Skip to content

Laura Handman

Laura R. Handman divides her time between the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where she is co-chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice.

For more than 30 years, she has represented reporters, authors, and artists and U.S. and foreign book, magazine, newspaper, and digital publishers and broadcasters in libel, privacy and newsgathering torts, copyright, trademark, access, reporter’s privilege, and other First Amendment-related content matters. She provides pre-publication counseling and litigation services from complaint through trial and appeal.

In access matters, for example, on behalf of The Washington Post in May 2016, Handman obtained a court order unsealing search warrant material in connection with the federal investigation of D.C.’s former mayor. On behalf of The Wall Street Journal, she obtained a decision in 2013 vacating a 34-year-old injunction that blocked the U.S. government from releasing the data base containing what doctors earn from Medicare. The Journal won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for the series based on the first-time release of this data.

Handman has represented reporters alleged to have received classified information in Espionage Act prosecutions. She has also served as an expert on U.S. libel law in U.K., Ireland, and Australian courts. She obtained the first decisions refusing to enforce foreign libel judgments as inconsistent with the First Amendment, which led to the unanimous passage of the SPEECH Act.

Her clients include The New York Post, The New York Daily News, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica, The Mail Online, Hearst, Harper Collins, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Amazon, NBCU, Discovery, Atlantic Media, The Economist, Amazon, Microsoft, Trip Advisor and Yelp.

Handman is currently co-chair of the Bench, Bar Press Diaglogue Project sponsored by the Council for Court Excellence which published, in 2009, under her leadership, the Journalist’s Guide to the D.C. Courts. She also serves on CCE’s Executive Committee. She is founder/past chair of the Media Law Committee of the D.C. Bar’s Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law Section and past chair of the Communications Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. 

Handman was awarded the 2007 International PEN First Amendment award from PEN USA, the West Coast center for the worldwide writers’ organization.

Prior to private practice, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York.