Ashley Kissinger

Ashley I. Kissinger

Of Counsel She / Her / Hers
Boulder
Denver

Ashley Kissinger has represented media and entertainment clients in First Amendment and related matters for 25 years. Ashley collaborates with her clients to reduce legal risk, defend complex cases, access court proceedings and government information, and fight government censorship. She conducts pre-publication review, vetting, and clearance for newspapers, broadcasters, magazines, film producers, and streaming platforms. She defends her clients when they receive subpoenas for sources and other information protected by the reporter’s privilege. Licensed in numerous state and federal courts, Ashley is sought out to defend complex defamation, privacy, right-of-publicity, and copyright infringement cases nationwide. Clients have also turned to Ashley for in-house assistance. In 2021, she spent eight months working with NBCUniversal’s litigation department, where she worked with the company’s news, advertising, and sports counsel on a variety of complex issues.

Ashley’s work has established important precedents around the country. She obtained a ruling from the Nevada Supreme Court holding that law enforcement may not search a murdered journalist’s electronic devices. She set new precedent under Colorado’s anti-SLAPP statute protecting online consumer reviewers. She obtained a ruling from the Fourth Circuit establishing that government officials cannot retaliate and suppress speech while off duty when they are motivated by speech about them in their official capacities. She obtained a rare declaratory judgment in California under the SPEECH Act, a federal statute protecting the press from foreign libel judgments. And she obtained a court order requiring a state senator to stop blocking a constituent on social media.

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Las Vegas Review-Journal, Inc., et al. v. The State of Nevadaet al., No. A-22-859361-C (Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct.). Obtained a precedent-setting opinion from the Nevada Supreme Court prohibiting law enforcement from searching the cell phone and computers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s lead investigative news reporter, who is believed to have been murdered by a subject of his news stories. Police seized the devices, which contain source and other newsgathering information that is protected by the reporter’s privilege, including information about confidential law enforcement sources

  • Batis v. Dun & Bradstreet Holdings, Inc., No. 23-15260 (9th Cir.) and DeBose v. Dun & Bradstreet Holdings, Inc., No. 2:22-cv-00209-ES-JRA (D.N.J.). Representing D&B in two right of publicity class actions challenging D&B’s inclusion of professionals’ business information in the free trial for D&B Hoovers, a business and industry database

  • RE Carroll Management Co., et al. v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., et al., No. 1:23-cv-483 (M.D.N.C. 2023). Obtained dismissal of a multi-count defamation and deceptive trade practices case brought by a family of North Carolina real estate companies against Dun & Bradstreet, one of the nation’s oldest commercial credit reporting and data analytics companies

Professional Highlights

Judicial Clerkships

Hon. Sam Sparks of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, 1995-1997

Professional Activities

Co-Chair, Legal Frontiers in Digital Media Conference 2020 & 2021, San Francisco, Media Law Resource Center

Member, Journalism Funding Partners Board of Directors

Past Co-Chair, ABA First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee

Recognition & Accomplishments

Journalism Funding Partners, Recipient of nonprofit journalism funding organization's inaugural First Amendment Award, 2023

The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation-First Amendment, 2020-2024, First Amendment Law, 2023 and 2024, Media Law, 2023 and 2024

5280 Top Lawyer in Media/First Amendment law, 2015-2020, 2022

Law Week Colorado, People's Choice for Best Communications/Media Law Attorney, 2015

Recognized individually by The Legal 500 US as part of the nation's top-ranked First Amendment law practice, with clients describing her as "intellectually keen" and "a pleasure to work with."

Speaking Engagements

"Providing Security to Journalists," Ballard Spahr Webinar, December 8, 2020

"Subpoenas and Shield Laws," Media Law Conference, Media Law Resource Center, October 1, 2020

"Protecting Anonymous Online Speech," Media Law Resource Center, Digital Law Conference, San Francisco, May 21, 2019

Publications

"Anonymous Online Speech," Communications Law in the Digital Age, Practising Law Institute, 2009-2022

"The Truth About Fake News," The Financial Manager, May/June 2017

"The Internet: Anonymous Speakers to the Single-Publication Rule," Newsletter of the ABA Litigation Section’s First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee, Winter 2011

Credentials 

Education

University of Texas School of Law (J.D. 1995, with honors)

Associate Editor, Texas Law Review

Stanford University (A.B. 1990)

Admissions

California

Colorado

District of Columbia

New York

Texas

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth, and District of Columbia Circuits

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

U.S. District Courts for the Central and Northern Districts of California

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas