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Bruce W. Sanford

Photo by R.Cole for Rob Rich/ ©2019

Bruce W. Sanford is considered one of the country’s leading First Amendment lawyers. During a distinguished career spanning 50 years with Baker, Hostetler, LLP, he has been at the forefront of shaping the contours of modern American libel and media law and has represented almost every major media outlet from television and cable networks, newspapers, magazines and book publishers. His clients have included President Bill Clinton, First Lady Barbara Bush, The New York Times, Random House, Simon & Schuster, ABC, NBC, CBS, Grupo Ferre Rangel, The E. W. Scripps Co., and numerous writers and reporters such as John Grisham.

Bruce is ranked in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America©. He was mentioned in The National Law Journal’s list of the 100 most influential lawyers in America and in a 1997 Washingtonian article on “The 50 Best Lawyers in Washington,” which noted he was “without peer” in First Amendment Law. He has authored a leading treatise on libel and privacy law, Libel and Privacy (Aspen Publishers/Walters Kluwer), which is relied upon by media lawyers and courts throughout the country, as well as the best-selling trade book, Don’t Shoot the Messenger: How Our Growing Hatred of Media Threatens Free Speech for All of Us. (1999). In 2017 he was awarded the highest honor of the Society of Professional Journalists, The Wells Key, for distinguished service to the profession. In 2014 he received a First Amendment Award, along with Arthur Sulzburger, Jr. and Sharon Percy Rockefeller, from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Active in civic and philanthropic affairs, Bruce has served on the boards of the International Center for Journalists, The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in Charlottesville, VA. The Washington National Cathedral, The National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, WETA, the flagship station of PBS, The National Presbyterian School, and the National Cathedral School for Girls.

Bruce and his wife, Marilou, have three children, Lisa (50), Ashley (deceased) and Barrett (31), and live in Washington, D.C., Nantucket, and Palm Beach.

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