Jay Ward Brown

Partner
Washington, DC

Jay Ward Brown has been representing news and entertainment companies for almost three decades. He has litigated defamation, privacy, copyright, subpoena, and access matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state appellate courts, and trial courts around the country.

Jay has been described in Chambers USA as “a lawyer who delivers continuously high-quality service,” possesses “impeccable analysis and impressive writing skills,” and has a “friendly, approachable and attentive demeanor [that] sees clients wanting to use him exclusively.”

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended The New York Times in an action brought by a prominent cancer researcher who headed a department at a major university and who claimed that a news report about alleged problems with research papers he authored or co-authored defamed him. The district court granted The Times’s motion to dismiss the Complaint and the Sixth Circuit affirmed. Jay argued for The Times in both courts.
  • With a team of Ballard colleagues, obtained an order denying the City of Chicago’s emergency application to prevent Chicago television station WBBM/CBS2 from broadcasting on the evening news a report about allegations of police misconduct at issue in civil lawsuits against the city that included police bodycam footage of one incident that had not previously been made public. The Mayor of Chicago later apologized for the City’s attempt to suppress the news reporting at issue.
  • Defended CBS in a defamation action arising from a news report on its New York television station about a federal raid on an adult entertainment club in New York. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of three individual plaintiffs’ defamation claims against CBS. The court held that the news report was not “of and concerning” the three plaintiffs, allegedly managers of the club, as none were mentioned or otherwise reasonably understood as referred to in the report.

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

Trial Law Institute, Member

Diversity Law Institute, Member

Media Law Resource Center, Defense Counsel Section, past President

Recognition & Accomplishments

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

The Best Lawyers in America, media law, 2013-2021; "Lawyer of the Year," Media Law (Washington, D.C.), 2014

Chambers USA, ranked nationwide for media & entertainment law and First Amendment litigation, and in Washington, D.C., for media & entertainment law

Publications

Co-author, "Nevada Court Grants Anti-SLAPP Motion by the Associated Press on Fair Report Grounds," MLRC MediaLawLetter, August 2018

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

"Mind the Gap: Companies Face Marketing-Related Legal Claims That Their CGL Insurance Policies No Longer Cover," Risk & Insurance, December 2011

"'The Assange Effect': WikiLeaks, The Espionage Act and the Fourth Estate," Media Law Resource Center Bulletin, August 2011

"The Reporter's Privilege in the Third Circuit," The Reporter's Privilege Compendium, 2006

Credentials 

Education

New York University School of Law (J.D. 1992, cum laude)
Fellow, Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (M.S. 1985, with honors)

University of Minnesota at Minneapolis (B.A. 1984)
Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

District of Columbia

Maryland

New York

Virginia

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

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

U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia