Jacquelyn Schell

Jacquelyn N. Schell

Partner She / Her / Hers
New York

Jacquelyn N. Schell is an experienced litigator whose practice focuses on media and First Amendment law. She defends media, entertainment, and other commercial clients against libel and defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright, and other content-based claims. She also maintains an active pro bono practice representing individuals and non-profit organizations against similar claims.

 Jacquelyn also counsels clients on pre-publication concerns and represents news outlets asserting reporters’ privilege defenses and bringing affirmative actions to enforce statutory and First Amendment rights of access to courts and government information.

In addition to her media law practice, Jacquelyn has a wide range of white collar and commercial litigation experience, including criminal defense, internal investigations, contract disputes, and commercial real estate litigation. Before joining Ballard Spahr, Jacquelyn worked at a well-regarded national law firm and served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in metro Atlanta.


Representative Matters

  • On behalf of WLBT-TV, successfully litigated an ethics complaint against the City of Jackson, Mississippi, for failure to provide timely, complete responses to public records, including Jackson Police Department records, as required by the Mississippi Public Records Act. Following a six-day bench trial, WLBT-TV won on all counts and was awarded the largest Ethics Commission penalty in state history.
  • Obtained early dismissal of a copyright infringement claim against Penguin Random House, in an action alleging infringement of an unpublished border lore manuscript about a historical figure.
  • Represented The E.W. Scripps Company in FOIL litigation against the NYPD, leading to the release of data about how the NYPD compiles and reports crime statistics and clearance rates. The resulting reporting by Scripps prompted the NYC Mayor’s Office to change its public crime reporting system to be more accurate and transparent.

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

New York State Bar Association, Co-Chair, Committee on Media Law

ABA Forum on Communications Law, Member-at-Large, Governing Committee

Media Law Resource Center, Co-Chair, Criminal Law Committee

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA, "Up and Coming," Media and Entertainment: First Amendment Litigation, 2023 (New York)

The Best Lawyers in America, "Ones to Watch," Communications Law, 2022 - 2024 (New York)


Co-author, "Lyrics in Limine: Rap Music and Criminal Prosecutions," Communications Lawyer, January 2023 (excerpted and re-printed in GP Solo Magazine’s “Best of ABA Publications”)

Co-author, “New Trade Agreement Extends CDA Section 230 Immunity Abroad,” Ballard Spahr alert, October 4, 2018

Co-author, “First Amendment Bars Trump from Blocking Critics on Twitter, Court Rules,” Ballard Spahr alert, May 24, 2018



Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D. 2009)

Vanderbilt University (B.A., cum laude, 2006)


New York

District of Columbia


U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits

U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western, and Northern Districts of New York

U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Georgia