POWERFUL ADVOCATES

First Amendment and Transparency Practice

LEADERSHIP: Amy B. Ginensky

We have deep knowledge of First Amendment principles. We understand journalism. We share our clients’ passion for conveying important information to the public. And we bring that knowledge and passion to every client, in addressing every problem.

Lawyers in the First Amendment and Transparency Practice of Pepper Hamilton LLP have successfully represented publishers, broadcasters and other media entities throughout the country in First Amendment, defamation and privacy suits, and have fought for their clients to obtain access to information.

Meeting the Needs of Clients

Pepper lawyers have handled countless matters for media clients in state and federal courts. We have tried jury cases in which powerful people, with much social and political influence, have been the opponents. We have gone to court on numerous access matters to obtain information the press needed immediately. We also have represented reporters faced with contempt proceedings, who have refused to testify, or otherwise aroused the ire of a judge.

Members of the Transparency Practice work closely with news organizations to obtain information from the government at the local, national and international level. Assisting journalists with obtaining information, through requests, negotiation and, if necessary litigation, is important to our clients and to us, as these sources of information are critical to reporting and keeping governments transparent.

Publishers, broadcasters and information providers have special needs. Pepper’s First Amendment and Transparency Practice, which includes several former journalists, provides fast, responsive advice from a group of lawyers who bring a depth of experience to the wide range of issues faced by these clients.

Our representation of media and communications companies includes:

  • trial of major defamation and privacy matters
  • pre-publication vetting
  • assistance in obtaining access to information
  • representation of reporters in subpoena matters
  • federal and state trial and appellate litigation of newsgathering issues
  • strategic advice to internet content and service providers on defamation and privacy issues
  • sound advice regarding intellectual property rights

Defamation and Privacy Litigation

Pepper lawyers have a reputation for litigating high-profile defamation and privacy claims brought by powerful public officials and well-known personalities. Our lawyers have successfully handled claims brought by justices and judges, law enforcement officials, mayors, legislators and a variety of public and private figures. Handling hundreds of such claims for a variety of clients enables us to draw upon a wealth of experience and offer first-rate, efficient representation to our clients.

Due to our trial and appellate experience, national and local media clients have selected us to handle their significant matters. We take pride in our ability to use our knowledge of First Amendment principles and our understanding of journalism in presentations to judges and juries.

Transparency Practice

Pepper lawyers have helped unlock documents public officials have sought to keep secret and opened courtrooms in significant criminal and civil cases. We have litigated numerous open records cases and courtroom access issues. We provide sound advice on how to craft freedom of information requests, and assist clients in negotiating release of information short of litigation. We train news organizations on the myriad aspects of the law and give hands-on advice on drafting effective requests for public records. The goal of the practice is to ensure that all those using these complex laws understand the rules of the road, how to use public records requests to full advantage, and make sure they obtain all that the laws require.

Newsroom Representation

We provide all of the other legal assistance publishers and broadcasters need to perform their jobs, including pre-publication and pre-broadcast vetting, protecting sources of news and providing advice regarding the handling of claims for clarifications, and challenging statutes that threaten our clients’ newsgathering and publication rights. Experienced attorneys are available 24 hours a day to respond to questions or concerns so that our clients can meet their deadlines.

Representative Clients

Our lawyers have represented, among others, the following:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Philadelphia Daily News
  • Philly.com
  • NBC
  • The Tribune Company
  • Journal Register Company
  • MediaNews Group
  • Inner City Broadcasting Corp.
  • LNP (formerly Lancaster Newspapers)
  • ProPublica