Ballard Spahr’s Media and Entertainment Law Group is the premier practice of its kind in the country. Our attorneys have played a central role in many of the most significant First Amendment cases in recent years—for the most prominent U.S. news organizations as well as for individual citizens and public interest organizations.
Our media lawyers help clients across platforms navigate some of the most challenging legal issues that arise in a healthy, functioning democracy—in the newsroom and in court. Our clients range from global news, entertainment, and advertising companies to local newspapers, news startups, freelance journalists, and internet companies. We also represent studios, directors and producers, sports teams, universities, authors, filmmakers, nonprofits, and government watchdog organizations—anyone who creates or disseminates content.
Our media lawyers—including several who are former journalists—have won jury verdicts defending leading media companies in high-stakes defamation trials. They have successfully defended clients in thorny First Amendment cases, prevailing on pretrial motions and defending those judgments on appeal, including all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Our work helping journalists gain access to important proceedings and records through the Freedom of Information Act and other laws routinely helps the press inform the public about significant issues. In fact, over the years, our lawyers have secured access to court records and government documents that have made national and international headlines. Our team works on a daily basis with newsrooms, providing 24/7 prepublication and pre-broadcast review and counseling.
Libel, Privacy and Related Claims
- Representing a nonprofit advocacy organization in multiple lawsuits challenging its ability to monitor hate groups in the United States.
Access to Information
- Securing a court order in CNN's favor in FOIA litigation directing the FBI to release sealed portions of fired FBI Director James Comey's memos of his discussions with President Donald Trump.
- Successfully represented a Vermont television station quashing a subpoena in the first case under the State's new reporter's shield law.
- Represented a cable television production company, negotiating, creating and securing music publishing rights fortelevision and radio series.
Contracts and Employment Issues
- Represented the publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a lawsuit against the paper's owners over the firing of the editor and tenure of the publisher. We successfully obtained a denial of the injunction requested by the owners and received a ruling affirming the publisher's position.
- Representing a coalition of Maryland newspapers challenging the constitutionality of a statute that imposes obligations on websites that publish political advertising.
- Represented television advertising production companies, reviewing long-form scripts for FTC compliance.
Rankings and Recognition
National Law Firm of the Year: First Amendment Litigation
Best Law Firms, 2023
Excellence in First Amendment Advocacy
American Lawyer's Tony Mauro Media Lawyer Award, 2020
A Top-Tier National Practice
26 practices ranked in the highest tier nationally
Best Law Firms, 2023
99 Attorneys and 49 Practices Recognized for Excellence
Chambers USA, 2022
Recognized for National Strength
The Legal 500, 2021