First Amendment Litigation - Nationwide
Floyd Abrams is revered by his peers and considered by many as “the godfather of the media Bar.” He is unquestionably regarded as a “star” in this space and described as “the best First Amendment lawyer in the USA." He has been busy with a variety of cases, including numerous lawsuits brought by Lorillard Tobacco Company challenging FDA restrictions on cigarette advertising and marketing as unconstitutional under the First and Fifth Amendments.
Kelli Sager receives exceptional feedback for her expertise in this area, and is praised by sources as “a real star,” who is “a leader in this field.” 2012 highlights saw her defend a number of prominent media companies, including Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Lions Gate Entertainment, against right of publicity claims. She also successfully defended the Los Angeles Times in a series of related defamation cases arising out of the newspaper's reporting on the 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign and the surgery centers associated with that company.
Superlatives abound in the commentary for Lee Levine, who is lauded by peers and clients alike as “a recognized expert with unparalleled knowledge” in First Amendment litigation. One source enthused: “He is one of the smartest lawyers I know - he is incredibly knowledgeable and a brilliant strategist, with great common sense and great judgment. He knows this area better than anyone else.” Levine's practice includes libel, copyright, invasion of privacy and First Amendment cases. Recent successes include defending CBS Interactive in a defamation lawsuit brought by a Hall of Fame basketball star.
Charles Babcock continues to expand and strengthen his presence on the First Amendment stage across the USA. The "extraordinary" Texan litigator is particularly well known for his considerable jury trial experience. He is currently representing Dr Phil McGraw in a long-running defamation case related to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. “He is a nationally renowned First Amendment lawyer,” sources agree.
Charles Tobin rises through the ranks due to exceptional client feedback and high-profile work. His national practice focuses on First Amendment litigation for news media, with an emphasis on libel, privacy and access to information matters. Recent highlights include representing 17 major media organizations in an intervention seeking to obtain access to court records in the widely publicized Trayvon Martin shooting prosecution. Of note, he was also involved in a precedent-setting case involving the release of FBI documents under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to civil rights photographer Ernest Withers.
David Schulz is an “outstanding” litigator who is well known for his work in this field. He stands out for his expertise in access cases, and regularly represents both the public and the press in matters concerning the First Amendment right to access court proceedings. Notably, he continues to be involved in litigation in connection with the efforts of media organizations to access information about detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
Kevin Baine is renowned for his long-standing presence in the First Amendment field. He is regarded as the "gold standard" of attorneys in libel law cases, and noted by sources for his considerable jury trial experience. As well as First Amendment matters, his practice also covers copyright, trademark, contract and other commercial disputes.
Laura Handman is described by peers as “a terrific public appellate lawyer - she is a great writer, a great speaker and terrific with clients.” She operates a broad media practice, with a strong focus on First Amendment litigation. 2012 highlights saw her act on a number of anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) cases in Washington, DC. She also represented a coalition of media organizations in a $20 million defamation lawsuit concerning the reporting of a story involving an arrest and alleged threats to shoot the president. Sources say: "She is a zealous advocate for the First Amendment - truly dedicated to this area of practice."
Paul Smith is a US Supreme Court specialist with an extensive history in First Amendment and copyright dispute resolution. He is seen as a go-to litigator in cases regarding new technology, and is lauded by peers as an “extraordinary bright light of the Bar.” Smith leads the firm's appellate and Supreme Court practice, and cochairs its media and First Amendment, election law and redistricting groups.
The impressive Thomas Kelley is a seasoned litigator with a national practice, representing top media clients in privacy, libel, copyright and other First Amendment disputes. In highlights, he recently successfully obtained a court order recognizing a First Amendment right of access to judicial records in the prosecution of the individual accused of the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. “He is very strong and a smart guy. On a national level he is a terrific lawyer.”
Bruce Johnson chairs the firm's privacy and security practice, and is regarded as one of the strongest First Amendment litigators on the West Coast. He operates a national practice, regularly defending reporters and editors in journalist privilege matters, as well as other national media clients in privacy, defamation and internet liability cases. "He is an excellent lawyer," say interviewees.
Bruce Sanford heads the firm's IP, technology and media department and is considered a “top-of-the-line” First Amendment litigator. He is esteemed by peers for his expertise in libel and privacy law, and described by clients as "proactive, experienced and commercially aware." Recent highlights include representing blogger Larry O'Connor in respect of an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit brought by former USDA official Shirley Sherrod.
