Paul J. Safier

Of Counsel
Tel 215.988.9146
Fax 215.864.8999

Paul J. Safier's practice focuses on representing news, entertainment, and other media clients in defamation, privacy, false advertising, copyright, and trademark lawsuits, as well as representing the press and public in seeking access to court and government records. In addition, he routinely assists journalists with prepublication review, advising clients about intellectual property, libel, and newsgathering risks. Paul regularly speaks on matters involving the First Amendment and media law. Prior to practicing law, he studied political science at Princeton University and was a lecturer at Princeton, Swarthmore College, and Temple University.

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

Judicial Clerkship

Hon. Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Representative Experience

  • Successfully represented a coalition of Maryland newspapers in challenging Maryland’s Online Electioneering Transparency and Accountability Act, which imposed disclosure and record-keeping obligations on websites that host political advertisements. The Maryland district court enjoined enforcement of the law on First Amendment grounds, in a decision that was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit in Washington Post v. McManus, 944 F.3d 506 (4th Cir. 2019).
  • Successfully represented two consumer-review websites that were sued under the Lanham Act based on reviews of a popular diet program. The court held that the reviews were not commercial speech, and, therefore, were not subject to the Lanham Act, in GOLO, LLC v. HighYa, LLC, 310 F. Supp. 3d 499 (E.D. Pa. 2018).
  • Successfully represented the Associated Press in obtaining reversal of a trial court ruling denying access to sealed filings from the prosecutions of former Penn State administrators in Commonwealth v. Curley, 189 A.3d 467 (Pa. Super 2018)
  • Successfully represented a coalition of national media entities in obtaining access to the names of the jurors in both criminal trials of Bill Cosby
  • Successfully represented Dow Jones & Company, Inc. in obtaining access to records that had been filed under seal in an investor lawsuit against the controversial blood-testing company, Theranos, Inc. in Partner Investments, L.P. v. Theranos, Inc., 2017 WL 2303954 (Del. Ch. 2017)
  • Successfully defended ESPN and two of its journalists against a defamation lawsuit brought by the wife of a former assistant coach for the Syracuse University men's basketball team, who alleged that the network's reporting about sexual-abuse allegations against her husband wrongfully suggested that she was aware of the abuse and failed to intervene. The court granted summary judgment in Fine v. ESPN, 2016 WL 6605107 (N.D.N.Y. 2016).
  • Successfully defended hedge-fund manager Steven Eisman, who was a source for Michael Lewis' best-selling book The Big Short, in a defamation lawsuit arising out of that book. The trial court granted summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal in Chau v. Lewis, 771 F.3d 118 (2d Cir. 2014).
  • Successfully defended CBS's Philadelphia television station against a lawsuit brought by a New Jersey church and pastor who claimed they were defamed by a news report describing the arrest of one of the church's preachers on child molestation charges, prevailing on summary judgment and in the plaintiff's subsequent appeal in Gordon v. CBS Broadcasting Inc.
  • Successfully represented the Associated Press in an action under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law against the Pennsylvania Senate that sought access to copies of legal invoices paid with taxpayer funds in Levy v. Senate of Pennsylvania, 94 A.3d 436 (Pa. Commw. 2014)
  • Successfully represented the Associated Press in obtaining unredacted copies of the Governor of Pennsylvania's calendar entries in an action under Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law in Office of the Governor v. Scolforo, 65 A.3d 1095 (Pa. Commw. 2013)

Professional Activities

Third Circuit Bar Association

Philadelphia Bar Association

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Best Lawyers in America, First Amendment litigation, Philadelphia, 2020, 2021

Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, Rising Star, media & advertising, 2013-2019

Named to the 2010 Pro Bono Roll of Honor in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania


Co-author, "Federal Court Blocks Maryland's Online Political Ad Law Under First Amendment," Ballard Spahr alert, January 4, 2019

Author, "D.C. Circuit Holds That Transit Authority Is Permitted to Reject Religious Advertisements," Ballard Spahr alert, August 3, 2018

Co-author, "A Five-Star Decision: Yelp's Recent Victory Reaffirms Broad Protections of Section 230," Ballard Spahr alert, July 6, 2018

Author, "Pennsylvania Federal Court Holds Consumer Review Website Was Not Engaged in Commercial Speech," Ballard Spahr alert, June 29, 2018

"Is It Truthful? Then the Media Has a Right to Publish It," Pennsylvania Law Weekly, February 2, 2017

"The First Amendment, The Courts, and 'Picking Winners,'" 87 University of Washington Law Review 397, 2012 (with Judge Thomas L. Ambro, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)

"Judicial Approaches to Expectations of Privacy in E-Mail," 3 Bloomberg Law Reports 10, 2010

Recent Speaking Engagements

Panelist, "Trademarks, the Right of Publicity, and the First Amendment," Annual Meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, October 22, 2020

Moderator, "Regulating Political Advertising Online," Yale Law School’s Abrams Institute for Freedom of Speech: Commercial Speech and the First Amendment, June 2, 2020

Panelist, "Drawing the Line Between 'News' and Commercial Speech," Yale Law School's Abrams Institute for Freedom of Speech: Commercial Speech and the First Amendment, June 3, 2019

Panelist, "One Day Law School For Journalists," Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts and Penn State Dickinson School of Law, May 16, 2019

Keynote Speaker, "Lawyer for a Day," Philadelphia Bar Association, May 2, 2019

Speaker, "First Amendment and Media Law Issues," Conference of the Society of Professional Journalists, Northeastern Region, Philadelphia, April 21, 2018 

Panelist, "Know Your Reporting Rights," Radio Television Digital News Association, Washington, D.C., October 20, 2017 

"Legal Q&A," Podcast Movement, Anaheim, California, August 25, 2017

Panelist, "Fake News and the New Administration," Annual Symposium of the University of Pennsylvania Law School Journal of Constitutional Law, Philadelphia, February 10, 2017

Panelist, "Safeguarding the First Amendment Under President Trump," American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, Philadelphia, January 20, 2107

Panelist, "The Freedom of Information Act," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, December 12, 2016

Panelist, "The Charlie Hebdo Controversy," Media and Communications Law Society, Temple Law School, Philadelphia, February 12, 2015

Panelist, "Recent Cases in Defamation and Invasion of Privacy," American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law Annual Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 5, 2015

Panelist, "First Amendment Restrictions on Government Speech," Philadelphia City Law Department, Philadelphia, July 30, 2014

University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 2008)
Articles Editor, University of Pennsylvania Law Review
Order of the Coif

Princeton University (M.A. 1999)

Amherst College (B.A., summa cum laude, 1994)
Phi Beta Kappa


U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania