- The University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1986)
- Vassar College (A.B., with honors, 1983)
- ABA Forum on Communications Law (past-Governing Board)
- Communications Lawyer (past-Editorial Board; past-Editor)
- DC Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section (past-Steering Committee)
- Recognized by Best Lawyers as one of the preeminent Media Lawyers in Washington, DC
- Recognized as a Washington, DC Super Lawyer in Media and Advertising Law
- Mind the Gap: Companies Face Marketing-Related Legal Claims That Their CGL Insurance Policies No Longer Cover, Risk & Insurance (Dec. 2011) (with J. Brown)
- “Survey of DC Circuit Libel Law,” in Annual Media Libel Law Survey (Media Law Resource Center) (with M. Kelley)
- Maryland – Open Courts Compendium, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (2015)
Betsy is a founding partner of LSKS, where her practice spans a broad range of legal issues affecting the media, from the defense of defamation and privacy actions, to reporter’s privilege and subpoenas of news organizations, to copyright and related intellectual property litigation.
For more than 30 years, Betsy has represented large and small publishers and broadcasters in cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. She also serves as regular newsroom counsel for press clients, including POLITICO, Capitol News, and the Chronicles of Higher Education and Philanthropy.
The Legal 500 has hailed Betsy as “top-notch” and an “intellectually keen” attorney. She has been profiled by the ABA’s Women in Communications Law.
Prior to founding LSKS in 1997, Betsy was a partner in Ross, Dixon & Masback.
Lluberes v. Uncommon Productions, LLC, 663 F.3d 6 (1st Cir. 2011), voluntarily dismissed (2016). Betsy defended the makers of the documentary The Price of Sugar, which depicted the inhumane treatment of Haitian cane-cutters on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic, in a defamation action brought by plantation owners. In a significant decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the plaintiffs are public figures who must establish actual malice in order to prevail. Subsequently, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the litigation, with neither party paying any money and no changes being made to the film.
Murray v. Moyers, 2015 WL 5626509 (S.D. Ohio 2015). Betsy and Matt Schafer successfully defended Bill Moyers and Public Affairs Television, Inc. in a false light invasion of privacy action arising from an episode of the television program Moyers & Company. The court dismissed the case, holding that the lawsuit was untimely because, although the claim was styled as a false light claim, it was actually a disguised defamation claim subject to a shorter, one-year statute of limitations.
Nayles v. KATV (Ark. Cir. Ct. 2014). Betsy and Chad Bowman successfully defended Arkansas-based television station KATV in a suit brought by a doctor who claimed he was defamed by a news report on his reprimand by the state medical board. The court dismissed the case after the station argued for dismissal based on the wire service defense and the state’s anti-SLAPP statute.
Smartcomm, LLC v. Warren Communications News, Inc. (Ariz. Super. Ct. 2013). Betsy and Matt Kelley successfully defended Communications Daily against defamation and misappropriation of trade secrets claims over a report that raised questions about the plaintiffs’ telecommunications license preparation services. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit prior to deposition discovery in the case.
In re Subpoena to Jeffrey Goldberg, 693 F. Supp. 2d 81 (D.D.C. 2010). Betsy successfully defended a reporter in quashing a subpoena issued by the Palestinian Authority in a lawsuit brought by an Israeli settler under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act. The court reaffirmed the principle that the qualified reporter’s privilege in civil actions extends to journalistic work-product that is not confidential.
- Elizabeth C. Koch
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Bar & Court Admissions
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, and District of Columbia Circuits
- U.S. District Courts for the District of Maryland and District of Columbia