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Media & First Amendment

BHH lawyers have been involved in some of the highest-profile media litigation in Illinois over the past 25 years, whether defending the rights of hard-hitting investigative journalism, reality tv programming, or radio talk shows or helping journalists gain access to the courtroom to cover legal proceedings in nationally covered cases such as the Jason Van Dyke murder trial.


BHH has defended dozens of media companies, non-media companies, and individuals in defamation cases. We also have experience defending the other claims such as false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with contract. We resolve cases as quickly and easily as possible to avoid the chilling effects and expense of discovery, and we have achieved several notable victories on motions to dismiss, including anti-SLAPP, and motions for summary judgment.


We have experience with a variety of access matters from Freedom of Information Act/open records counseling and litigation, in court, through trial and appeal, and at the administrative level, to access to hearings, to access to court records, to contesting gag orders. 

We have represented several media organizations in the Jason Van Dyke case as well as the companion March case. We have experience with FOIA/open records matters in numerous states including Illinois, Wisconsin, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Iowa, as well as federal FOIA. We represent media companies in FOIA/open records matters as well as non-media organizations such as data companies, hedge funds, and other businesses. We have also assisted with several amicus briefs in media access disputes.

Pre-Publication Review  

We are proud to have worked with journalists, creators, and editors on stories with national and international impact. We review newspaper stories, magazine articles, broadcast scripts, book manuscripts, and other creative works. In each matter, we employ a practical approach to vetting and balancing mitigation of risk with pushing the envelope to allow clients to publish groundbreaking stories. We also have experience with political advertising review.

Operational Counseling

With in-house experience at major media companies, our team conducts a wide range of the day-to-day legal work for these clients. We draft and revise privacy policies and terms of use, as well as counsel clients on compliance issues with their policies. Our experience also includes agreements relating to operational aspects of a media business, particularly in the digital space, including software-as-a-service (SAAS), technology licensing, technology consulting, remnant advertising, ad network, e-commerce, sponsorships, including sports sponsorships, and content licensing.


We represent book authors, on-air talent, and other creative professionals. We also counsel creators regarding rights issues and right-of-publicity issues for entertainment properties.

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