Insight

An Interview With Jean-Paul Jassy of Jassy Vick Carolan

The 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" winner for First Amendment Law in Los Angeles speaks about his career highlights.

Meet the Attorney Who Represented Mark Boal
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

November 7, 2018 12:39 PM

When Mark Boal, producer of the podcast “Serial” and films “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker,” sued the U.S. government in 2016, it was to protect his First Amendment rights. After his taped interviews with dishonorably discharged U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl were subpoenaed, Boal took a stand—and won, with the help of his attorney, Jean-Paul Jassy.

“I think the First Amendment is the backbone of our democracy,” Jassy said, taking a moment from his busy practice at Los Angeles law firm Jassy Vick Carolan to discuss Boal’s case, and others. “Without free speech, without a free press, we don’t have real freedom, and we don’t have the information that we need to select our government representatives and to make the decisions we need to make in a democracy. For me, in my career, it’s helped me a lot to feel good about and believe in the work that I do. To feel like you’re doing something that helps society. If you have that in you, it can help carry you a long way.”

Jassy came into First Amendment law on the advice of his former professor and mentor, Erwin Chemerinsky. After a few years practicing with a firm that got a lot of First Amendment cases, Jassy started his own firm in 2007. Since then, he’s seen the law adapt to new mediums and put to new uses. When asked to give an example of one area in media that is opening new avenues between the newsroom and the courtroom, Jassy points to the rise of data-driven journalism.

“Journalists are relying on large amounts of data and processing that and writing really important, impactful stories about it. A lot of times that data needs to come from a government agency. One of the things we do is help journalists and media companies try to get data from government agencies so that they can write these stories, for example.”

Jassy praises First Amendment law for maintaining its consistency and fundamental principles amid the frenzied speed at which media industry operates to cover the daily churn of politics. When asked how has First Amendment law changed over the years, “Some of it is new, but a lot of it is the same, classic law that gets applied to a new medium,” Jassy said. “You’ll have a defamation case that, 25 years ago, might have been just about print media, and now it’s on the internet. The law, obviously, evolves all the time, but it may be the same principles, the same law.”

Related Articles

The Legal Resource Guide for Activists


by Best Lawyers

Help is available for those on the front lines fighting for justice.

Legal Help for Protesters

What Are the Anti-Protest Laws in the U.S.?


by Jim Owen

The First Amendment includes the right to assemble. But how are the rules surrounding protesting changing?

Anti-Protest Laws in the U.S.

Internet Speech in the Crosshairs


by Ari Holtzblatt and Jamie Gorelick

Charges of anti-right bias notwithstanding, online platforms are on solid ground when they defend their policies and procedures as neutral and protected by the First Amendment.

Is Internet Speech Protected?

In the News Weekly Roundup: Los Angeles Times Wins First Amendment Fight


by Best Lawyers

A roundup of recent news of listed lawyers across the country.

Los Angeles Times Wins First Amendment Fight

Michael Baughman, Pennsylvania’s 2018 Lawyer of the Year in Media Law


by Abigail Rowe

An interview with Michael Baughman, who was recognized with the 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" award in media law.

Michael Baughman, Pennsylvania’s 2018 Lawyer

In the News: Georgia


by Nicole Ortiz

A summary of newsworthy content from Colorado lawyers and law firms.

In the News Georgia 2018

Trending Articles

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: The Best Lawyers Honorees Behind the Litigation


by Gregory Sirico

Best Lawyers takes a look at the recognized legal talent representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in their ongoing defamation trial.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Announcing The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from the United Kingdom.

The Best Lawyers in The United Kingdom 2023

Announcing The Best Lawyers in France™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from France.

Blue, white and red strips

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Germany™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Germany.

Black, red and yellow stripes

Education by Trial: Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom


by Margo Pierce

The intricacies of complex lawsuits require extensive knowledge of the legal precedent. But they also demand a high level of skill in every discipline needed to succeed at trial, such as analyzing technical reports and deposing expert witnesses.

Cultivating Legal Expertise in the Courtroom

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Belgium™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Belgium.

Black, yellow and red stripes

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in France

We Are Women, We Are Fearless


by Deborah S. Chang and Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers is a female owned and operated law firm specializing in civil litigation, catastrophic energy, wrongful death and product liability.

Athea Trial Law Female Leadership and Success

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms, including our inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch recipients.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Germany

U.K. Introduces Revisions to Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules


by Gregory Sirico

Right-to-Work Scheme and Immigration Rules in

What If Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Had a Premarital Agreement?


by John M. Goralka

Oh, the gritty details we’re learning from the latest court battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. This unfortunate airing of dirty laundry may have been avoided with a prenup. Should you think about getting one yourself?

What If Johnny Depp & Amber Heard Had Prenup?

Destiny Fulfilled


by Sara Collin

Was Angela Reddock-Wright destined to become a lawyer? It sure seems that way. Yet her path was circuitous. This accomplished employment attorney, turned mediator, arbitrator and ADR specialist nonpareil discusses her career, the role of attorneys in society, the new world of post-pandemic work and why new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson represents the future.

Interview with Lawyer Angela Reddock-Wright

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?