Leita Walker

Partner
Minneapolis

Leita Walker is a litigator and trial lawyer in the firm's Media and Entertainment Law Group. She has nearly 15 years of experience defending media organizations in libel litigation and helping them obtain access to governmental and judicial records.

Leita’s First Amendment practice includes defending libel, privacy, and right of publicity claims in trial and appellate courts across the country; prepublication vetting of both news and entertainment content; and advising clients on subpoenas and privilege issues, copyright law, and state and federal Freedom of Information Act laws.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Leita wrote for The Christian Science Monitor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Lawrence Journal-World.

Experience 

Representative Matters

Appellate decisions

  • Ventura v. Kyle, 825 F.3d 876 (8th Cir. 2016) (reversing plaintiff's verdict in defamation suit against estate of best-selling author of American Sniper)
  • Bierman v. Weier, 826 N.W. 2d 436 (Iowa 2013) (granting summary judgment to publisher in libel suit brought by private figure)
  • Larson v. Gannett Co., slip op., No. A17-1068 (Minn. Ct. App. May 7, 2018) (for amici) (holding that "[t]he fair-report privilege extends to protect news reports that accurately summarize or fairly abridge information relayed at a law-enforcement agency's official press conference or by a law-enforcement agency's official news release").

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

Board member, American Bar Association Litigation Journal

Central Regional Division Co-Chair, American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law

Media Law Resource Center

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Best Lawyers in America, litigation-First Amendment, 2020, 2021

The Legal 500, Media and Entertainment: Litigation, 2020

Minnesota Lawyer, Attorneys of the Year, 2020

Speaking Engagements

"Access Issues in the Derek Chauvin Trial for George Floyd’s Death," Media Law Resource Center, April 13, 2021

"Open Courts & Racial Justice," First Amendment Coalition, March 24, 2021

"Constitutional Law: Caught in the Middle ̶ Protecting the Media’s First Amendment Rights in a Time of Protests and Social Unrest," Minnesota CLE, December 9, 2020

Board Memberships & Community Service

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, youth athletics coach

Publications

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

Co-author, "Minnesota Open Government Guide" and "Minnesota Reporters Privilege Compendium" chapters, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 2018 edition

Co-author, "A New 'Slant' on Pacifica?," Communications Lawyer, Winter 2018

Credentials 

Education

University of Kansas School of Law (J.D. 2006)
Editor-in-Chief, Kansas Law Review
Valedictorian
Order of the Coif

University of Kansas (B.S. 2002)
Editor-in-Chief, University Daily Kansan

Admissions

Iowa

Minnesota 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court the the Southern District of Iowa