Emmy Parsons

Emmy Parsons

Associate She / Her / Hers
Washington, DC

Emmy Parsons represents media and entertainment clients in defamation and access litigations around the country. In addition, she regularly counsels clients on pre-publication concerns and represents the interests of newsgatherers in regulatory proceedings related to drones before government agencies.

Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Emmy served as assistant general counsel for the National Association of Broadcasters. In that role, she advocated on behalf of television and radio broadcasters before federal government agencies, educated broadcasters on relevant rules and regulations, and managed outside counsel in federal litigation and regulatory proceedings regarding music licensing, copyright royalties, and broadcast regulations.

Earlier in her legal career, she represented clients in trade secret and intellectual property matters, federal antitrust investigations, and regulatory review of transactions. Prior to beginning law school, Emmy was an editorial assistant for People StyleWatch magazine.

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Gray Media Group, Inc. v. City of Jackson (Case No. R-19-054) (Miss. Ethics Commission): As lead trial counsel for WLBT-TV, Emmy litigated a six-day bench trial before the Mississippi Ethics Commission regarding the City of Jackson’s failure to provide timely, complete responses to public records requests. The Commission found in favor of WLBT-TV on all counts and awarded it the largest Ethics Commission penalty in state history.
  • State v. Chauvin et al., No. 27-CR-20-12646 (Henn. Cnty. Minn.): Represented a coalition of nearly 20 media and open-government organizations seeking access to the criminal prosecutions of Derek Chauvin and his co-defendants related to the murder of George Floyd, including successfully advocating against a gag order, obtaining access to police body camera footage filed with the court, and ensuring presence of cameras in the courtroom.
  • Gabbert v. Star Tribune, 2022 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 469 (2022): Represented Star Tribune in lawsuit that was dismissed based on fair report privilege and affirmed by Minnesota Court of Appeals.
  • Colborn v. Netflix, 19-cv-04848-bhl, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40415 (E.D. Wis. Mar. 10, 2023): Defended Netflix in defamation lawsuit where summary judgment was granted based on substantial truth, lack of actual malice, among other defenses.
  • Klayman v. Politico LLC, et. al., 2022 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 23 (Fla. 15th Cir. Mar. 22, 2022): Defended Politico, which was granted based on substantial truth and lack of actual malice, among other defenses.

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

Emmy has an active pro bono practice through the firm’s Diverse Voices Initiative, providing pre-publication counseling, newsroom trainings, and related services to news outlets serving communities of color.

Professional Activities

Media Law Resource Center, Co-Chair, State Legislative Affairs Committee

American Bar Association, Communications Law Forum

Recognition & Accomplishments

National Press Photographers Association, "Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award"

The Best Lawyers in America, "Ones to Watch," Entertainment and Sports Law, 2024 (Washington, D.C.)

Speaking Engagements

Panelist, “Content of the Future,” ABA Representing Your Local Broadcaster, 2023

Panelist, "Privacy and Libel" breakout session, ABA Forum on Communications Law, 2021

Did Chauvin trial make the case for courtroom cameras?” CNN’s Smerconish, April 24, 2021

Publications

Co-author, “FOIA Lawsuit Helps NPR Report On ‘Barbaric’ and ‘Negligent’ Conditions in ICE Detention Facilities,” MLRC MediaLawLetter, August 2023

Co-author, "Baltimore Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Public Official Media Defamation Trial," MLRC MediaLawLetter, October 2021

Co-author, "Chauvin Trial Shows Why Cameras Need to Be in Court," Bloomberg Law, March 31, 2021

"Judge in George Floyd Prosecutions Allows Cameras in the Courtroom," MLRC MediaLawLetter, December 2020

Credentials 

Education

University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2013)
Co-Chair, Entertainment, Media, and Arts Law Students Association

Northwestern University (B.S., Journalism, 2009)

Admissions

District of Columbia

New York

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals