Chad R. Bowman

Tel 202.508.1120
Fax 202.661.2299
Washington, DC

Chad R. Bowman's practice as a counselor and litigator focuses on working with new and legacy media organizations, as well as other nonprofit and for-profit entities engaged in public advocacy and speech.

As a counselor, Chad regularly advises clients about publication risk, reviewing draft television news scripts, magazine features, newspaper reports, digital media stories, and other content, as well as advising about newsgathering and intellectual property issues. As a litigator, Chad has represented media clients in state and federal courts around the country in contested defamation, privacy, copyright, subpoena, access, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), marketing, and related First Amendment matters. Chad also provides regular pro bono counseling to several nonprofit advocacy organizations.

Prior to attending law school, Chad worked as reporter at weekly and daily newspapers and at The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA), covering a variety of local and national beats.

Chad was a partner at the highly regarded First Amendment boutique law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, which merged with Ballard Spahr in October 2017.

Representative Experience

  • Defended the Associated Press against a libel claim brought by a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who objected to an AP report detailing his past business relationship with Paul Manafort, one-time manager of President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The court granted the AP's motion to dismiss after finding that Deripaska, a billionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was a public figure who failed to plausibly allege that AP published the report with "actual malice," as the First Amendment requires. The court further found that Deripaska failed to identify anything materially false in the AP report.
  • Successfully defended Gawker Media, LLC, in a defamation suit brought in New Jersey state court by former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, arising from news reports published on Gawker's Deadspin website about the plaintiff's behavior at a youth baseball tournament. The court dismissed many of the challenged statements as either protected opinion or substantially true and, after extensive discovery, granted summary judgment on the remaining statements following a two-day hearing, concluding that the public figure plaintiff could not demonstrate clear and convincing evidence of "actual malice" fault.
  • Successfully defended The New Yorker and its reporter David Grann in a defamation lawsuit arising out of a profile of Canadian art authenticator Paul Biro. Affirming the trial court's dismissal of the case, the Second Circuit held that Biro, a public figure in the world of art authentication, had failed to allege facts in his complaint that could plausibly demonstrate the defendants acted with actual malice.
  • Successfully defended CBS Interactive in a defamation action brought by Hall of Fame basketball player Scottie Pippen. The former Chicago Bull and Olympic Dream Team star alleged that CBS Interactive and other online publishers suggested that he was bankrupt, and that such reporting was false and defamatory. Dismissal on constitutional grounds was affirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court then denied review.
  • Successfully defended CBS in a defamation action in New York state court arising from a news report on its New York television station about a federal raid on an adult entertainment club. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of three of the 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.
  • Successfully defended on appeal the dismissal of a defamation claim against Gawker Media and its employees over an article posted on the Jezebel site. The Seventh Circuit held that the challenged article was protected under the Illinois "innocent construction" doctrine and the fair report privilege, and also found all but one of the challenged user comments accompanying the article to be non-actionable.
  • Successfully defended ALM Media, LLC, in a putative class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act arising from facsimile transmissions allegedly sent by The Connecticut Law Tribune. The appellate court previously ruled that the claims were time-barred under state law, but was forced to consider the case again after the U.S. Supreme Court decided a similar case. Chad argued on remand for affirmance on alternate grounds, relating to application of a federal tolling doctrine for class claims. The Second Circuit once again held that the claims were untimely, this time under federal law.
  • Represented the D.C. Open Government Coalition in its first lawsuit, an action challenging the District of Columbia Council's position that it had no obligation under FOIA to disclose records of public business transacted over the private email accounts of councilmembers. After the suit was filed, the Council amended its rules to require the use of official email accounts for public business and agreed to a consent order interpreting that rule to require the Council to make reasonable efforts to collect public records maintained on personal email accounts.

Professional Activities

ABA Intellectual Property Litigation Committee

D.C. Bar Media & Entertainment Law Committee

D.C. Open Government Coalition, Board of Directors

Recognitions & Accomplishments

The Legal 500, Media and Entertainment: Litigation, 2020

Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers, media & advertising, 2014-2018


Co-author, "European Court Rules That Merely Hyperlinking is Not Defamatory," Ballard Spahr alert, December 6, 2018

Co-author, "Vetting Social Media Content: Getting Ahead of Fast and Furious," Association of Corporate Counsel, December 2018

Co-author, "Court: White House Violated Constitution in Yanking CNN Press Pass," Ballard Spahr alert, November 16, 2018

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

"Crowd Control," The Financial Manager, November/December, 2016

"Survey of Maryland Privacy and Related Claims Against the Media," in Annual Media Privacy & Related Law Survey, Media Law Resource Center

"Courts Extend Twombly and Iqbal Standard to Actual Malice Pleading," Newsletter of the ABA Litigation Section's First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee, Fall 2012/Winter 2013

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Newsroom Legal Topics," Local News Builds Communities Conference & Celebration, Annapolis, MD, May 10, 2019

"Trends in Media Law & Policy—The Trump Effect," NAM Legislative Conference, December 3, 2018

"Walterry Insurance Brokers' Libel Workshop: Reducing Legal Risk in Editorial Content," 132nd NNA Annual Convention & Trade Show, Norfolk, VA, September 27, 2018

Moderator, "Developments to Copyright Law and How Publishers Are Adapting," Digital Content Next Legal and Legislative Day, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2018

Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 2003, magna cum laude)
Georgetown Law Journal, Editor of the Annual Review of Criminal Procedure
Order of the Coif

Alfred University (B.A. 1994, cum laude)
Distinguished Scholar Honors

District of Columbia


U.S. Supreme Court

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

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

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

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland