Awards and Rankings

Minneapolis First Amendment Litigator Leita Walker Honored for Work on Behalf of Journalists

March 16, 2022

First Amendment litigator Leita Walker has been recognized for her efforts to promote, defend, and further the right of journalists to cover the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd.

On March 16—national Freedom of Information Day—Ms. Walker was among the six recipients of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information’s John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award. Ms. Walker was recognized for coordinating a media coalition whose advocacy resulted in Minnesota’s first live-streamed criminal trial. Thanks to Ms. Walker, the organization wrote, “over 35 national and international outlets worked with all parties throughout the trial: judge, prosecution and defense. The trial could hardly have been more historic – State of Minnesota vs. Derek Michael Chauvin. Coordinating media across such a wide spectrum—broadcast, radio, print with local, state, national and international audiences in mind—took knowledge of the law and the public’s need for public information to hold its government accountable for actions taken. Ms. Walker’s tactful and tireless efforts kept all parties informed and in agreement while maintaining respectful relationships with the judiciary.”

The award is named after a longtime Twin Cities newspaper editor, government transparency advocate, and namesake of Minnesota’s Finnegan Freedom of Information Act.

Ms. Walker is a member of Ballard Spahr’s nationally renowned Media and Entertainment Law Group, which Best Law Firms named Law Firm of the Year for Litigation - First Amendment in 2018, 2020, and 2022, and Law Firm of the Year for Media Law in 2018 and 2019.

For media inquiries, please contact Will Ashenmacher at 612.371.5792.

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