Awards and Rankings

Ballard Spahr’s Leita Walker Named to Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year List

December 16, 2020

First Amendment litigator Leita Walker, a partner in the Minneapolis office of Ballard Spahr, has been named one of Minnesota Lawyer’s Attorneys of the Year for 2020.

An outside panel selected 33 Attorney of the Year honorees based on criteria including leadership in the profession, involvement in major cases, and public service. The nominations were submitted by judges, bar groups, clients, and attorneys.

In late May 2020, during the height of protests arising from George Floyd’s death, Ms. Walker worked with journalists from across the country to ensure their safety and obtain their quick release when police wrongfully detained them. As prosecutions of the men involved in Mr. Floyd’s death unfolded, she represented a coalition of media outlets, including Star Tribune, The New York Times, and the Associated Press, to ensure access to court files, including footage from police body-worn cameras, and proceedings. Separately, Ms. Walker convinced a judge to release the identities of the jurors who convicted former Minneapolis police officer Mohammed Noor in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

“Leita is a relentless advocate for the First Amendment freedoms of the press and public. In this challenging year, her dedication to the newsrooms we serve has helped journalists report story after important story,” said Chuck Tobin, practice leader of Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Group. “We’re so fortunate to have Leita’s leadership on our team.”

Ms. Walker participates in Ballard Spahr’s Racial Justice and Equality Initiative and recently represented The Sahan Journal, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit news source when it faced retraction demands from a known purveyor of disinformation. She serves on the Federal Practice Committee for the District of Minnesota and is involved with the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law and the Media Law Resource Center.

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