Jay Ward Brown - Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP

Jay Ward Brown

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013

Mr. Brown helped found LSKS in 1997 and currently serves as the firm’s Managing Partner. He has been representing news and entertainment companies for more than two decades and has litigated libel, privacy, copyright, subpoena, and access matters in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal and state appellate courts, and trial courts around the country.

For a number of years, Mr. Brown served as national defamation counsel to the NAACP and was privileged to accept the NAACP’s Civil Rights Champion Award, which was given to LSKS “for outstanding pro bono service and commitment to advancing civil rights and social justice.”

As a public television journalist before law school, Mr. Brown produced or wrote many of the late Fred W. Friendly’s award-winning programs on the Constitution, the press, law, and ethics. In 2007, Mr. Brown took a three-year leave from private practice to help Hiscox, a Lloyd’s of London insurance syndicate, open its U.S. claims operations. Mr. Brown headed the company’s North American media claims unit until he returned to LSKS in 2010.

University of MinnesotaBA 1984Columbia UniversityMS 1985New York University School of LawJ.D. 1992
Media Law Resource Center InstituteABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Media Privacy & Defamation Law CommitteeABA Forum on Communications LawTrinity CollegeUniversity of Maryland School of JournalismMedia Law Resource Center, Defense Counsel SectionLaw360

Case History

In re Associated Press (4th Cir. 2006) and United States v. Moussaoui, 65 F. App'x 881 (4th Cir. 2003) — Mr. Brown served as lead counsel for a coalition of national news organizations that successfully moved several times to intervene and to obtain access to the proceedings and record during the first September 11-related criminal prosecution. Among other successes, Mr. Brown persuaded the Fourth Circuit to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the trial judge to provide same-day access to trial exhibits.
Snyder v. Creative Loafing, Inc. (D.C. Super. 2011) — Mr. Brown successfully defended Washington City Paper in the defamation action filed by Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder over a profile titled “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.” After City Paper filed its motion to dismiss invoking the District of Columbia’s then-brand new anti-SLAPP statute, Snyder voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit.
Finebaum v. Coulter, 854 So.2d 1120 (Ala. 2003) — Mr. Brown served as lead counsel for Clear Channel Communications and its sports journalist Paul Finebaum in the Alabama Supreme Court in a defamation action brought by another sports broadcaster who claimed that Finebaum had, on air, implied he was homosexual. After Mr. Brown first persuaded the Supreme Court to reverse its initial refusal to hear an interlocutory appeal from a trial court order denying summary judgment, the Court reversed on the merits and rendered judgment for Finebaum.
Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001) — Mr. Brown successfully represented the media defendants in this landmark Supreme Court case arising out of the radio broadcast of a tape recording of a cell phone conversation between two teachers’ union officials. The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims under the federal wiretap act and reaffirmed the principle that the press cannot be held liable for publishing truthful information about a matter of public concern absent a governmental interest of the highest order, at least where it played no role in the source’s unlawful acquisition of the information.
Gillman v. Spitzer, 538 F. App’x 45 (2d Cir. 2013) — Mr. Brown defended former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Slate.com in a defamation action filed by a former insurance executive arising out of a piece of commentary by Gov. Spitzer regarding a series of criminal prosecutions he had initiated while attorney general. The district court granted the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings, and dismissal of the action was affirmed on appeal.

Office Location

1899 L Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2014 Lawyer of the Year in Media Law of the Washington DC Metro Area
Jay Ward Brown has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!

Practice Areas

Media Law