Seth D. Berlin

Partner He / Him / His
Washington, DC
Seth D. Berlin has represented clients in First Amendment, defamation, privacy, access, reporter's privilege, copyright, and trademark disputes for more than 30 years. He has appeared on behalf of media clients in numerous federal trial and appeals courts, and in state courts throughout the country.

Seth's clients include television and radio networks, station owners, cable television networks, production companies, national and local newspapers, magazine publishers, websites, and specialty publications. He also regularly represents advocacy groups and political organizations in enforcing and defending their First Amendment rights. He has successfully handled numerous copyright and trademark disputes for publishers, advertising agencies, and music houses, as well as for publishers focused on unauthorized access to password-protected areas of their websites.

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Successfully argued in the Fourth Circuit on behalf of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in securing a ruling affirming the dismissal of a libel case against arising out of coverage of General Michael Flynn’s relationship with a Russian graduate student.
  • Secured affirmance in the Second Circuit of a FOIA ruling in favor of The Wall Street Journal requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to disclose a report about decades of sexual abuse by Indian Health Service doctors, and then on remand secured an award of The Journal’s attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Successfully obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of a coalition of Maryland newspapers enjoining enforcement of a new Maryland statute that imposed various obligations on websites that publish online political advertising. The federal district court ruled that the statute is subject to strict scrutiny under the First Amendment and is unconstitutional as applied to the newspapers and their websites.

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

First Amendment Salons, Co-Chair

ABA Forum on Communications Law, past Governing Board

ABA Media Advocacy Workshop, Founder 

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA, Media & Entertainment Law, Washington, D.C., 2008-2022

The Best Lawyers in America, First Amendment Litigation and Media Law, Washington, D.C., 2010-2023, First Amendment Law, 2023

The Legal 500, Media and Entertainment: Litigation, 2020, 2021

Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers, 2010-2021

Publications

Co-author, Newsgathering and the Law, Lexis Law Publishing, 5th ed., 2018

"Teach Your Children: High School Students and the First Amendment," Communications Lawyer, July 2008

"Planned Parenthood v. ACLA: Are the Nuremberg Files and 'Wanted' Posters Protected Advocacy or Unprotected Threat?" Communications Lawyer, Summer 2002

Credentials 

Education

Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1991)

Brown University (B.A., magna cum laude, 1988)

Admissions

District of Columbia

Maryland

New York

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York