New York-based Elizabeth McNamara is admired by peers and clients as an “extremely dependable” litigator, whose work is always of the highest standard. She continues to focus on significant nationwide IP and First Amendment matters for clients from the film, newspaper, television and book-publishing industries. Recent work highlights include defending the distributors of the film 'Savage Grace' against a libel lawsuit brought by an art dealer who claimed to have been falsely portrayed in the movie.
Kurt Wimmer is an “outstanding” attorney with a diverse practice including privacy and copyright, as well as First Amendment litigation. He continues to work with various trade associations, new media content providers and newspapers, and regularly handles amicus curiae work and briefs. Notable clients include Facebook, National Geographic and the Washington Post.
Michael Sullivan is a highly respected trial lawyer with decades of experience defending important media entities in libel, copyright and First Amendment disputes. He continues to act for The Virgin Island Daily News on an appeal of a defense judgment secured in a 2010 defamation case. He impresses sources with his courtroom skills: “He is unflappable - capable of rolling with the punches. He is a force to be reckoned with."
Atlanta-based Peter Canfield is well known for his First Amendment litigation practice and earns widespread acclaim from his peers in the field nationwide. He is “an excellent lawyer” with more than 20 years of experience in courtrooms across the country, and maintains a broad practice covering IP, entertainment, sports, libel, First Amendment and commercial cases.
Theodore Boutrous divides his time between Los Angeles and Washington, DC, from where he operates a broad practice covering media, entertainment and technology. He represents clients in defamation, news gathering, freedom of information and access cases, and has substantial experience in both federal and state appellate courts nationwide.
Miami litigator Thomas Julin is highly regarded for expertise in First Amendment litigation and media law, advising clients on cases nationwide. One source said: "I think he is one of the most impressive people I have had the pleasure of knowing. His desire to take a stand for what he believes in means he will go the distance for his clients." Julin recently assisted a group of healthcare organizations in securing an injunction to enjoin the enforcement of a law which would prohibit doctors from discussing firearm safety with their patients.
Victor Kovner is a long-standing authority in First Amendment litigation and considered “a world expert on invasion of privacy cases.” He continues to offer pre-publication and pre-broadcast counsel to an assortment of media organizations.
Phoenix-based David Bodney receives a wealth of praise for his litigation practice. He handles a wide array of matters, and is singled out for his specialization in First Amendment cases, where he represents both newspapers and television broadcasters. One source enthused: "I think he is the top First Amendment litigator bar none in Arizona. He takes very reasonable but aggressive positions, and is a very effective advocate for First Amendment rights."
Jonathan Albano is the head of First Amendment litigation at Bingham McCutchen. He is a seasoned trial lawyer, with extensive experience representing traditional news organizations in First Amendment matters. Recent highlights include defending new client HarperCollins in an invasion of privacy lawsuit. He also continues to assist long-standing client The Boston Globe with a variety of matters, and is praised for his "speedy legal and tactical advice, which is always expressed in concise and clear language."
With over 35 years of experience in the field, Joseph Steinfield is well known and respected for his long-standing dedication to First Amendment litigation. He has both a strong trial and arbitration background, advising clients from all corners of the media space, including newspapers, broadcasters and internet and new media content providers. Recent experience includes access cases and defamation disputes.
Robert Balin cochairs the firm's media and First Amendment department. He advises on a broad spectrum of media matters including IP, privacy, libel and other First Amendment issues. He advises a variety of international as well as domestic clients including publishers, broadcasters and new media organizations.
New to the nationwide rankings, Robert Corn-Revere is greatly admired for his focus on the First Amendment aspects of media law. According to interviewees, he is "ubiquitous" in this area, and is praised for his "superb legal work" and "top of the line" briefs. He is singled out for his experience in relation to indecency cases, and also handles matters involving regulatory and telecommunications law. He successfully represented CBS before the US Supreme Court in a widely publicized battle challenging FCC indecency fines imposed following the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show.
Thomas Yannucci stands out for his focus on plaintiff-side representation in First Amendment litigation. He advises on both individual and class action cases involving defamation, IP, antitrust and regulatory matters. "He is a fabulous lawyer," sources say.
The “tremendous” Thomas Leatherbury receives widespread recognition for his First Amendment practice in Texas and his increasing presence on the national stage. He impresses sources with his “intellectual firepower” and jury trial experience, and is acknowledged as an "extraordinarily good lawyer in this area." One client enthused: "Tom is an extremely responsive, creative and hard-working lawyer."