Jim concentrates his practice on counseling and litigating on behalf of media clients in matters involving defamation and other content liability, newsgathering, access to government information and proceedings, and subpoenas of journalists.
Among other clients, Jim provides extensive representation to Freedom Communications, Inc. on First Amendment and related matters, including serving as senior outside media law counsel to The Orange County Register. He routinely handles a variety of content matters for media entities including the pre-publication review of articles and editorials and responses to retraction demands.
Jim also represents media organizations in connection with significant legislative and policy matters at the local, state and federal levels and has appeared before committees in Congress and state legislatures. He co-authored Maintaining an Informed Democracy, the authoritative policy paper that leading national media organizations submitted to the Clinton Administration and on which the Administration based key elements of its public information policies.
Jim began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable William Garwood, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and practiced law at Ross Dixon & Masback, L.L.P. before becoming a founding partner of LSKS in 1997.
Harte-Hanks Communications v. Connaughton, 491 U.S. 657 (1989). Jim, Lee Levine, and Michael Sullivan represented the newspaper defendant in the United States Supreme Court in a defamation action arising from a news report alleging that a judicial candidate acted unethically. The Court held that, for the candidate to prevail, he had to demonstrate that the newspaper did more than merely depart from professional standards in reporting the story. The Court also reaffirmed the principle that appellate courts must independently review the record in defamation actions instituted by public officials or public figures.
People v. Vasco, 131 Cal. App. 4th 137 (2005). Jim and Ashley Kissinger led a successful appellate effort to protect an Orange County Register reporter from being forced to divulge unpublished information in a murder trial regarding an allegedly incriminating interview with the defendant.
Geller v. Randi, 40 F.3d 1300 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Jim and Lee Levine successfully defended a prominent skeptics organization against a defamation claim filed by illusionist Uri Geller and obtained a monetary sanctions award against Geller.