By unanimous vote, the board of the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Ballard Spahr First Amendment Litigator Leita Walker with its highest honor, the Peter S. Popovich Award.

The award is named for the state representative who championed Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law. Popovich, who died in 1996 after almost four decades of public service, is the only Minnesota jurist to serve as chief judge of the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Ms. Walker, a former news reporter, defends media outlets in libel litigation and in press and public access matters for governmental and judicial records. She is currently working to obtain access to the names of the jurors who convicted Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor of third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. She is also advising news organizations on how to protect journalists from arrest during the aftermath of the officer-involved death of George Floyd.

Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Group, of which Ms. Walker is a member, was named U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Law Firm of the Year for Litigation—First Amendment.

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