Largest Media Law Practice in New England
Prince Lobel is home to the largest media law practice group in New England. We represent newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasters, book publishers, cable television operators, advertising agencies, public relations firms, and Internet sites and content providers — as well as reporters, editors, producers, authors, and artists. Several of our lawyers have worked as print reporters, editors, or in broadcast journalism.
The depth of our practice group, and our familiarity with the field, ensure that we have a team of experienced lawyers available at all times to respond to our clients’ needs, under breaking deadlines when necessary.
Our media and First Amendment law practice includes:
- Defending libel, invasion of privacy, newsgathering and other lawsuits
- Conducting prepublication and prebroadcast reviews
- Responding to subpoenas, including confidential source issues
- Preserving access to courtrooms and public records
- Assisting with newsrack, distribution, and circulation disputes
- Drafting and negotiating freelance agreements
- Training in libel prevention and other risk avoidance
In keeping with the firm’s commitment to stay up-to-the minute on legal trends and issues, our media law attorneys have developed a robust practice addressing myriad legal issues arising from the use of social media in the workplace. Firm attorneys will help companies develop social media strategies, work with them to safeguard issues of privacy, provide staff and management training to address employment-related concerns, and provide expert counsel to avoid potential litigation. The prevalence of social media and its use in the workplace has forced employers to act quickly and strategically to develop best practices that are ideally suited to their particular business, marketing, and communications needs. Click here for a PDF of the full menu of Prince Lobel’s capabilities in this area.
The firm also specializes in serving the labor and employment needs of our media clients. Additionally, we work with other practices within the firm to address the special intellectual property, insurance, business and corporate needs of the media.
At Prince Lobel, we practice media law because of our personal commitment to First Amendment values. We are dedicated to serving the interests of our media clients, and we care about the larger community as well. Our lawyers staff a daily hotline for the New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA), providing prepublication review and other legal guidance to more than 450 newspapers throughout New England. In 2005, we founded the New England Media Law Group, comprised of media lawyers throughout New England who meet regularly to discuss current legal developments. We also have an active pro bono practice.
The firm belongs to the defense counsel section of the Media Law Resource Center, and works with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Student Press Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Our lawyers are active in the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law, the ABA’s Media and Defamation Torts Committee, the Media Law Resource Center, the Magazine Publishers of America’s Legal Affairs Committee, Women in Communications Law, and Massachusetts Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Our group members frequently speak, write, and teach on media and intellectual property law topics, including presentations to such groups as the Practising Law Institute, the City and Regional Magazine Association, the American Society of Magazine Editors, NENPA, Business Wire, and other organizations. Our partners speak regularly at colleges and universities throughout the region, and one of our partners has been teaching First Amendment litigation at Boston College Law School for many years. We have authored articles for the Media Law Resource Center (on media libel and employment defamation law), the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (on reporter’s privilege and public records law), and the Practising Law Institute (on access law).
Three of the lawyers in our group have been named as “Super Lawyers” or “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers magazine; three are also listed in “Best Lawyers in America” under First Amendment, Media, and Communications law.
In the inaugural “Best Law Firms” survey published in U.S. News and Best Lawyers, Prince Lobel’s Media Law practice group received a Tier 1 ranking for metropolitan Boston. Survey respondents, comprised of clients and leading lawyers, were asked to rate the law firms they consider best in their practice area.
In February 2010, Rob Bertsche was a featured speaker and workshop participant at the annual NENPA convention. Rob presented the topic Internet and Media Law, where he led a discussion on the impact the Internet is having on issues such as information security, telemarketing, copyright, privacy, public notices, and e-commerce. Rob also participated in a workshop titled,From Full-Time to Freelance: Has Cost Cutting Provided More Freedom With Writers and Photographers? Participants discussed how the increased use of freelancers vs. full-time employees is impacting copyright law, deadlines, copy editing systems, beat structures, and coverage. Click here to access the audio of both these presentations.
For more information on Prince Lobel’s media law or intellectual property and Internet law practices, please contact Robert A. Bertsche at rbertsche@PrinceLobel.com or 617 456 8018 or Joseph D. Steinfield at jsteinfield@PrinceLobel.com or 617 456 8015.
- Investigative news broadcast – A team of lawyers led by Joe Steinfield represented Fox Television and its investigative reporters in three high profile cases brought by the Islamic Society of Boston and members of its Board of Directors. The suits included defamation, privacy, and civil rights claims based on investigative reports dealing with the construction of a new mosque and possible connections with radical Islamic individuals and groups. After two years of litigation, plaintiffs withdrew all claims without receipt of any consideration.
- Libel by juxtaposition – Rob Bertsche and Amy Serino successfully moved in federal court to dismiss libel and false light invasion of privacy claims against a prominent regional magazine. The claims arose out of the publication of the teenage plaintiff’s photograph accompanying an article on teen sexuality.
- Prepublication and prebroadcast review – Prince Lobel media lawyers regularly conduct prepublication review for newspapers throughout New England, for magazines ranging in scope from regional to international, as well as prebroadcast review for a prominent regional cable network.
- Lifting a gag order – We intervened on behalf of The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Associated Press, successfully moving to vacate a court-ordered prior restraint that had enjoined publication of the (previously disclosed) name of the complaining witness in a high-profile clergy sexual abuse prosecution.
- Talk show torts – Rob Bertsche and Jeff Pyle succeeded in Massachusetts Superior Court on a motion to dismiss tort claims against a nationally syndicated talk show, broadcast network, and Boston television station, arising out of a Jenny Jones show that advocated “boot camp” for wayward children.
- Libel by cartoon? – Prince Lobel attorneys defended a nationally syndicated cartoonist against a sportscaster’s claim that he was libeled by words uttered by a talking dog in a cartoon strip.
- Corporate deals -Prince Lobel’s business lawyers negotiated an acquisition valued at up to $100 million for a prominent United Kingdom publisher, Euromoney Institutional Investor. They also rewrote the bylaws of a storied daily newspaper with national circulation.
- Insurance – Prince Lobel’s insurance lawyers assisted a high-profile New York media company in assessing its insurance coverage needs and reviewing and negotiating the policies offered to it by brokers.