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Media & the Law Seminar

Each year, the University of Kansas School of Law and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Media Law Committee host the Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City, along with other local events, to facilitate and encourage dialogue about the latest legal issues and developments in media, law and technology.

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We are pleased to offer a special 1 hour CLE webinar on September 9, 2020 2-3 p.m. CDT, titled “From Ferguson to George Floyd to Portland: Protesters, Police, and the Journalists in the Middle.” Please see the panel information below. We are also currently planning the 34th Annual Media and the Law Seminar for April 15-16, 2021.

Each year, the University of Kansas School of Law and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association's Media Law Committee sponsor the Media and the Law Seminar in Kansas City to facilitate national dialogue about the latest legal issues and developments in media, law, and technology. For lawyers who attend, the seminar is an opportunity to identify and assess laws and court rulings that affect expressive freedom and to examine professional standards and practices for effective First Amendment advocacy. The seminar also is open to non-lawyers, including students and teachers. For them, the seminar is an opportunity to enrich their understanding of government actions and technological developments that may impede or advance citizens' exercise of their First Amendment rights.

From Ferguson to George Floyd to Portland
Protesters, Police, and the Journalists in the Middle

September 9, 2020
2-3 p.m. CDT

As occurred in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, protests and related unrest in 2020 are exposing tensions between police and protesters, with the media caught in the middle. And this year a combative president and attorney general, and some aggressive homeowners, have contributed new tensions.

How can the first amendment rights of protesters and the media be protected in this volatile situation, both legally and practically? We examined these issues in 2015, but they have re-emerged in 2020. The protests following George Floyd’s death, like those in Ferguson, reveal a collision between black-letter constitutional law and realities on the street. The panel will discuss both existing and proposed laws, as well as the practical realities and strategies for those seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights. Among other things, this webinar will cover the following:

  1. What rights do journalists have to cover protests in public settings?
  2. When may the police arrest protesters or journalists while covering protests?
  3. Are police practices impeding the First Amendment rights of protesters and journalists?
  4. How can the courts effectively and timely address journalists’ needs?
  5. What practical strategies, legislation or other techniques can help protesters and journalists more effectively exercise their First Amendment rights?

Attendees can earn one hour of CLE credit (approved in Kansas and Missouri). For other states, we will provide a letter of attendance.

Moderator:

Mark Sableman, Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP

Mark is a trial lawyer, having spent many months in federal and state courtrooms trying business, media and intellectual property cases. But he recognizes that most cases are resolved out of court, and he directs his practice toward resolving disputes quickly and effectively through correspondence, direct negotiations and alternative dispute resolution techniques.

Mark litigates copyright, trademark, advertising, libel, privacy, unfair competition and trade secret cases, as well as technology and Internet-related claims. He advises clients on intellectual property, media, technology and Internet issues.

Panelists:

Scott Olson, News Photographer, Getty Images

  • Scott Olson has been working as a photojournalist for more than 30 years, for the past 17 years as a staff news photographer with Getty Images. Scott’s assignments have him regularly covering politics, including several presidential campaigns. He regularly covers natural disasters and has covered several major hurricanes. He has covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eastern Ukraine and Haiti. He has also covered protests across the United States including the protests following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the oil pipeline protest camp at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, and, most recently, the protests and riots in Minneapolis, Minnesota following the death of George Floyd. During his work covering protests Scott has been assaulted by both police and demonstrators and has twice been arrested but, on both occasions, the charges were later dropped. Scott’s work has appeared on the front pages of newspapers, the covers of books and magazines, and in documentary films. His work covering demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri was featured on the covers of TIME, BusinessWeek and the Atlantic during the same month. 

Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County Board, Chicago, IL

  • Toni Preckwinkle is the 35th president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, an office she has held since 2010. A dedicated and effective public servant, President Preckwinkle has worked tirelessly and collaboratively to reshape County government through increased fiscal responsibility, transparency and improved services.

    As the top executive in Cook County, President Preckwinkle oversees one of the nation’s largest public health and hospitals systems and one of the nation’s largest criminal justice systems. President Preckwinkle is a lifelong advocate for equity and equality, and through her work as president, has fought to improve health care access, bring increased fairness to the criminal justice system and expand employment training opportunities for some of the County’s most disadvantaged youth.

    Leveraging more than 30 years of political experience and leadership, President Preckwinkle has restored credibility to County government, solving for more than $2.1 billion in budget deficits, cutting $851 million in expenditures and passing balanced budgets each year of her tenure. Through the President’s leadership, Cook County used the Affordable Care Act to create CountyCare, a managed care program for Medicaid-eligible residents which now has about 330,000 members.

    President Preckwinkle is a nationally recognized leader in the drive to reduce unnecessary and costly detention of non-violent offenders in the criminal justice system. The pretrial population at the Cook County Jail has been reduced by more than 30 percent since she took office in 2010 and in 2017, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Cook County one of its highly competitive Safety and Justice grants in recognition of the County’s progress in criminal justice reform and to support its continued efforts.

Blake Strode, Executive Director, ArchCity Defenders

  • Blake Strode is the Executive Director of ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit holistic legal advocacy organization in St. Louis, Missouri that combats the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color. Blake is a native of the St. Louis region and joined ArchCity as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 2015. Blake attended the University of Arkansas and majored in International Economics and Spanish.  

