel for Louise Trauma Center, LLC, in Washington DC. Contact the Center at louise.trauma.ltc@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.