- Yale Law School (J.D. 1992)
- Duke University (B.A. 1986)
- ABA Forum on Communications Law, Governing Committee
- Media Law Resource Center, Defense Counsel Section (past-President)
- Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, published by Southwestern Law School (Co-Editor)
- Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association (Board of Trustees)
- University of Maryland Law School, Adjunct Professor, Free Press Seminar (2006-Present)
- Media Law Resource Center (past-Chair of the Model Shield Law Task Force and the New Legal Developments Committee)
- University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, Adjunct Professor (1994-1996)
- Recognized by Best Lawyers as one of the preeminent First Amendment and Media lawyers in Washington, DC
- Ranked by Chambers USA as a top media lawyer in Washington, DC
- Recognized as a Washington, DC Super Lawyer in Media and Advertising Law
- Recognized by The Washingtonian magazine as a top media lawyer in the District of Columbia
- Featured in The Legal 500 as part of the nation’s top-ranked First Amendment law practice
- Handcuffing the Press: First Amendment Limitations on the Reach of Criminal Statutes as Applied to the Media, 55 New York Law School Law Review 1015 (2011) (with L. Levine and J. Bead)
- Publication Damages in Newsgathering Cases, Communications Lawyer (Spring 2001)
- Commentary, Newsgathering and Privacy Rights, 1999 Annual Survey of American Law 207
Nathan represents media clients in First Amendment, intellectual property, and entertainment law cases in trial and appellate courts throughout the country. He also provides pre-broadcast and pre-publication counseling to a wide range of print and web publishers, television networks, and film producers.
Clients call on Nathan to represent them in many of the nation’s most high-profile media matters. For example, over the past decade, Nathan has represented either the broadcast media or the video game industry in every major case that tests the publicity rights of athletes in video games and television sports broadcasts. He has successfully represented multiple major media clients such as ABC News, CBS News, and ESPN in defamation lawsuits, often brought by celebrity or political personalities.
His entertainment practice includes representing producers and broadcasters of reality television programs such as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Wife Swap in the defense of right of publicity lawsuits, as well as the producers of award-winning documentaries like NY Med and Under the Gun. Nathan also regularly defends the news media against government efforts to curtail or punish journalism, including advising The Guardian concerning its reporting about documents released by WikiLeaks, defending New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun journalists resisting subpoenas for confidential sources, and obtaining access to information for news organizations in high-profile criminal matters such as the trial of “Scooter” Libby and the special prosecutor’s investigation of former President Clinton. Nathan has also litigated numerous copyright and trademark disputes, including successfully defending ABC News in several novel lawsuits testing the limits of doctrines such as fair use and equitable estoppel.
Chambers USA has reported that Nathan has been praised for having “one of the most impressive legal minds I’ve ever encountered” and being “the ideal guy to go to with a complicated question that looks impossible to answer.” Indeed, Best Lawyers has reported that “Nathan marries an encyclopedic knowledge of the law with a practical, client-friendly approach to each matter.” Nathan is a past President of the Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center, the largest national organization of media defense counsel, and is a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law.
Prior to joining LSKS, Nathan served as in-house litigation counsel at ABC, Inc., where he supervised the defense of ABC News in the landmark Food Lion v. ABC case and many other matters. He is resident in the firm’s Washington, DC office, and also regularly practices from the firm’s New York office.
Marshall v. ESPN, --- Fed. App’x --- (6th Cir. 2016). Nathan successfully represented ESPN and led the media’s defense of a class action lawsuit asserting that college athletes have a right of publicity in the broadcast of television sports games. The Sixth Circuit’s landmark decision effectively ended years of efforts by athletes to claim publicity rights in sports broadcasts.
Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group, 783 F.3d 1328 (D.C. Cir. 2015). Nathan successfully represented the author of a commentary published in Foreign Policy in a defamation lawsuit brought by Yasser Abbas, a son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The case was the first appellate ruling in the District of Columbia to hold that questions are not potentially defamatory assertions of fact.
Chanko v. ABC, 27 N.Y.3d 46 (2016). Nathan successfully secured ABC’s dismissal in a case that attracted national attention as a key test of the clash between patient privacy and free press rights. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims for intentional infliction of emotion distress and invasion of privacy brought by the family of a patient whose treatment was depicted in the ABC documentary series NY Med.
Leach v. James, 455 S.W.3d 171 (Tex. Ct. App. 2014). Nathan successfully represented ESPN before Texas trial and appellate courts in a high-profile suit filed by former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach. The defamation, tortious interference, and civil conspiracy case against ESPN arose from its reporting about allegations that Leach had mistreated a student-athlete and claims that ESPN was responsible for Leach’s subsequent termination from Texas Tech. After the trial court granted summary judgment to ESPN on all claims and Leach appealed the dismissal of his tortious inference claim, the court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision.
Joseph v. Daily News Publishing Co., Inc., 57 V.I. 566 (2012). Nathan successfully argued an appeal in the Virgin Islands Supreme Court, affirming summary judgment for the Virgin Islands Daily News in a defamation suit brought by a public official arising out of a newspaper’s reporting about questionable health inspections of island restaurants. The case was one of the first defamation-law precedents handed down by the newly established Supreme Court.
Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2005). Nathan successfully defended a defamation suit brought in Montana by daredevil Evel Knievel concerning material published on the website EXPN.com. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed in a decision that is often cited as a precedent permitting courts to consider multiple layers of website content on a motion to dismiss.
- Nathan Siegel
- 1899 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Bar & Court Admissions
- New York
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits
- U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia, the District of Maryland, and the Southern and Northern Districts of New York