    Before stepping into the role as Executive Director, Blake helped to establish the Civil Rights Litigation unit at ArchCity, which has brought challenges to a variety of unlawful and predatory practices including debtors' prisons, police misconduct, and inhumane jail conditions, among others. In the past few years, Blake and his colleagues have filed more than 50 civil rights cases in state and federal court, impacting upwards of 40,000 people in the St. Louis region. Blake also played a significant role in the class-action debtors' prison case against the City of Jennings, Missouri that reached a $4.75 million final settlement in December 2016. The landmark case provides a blueprint for permanent legal reform in the region's courts and afforded monetary relief to hundreds of individuals who were jailed because of their inability to pay court debts.  

    As Executive Director, Blake manages ArchCity’s growing and talented staff; explores new opportunities for advocacy and systemic litigation; communicates the work and mission of ACD to students, supporters, fellow advocates, and media; and works with the Board and leadership to set the strategic direction for the organization. Blake has spoken on panels throughout the country and has authored columns and essays for publication on issues of race, policing, and criminal justice. He and Kayla Reed (Executive Director of Action St. Louis) co-host a podcast called “Under the Arch,” which explores issues impacting communities in St. Louis and the people fighting to transform them. Blake’s leadership has garnered several accolades including the 2020 Missouri Lawyers Media Legal Champion, 2019 Bellow-Charn Champions of Justice Emerging Leader Award from the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, and the 2019 FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Alumni Award. 

Leita Walker, Partner, Ballard Spahr

  • Leita Walker is a litigator in the firm's Media and Entertainment Law Group. She has more than a decade of experience defending news organizations in libel litigation and in press and public access matters for governmental and judicial records. Leita's First Amendment practice includes defending privacy and right of publicity claims, and advising clients on subpoenas and privilege issues, copyright law, and state and federal Freedom of Information Act laws. She advises organizations across various industries on advertising claim substantiation and on compliance laws, industry guidelines, and best practices that govern marketing strategies, campaigns, and the use of consumers' personally identifiable information.

CLE Materials

Note to Media and the Law webinar attendees: Below is a description of the panel topics plus an outline of written materials that are available by hyperlink.

From Ferguson to George Floyd to Portland
Protesters, Police, and the Journalists in the Middle

A Media and the Law CLE webinar
September 9, 2020

As occurred in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, protests and related unrest in 2020 are exposing tensions between police and protesters, with the media caught in the middle. And this year a combative president and attorney general, and some aggressive homeowners, have contributed new tensions.

How can the first amendment rights of protesters and the media be protected in this volatile situation, both legally and practically? We examined these issues in 2015, but they have re-emerged in 2020. The protests following George Floyd’s death, like those in Ferguson, reveal a collision between black-letter constitutional law and realities on the street. The panel will discuss both existing and proposed laws, as well as the practical realities and strategies for those seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights. Among other things, this webinar will cover the following:

  1. What rights do journalists have to cover protests in public settings?
  2. When may the police arrest protesters or journalists while covering protests?
  3. Are police practices impeding the First Amendment rights of protesters and journalists?
  4. How can the courts effectively and timely address journalists’ needs?
  5. What practical strategies, legislation or other techniques can help protesters and journalists more effectively exercise their First Amendment rights?

I. American Civil Liberties Union, Know Your Rights: Demonstrations and Protests

II. Journalist Safety

III. Goyette v. City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Class Action Complaint (PDF No. 2)

IV. Abdullah v. County of St. Louis, Missouri

  • A. Order Granting Preliminary Injunction (PDF No. 3), 52 F.Supp.3d 936
  • B. Order on Joint Motion for Permanent Injunction (PDF No. 4), 2015 WL 5638064

V. Ahmed v. City of St. Louis, Missouri

  • A. Order Granting Preliminary Injunction (PDF No. 5), 2017 WL 5478410
  • B. Order Granting Second Amended Motion to Certify Class (PDF No. 6), 2019 WL 2009589
  • C. Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Stay (PDF No. 7), 2019 WL 3068046

VI. Thomas v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, Second Amended Complaint (PDF No. 8)

VII. Langford v. City of St. Louis, Missouri, Order Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (PDF No. 9) 2020 WL 1227347

VIII. Index Newspapers, LLC v. United States Marshall Service, et. al., Order Granting Administrative Stay

Thank you to our seminar contributors!

We are extremely grateful to the following contributors of the 2020 seminar, whose generosity has allowed the seminar to weather the cancellation of the 2020 event and move forward with the 2021 seminar.

  • AXIS Insurance
  • Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Duane Morris
  • Fox Rothchild LLP
  • Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally, LLP
  • Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Lathrop GPM
  • Mandell Menkes LLC
  • OneBeacon Entertainment
  • Prince Lobel Tye LLP
  • Satterlee Stephens LLP
  • Thomas & LoCicero PL
  • University of Kansas School of Law Media, Law and Technology Program
  • Vedder Price
  • Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP

Payment is required at the time of registration. Only registrations accompanied with payment will be accepted. Please register in advance. Fees include continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

Online registration is preferred, but if you need to register by phone, you can call one of our Registration Specialists at the number below:

Register by Phone
785-864-5823 or 877-404-5823 (toll free)

Register by TDD
800-766-3777

Past Seminars

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2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

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