M.A. (Mike) Kautsch

Professor of Law
Primary office:
306C Green Hall

Mike Kautsch left his post as dean of the KU School of Journalism at the end of the 1996-1997 academic year to join the KU Law faculty and develop a program on Media, Law and Policy at the School of Law. The program includes a Media Law Clinic and Media Law course, as well as a certificate in Media, Law and Policy. Kautsch holds degrees in journalism and law from the University of Iowa, and he worked as a journalist for about 10 years before joining the KU journalism school in 1979. He has long worked with the media bar and engages in research and makes public presentations on the First Amendment and other topics related to media and the law. He testifies before Kansas legislative committees on media-related bills, participates annually in planning and presenting a national Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City, and chairs the Media Bar Committee of the Kansas Bar Association (KBA). His honors include a number of teaching awards and an Outstanding Service Award from the KBA (1997) in recognition of his contributions to media-bar relations. His other service activities in the state include a charter membership in the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government and six years as a gubernatorial appointee to the Kansas Humanities Council board of directors. Mike has been quoted by many major news outlets, and was recently featured in a WIBW (Topeka) story on The Montgomery Family Symposium.

Courses Taught:
  • Media Law
  • Torts
  • Copyright Law and Digital Works


Representative Publications
"Kansas Enacts Shield Law by Wide Margin," MediaLawLetter, Media Law Resource Center (April 2010, pp. 13-14); "Press Freedom and Fair Trials in Kansas: How Media and the Courts Have Struggled to Resolve Competing Claims of Constitutional Rights," 57 University of Kansas Law Review 1075 (2009); "Liability Risks Associated with Criminals' Publicity Demands," "That's My Picture! Don't Use It! Photos, Publicity Rights and the First Amendment" and "Scoping Out Change: The Future of Media and the Law," in Media, Privacy and Defamation Law Committee News, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois (Spring/Summer 2006, Winter 2007 and Spring 2007, respectively); "Judges as Newsmakers," paper for a program titled "Courts and the Media 101," National Association of Women Judges, Las Vegas, Nevada (2006); "Constitutionalizing Moral Conduct and Press Freedom: A Kansas Legacy," paper presentation, Southwest Popular Culture Association, Albuquerque, N.M. (2002); "Free Press-Fair Trial: Is the Conflict Necessary?," presentations during a seminar series in four Kansas cities, sponsored by the state Supreme Court (1996); "The Focus of Media Studies," a panel presentation during a symposium, "Media Studies at the Millennium," at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center, Columbia University in New York, New York (1991); "Kansas Legislators and the Kansas Capitol Press Corps: Good News and Bad," in "Politics and Government in Kansas, Selected Essays" Capitol Complex Center, Topeka, Kansas (1989) (originally a monograph used in a Kansas legislative development program).

Research Interests
Media and the law, the First and Sixth Amendments, tort reform.

J.D., B.A., Iowa, 1971, 1968.

Iowa 1971.

Career History
Assistant Professor, Journalism, University of Kansas (1979-85); Research Fellow in Residence, Gannett Center (later Freedom Forum) for Media Studies, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. (1985-86); Associate Professor (1985-92), Professor (1992-97) and Dean (1987-97), Journalism, University of Kansas; summer Knight International Press Fellow, University of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica (1996, supported by the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C.); Visiting Professor, Law, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Fall 2007); Professor, Law, University of Kansas (1997-present).

Kansas Bar Association; Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; American Bar Association; American Intellectual Property Law Association; American Inns of Court.

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks and treatises
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 34 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,600+ alumni in all 50 states, D.C., and 21 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 20th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 80 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • More than 600 employment interviews at law school, 2014-15
  • 92 percent overall employment rate for Class of 2014 – top 20 percent nationally
  • 23rd: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at nation’s largest law firms
  • #1 in Kansas and Missouri for July 2015 bar exam performance