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First Amendment

Client and Industry Challenges

Companies, public and private organizations and individuals facing complex disputes involving content-based and viewpoint discrimination, defamation, libel, campaign and election issues, privacy concerns and associational rights need counsel well-versed and experienced in First Amendment principals to provide sound, sophisticated and personalized legal service.

Snell & Wilmer’s First Amendment practice group provides counseling and litigation services in all aspects of free speech law. Our firm has a strong and long-standing commitment to constitutional and public policy issues, and we regularly counsel clients across the political spectrum on federal and state constitutional, election and policy concerns. We work closely with our clients to defend their rights and accomplish their legal and business goals.

Areas of Service

Our First Amendment legal services include counseling in the areas of:

  • Freedom of information and open meeting laws - preparing and/or responding to information requests, subpoenas and advice on the statutory obligations of organizations subject to these laws
  • Rights of association - protecting nonprofit organizations and political parties from unlawful interference
  • Content-based and viewpoint discrimination - identifying and remedying government discrimination against viewpoints or types of speech, including hate crimes
  • National and state campaign finance and election practices - assisting with political campaign organization, formation of independent expenditure entities, compliance with campaign contribution limits, and navigating enforcement proceedings
  • Religious liberties - identifying and remedying unlawful discrimination against certain faiths and attempts to impose impermissible limits in religious or anti-religious communications
  • Prior restraint - evaluation and response to attempts to suppress free speech
  • Commercial free speech and related intellectual property issues - protecting speech in economic markets from unlawful government interference, and managing issues arising from the evolving boundary between First Amendment and laws governing unfair competition, trademark, trade dress, deceptive advertising, cyberpiracy and dilution of intangible property rights

Our attorneys advise clients, manage correction and retraction demands, and litigate free speech issues in federal and state court.  Attorneys in the First Amendment practice group help draft legislation and testify before legislative committees on the constitutional implications of proposed laws and file amicus curiae briefs with courts in cases with significant constitutional ramifications.

Clients We Serve

Snell & Wilmer’s First Amendment attorneys provide counsel to a broad range of media clients, including print and online publishers and newspapers, broadcasters and individual authors and journalists. We also represent non-media business, interest groups and individual clients on libel, invasion of privacy, public information, political speech, political association and commercial speech matters.

Why Clients Select Us

Depth and Breadth of Experience: With more than ten attorneys across six offices focusing on the area of First Amendment law, we have the experience necessary to address our client’s most important and complex First Amendment legal issues. Should it become necessary, our First Amendment attorneys can rely on the experience and connections of attorneys within our firm who concentrate their practice in areas such as commercial litigation, business and finance, white collar defense, data privacy and security, and government relations.

Invested in Our Clients: Our First Amendment group strives to develop a thorough institutional knowledge of our clients’ business and legal concerns in order to effectively address their challenges and to keep projects on track. We work hard to bring disputes to practical resolutions and work closely with our clients to identify the most effective strategies for timely, cost-efficient and positive results. Our attorneys also make it a priority to stay abreast of professional trends and new or amended First Amendment related laws.

Experience

Snell & Wilmer’s First Amendment practice group has experience in representing:

  • Media in defamation and information access litigation
  • Media in criminal matters and those involving alleged trespass and other tortious conduct
  • Media in prior restraint and discovery proceedings brought by political candidates and others
  • Companies and political organizations claiming damage from inaccurate media reports
  • Media production companies in injunction proceedings seeking to stop distribution and advertising
  • Public companies claiming loss of market capitalization from inaccurate media reports
  • Individuals and organizations seeking access to public records
  • Individuals and organizations in defamation and privacy matters
  • Non-profit organizations seeking to protect confidential information from media demands
  • Political candidates and groups in defamation, false advertising and campaign finance disputes
  • Public and quasi-public institutions in disputes over time, place and manner restrictions
  • Public companies confronting, among other things, commercial/free speech issues involving consumer comment, competitive advertising, and trademark/trade dress infringement