About the Law Center

The Law Center is committed to developing solutions that promote transparency and responsiveness in government. Open government is a cornerstone of democracy and critical to an informed electorate. The Law Center strongly believes that government business should be conducted as openly as possible because secrecy only fuels distrust of public officials. Anyone with questions about access to government information or meetings in Hawaii may contact the Law Center for advice.

Executive Director

R. Brian Black President and Executive Director

R. Brian Black
President and Executive Director

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.

Law Center Fellow

Sarah Goggans is the inaugural Fellow for The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest. She received her B.A. in political science from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California and graduated cum laude while earning her Jurist Doctorate from American University Washington College of Law (WCL), in Washington, D.C. While at WCL, Sarah was the managing-editor for the American University Business Law Review.  Sarah’s experience dealing with government spans into all three branches. During her second year of law school Sarah worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative intern and was a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge John Mott of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. During her third year of law school she worked as a legal intern within the Department of Commerce’s Office of Chief Counsel for International Commerce and as a law clerk for the U.S. Marshals Service Office of Chief Counsel. Sarah was also the Senior Research Assistant for Professor Andrew Popper’s most recent Administrative Law Casebook. During her time here as a Fellow, Sarah hopes to utilize her background to further the Law Center’s mission as an advocate for open government in Hawaii.