Leita Walker

Partner
Minneapolis

Leita Walker is a litigator and trial lawyer in the firm's Media and Entertainment Law Group. She has nearly 15 years of experience defending media organizations in libel litigation and helping them obtain access to governmental and judicial records.

Leita’s First Amendment practice includes defending libel, privacy, and right of publicity claims in trial and appellate courts across the country; prepublication vetting of both news and entertainment content; and advising clients on subpoenas and privilege issues, copyright law, and state and federal Freedom of Information Act laws.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Leita wrote for The Christian Science Monitor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Lawrence Journal-World.

Experience 

Representative Matters

Appellate decisions

  • Lam v. Univision Communs., Inc., 329 So. 3d 190, 198 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021) (affirming dismissal based on failure to plead actual malice)
  • Ventura v. Kyle, 825 F.3d 876 (8th Cir. 2016) (reversing plaintiff's verdict in defamation suit against estate of best-selling author of American Sniper)
  • Bierman v. Weier, 826 N.W. 2d 436 (Iowa 2013) (granting summary judgment to publisher in libel suit brought by private figure)
  • Larson v. Gannett Co., slip op., No. A17-1068 (Minn. Ct. App. May 7, 2018) (for amici) (holding that "[t]he fair-report privilege extends to protect news reports that accurately summarize or fairly abridge information relayed at a law-enforcement agency's official press conference or by a law-enforcement agency's official news release").

Professional Highlights

Professional Activities

Executive Committee Member, Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center

Faculty Member, Communications Law in the Digital Age annual conference, hosted by the Practising Law Institute

Member, Federal Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Recognition & Accomplishments

National Press Photographers Association, "Alicia Calzada First Amendment Award"

Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, "John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award," 2022

Chambers USA, First Amendment Litigation (Nationwide), 2022

The Best Lawyers in America, litigation-First Amendment, 2020, 2021, appellate, 2022

Speaking Engagements

"Cameras in the Courtroom," Minnesota Attorney General’s Office Annual Criminal Justice Seminar, June 16, 2022

"Access to Juror Information in the Social Media Age," Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, 47th Annual Federal Practice Seminar, June 14, 2022

“Racial Injustice Exposed on Camera,” ABA Forum on Communications Law, January 20, 2022

Board Memberships & Community Service

Board Member, Kansas First Amendment Institute

Board Member, Twin Cities Diversity in Practice

Board Member, Community Advisory Board, Minneapolis Downtown YMCA

President, Minneapolis Lakers Youth Traveling Basketball Program

Publications

Author, "A Racial Reckoning, Reporter Arrests, and Court Access: The Inside Story of a Minneapolis Media Lawyer," American Bar Association's Communications Lawyer, Summer 2021

Co-author, "Chauvin Trial Shows Why Cameras Need to Be in Court," Bloomberg Law, March 31, 2021

Co-author, "Minnesota Open Government Guide" and "Minnesota Reporters Privilege Compendium" chapters, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 2018 edition

Co-author, "A New 'Slant' on Pacifica?," Communications Lawyer, Winter 2018

Credentials 

Education

University of Kansas School of Law (J.D. 2006)
Editor-in-Chief, Kansas Law Review
Valedictorian
Order of the Coif

University of Kansas (B.S. 2002)
Editor-in-Chief, University Daily Kansan

Admissions

Iowa

Minnesota 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

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

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa