- A paralegal specialist working for the FTC may work in the Office of the General Counsel, the Bureau of Competition or the Bureau of Consumer Affairs.Legal Law Justice image by Stacey Alexander from Fotolia.com
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is comprised of the Bureaus of Consumer Protection, Competition and Economics, the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and seven regional offices. It has investigative and law enforcement authority over "the organization, business, conduct, practices, and management of any person, partnership, or corporation engaged in or whose business affects commerce," with certain exceptions.
OGC: Freedom of Information Act Duties
- The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires disclosure of records or information under the custody and control of federal agencies to the members of the public upon written request, with nine specific exemptions defined by statute. The FTC's FOIA section is part of the Office of the General Counsel. The FTC FOIA section was staffed by two attorneys and 10 paralegals, including a Lead Paralegal Specialist, as of March 1, 2010. As part of their duties, all FOIA section paralegals are required to attend a three-day FOIA training program. They are also provided in-house training on FOIA procedures and policies.
FOIA section paralegals work with attorneys and commissioners throughout the agency to prepare official responses to FOIA requests and other requests for agency information. Each FOIA section paralegal handles his own caseload, researches relevant statutes, evaluates agency records, applies relevant exemptions and prepares memoranda specifying his response. In addition, the FOIA section Lead Paralegal Specialist is the named contact person in each Freedom of Information Act Annual Report.
OGC: Congressional Relations
- A paralegal in the FTC Office of the General Counsel may also have multiple duties related to interaction with the United States Congress. This includes analyzing and monitoring pending bills that concern the FTC's Bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection, reporting on Congressional hearings, and assisting with Congressional correspondence, briefings and testimony.
OGC: Other Duties
- Paralegals in the FTC Office of the General Counsel may also work on antitrust violations, consumer protection issues and employment issues. They may also work on other civil litigation matters, including appellate civil litigation practices.
Bureau of Competition
- Paralegals in the FTC Bureau of Competition work on merger and anticompetitive-practice cases in a variety of industries. They conduct market research; meet with and interview industry members; prepare reports; analyze document submissions; prepare exhibits; assist attorneys in the courtroom; and draft affidavits, memoranda and findings of fact. In the FTC Fiscal Year 2010 Performance Plan, the stated goals involved increased utilization and training of the Bureau's paralegals, "especially with regards to document intensive searches that have become more dependent on advanced technological applications."
Bureau of Consumer Protection
- Paralegals in the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection work on investigations into deceptive or unfair trade practices, review consumer complaints, interview prospective witnesses, evaluate fraudulent trends and perform online research. They may also assist in litigation preparation and analyze financial data.