Karen Kaiser was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for The Associated Press in February, 2014. In her role as General Counsel, Kaiser is responsible for overseeing the operations of the AP’s legal department across two offices — in N.Y. and London — for all editorial, litigation, and transactional matters. As Corporate Secretary, Kaiser provides corporate governance advice on a variety of issues impacting the company and the Board.
Kaiser has twice been honored (in 2014 and 2016) as one of “America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel” by the National Law Journal for her protection of AP’s First Amendment rights. In 2014, the award was for leading AP’s response to the Department of Justice’s seizure of AP’s phone records, and in 2016, the award was for Kaiser’s championing of AP’s First Amendment rights on multiple matters.
Prior to becoming General Counsel, Kaiser was Associate General Counsel for newsroom legal matters. In that role, Kaiser counseled the AP newsroom globally on all editorial matters including subpoena defense,government investigations,reporter’s privilege, newsgathering and source issues, libel defense, prepublication review, FOIA, and access issues.
Following the DOJ’s seizure of AP’s phone records in May 2013, Kaiser advocated for AP’s interests in high-level Department of Justice discussions that led to revisions to the DOJ guidelines for subpoenas to members of the press. Kaiser received AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Achievement Award in 2013 for her work on the DOJ phone records case. In 2014, AP received the Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award for the work done in the AP-DOJ phone records dispute. Kaiser continues to serve as part of the DOJ’s News-Media Task Force, where she meets routinely with the Attorney General and DOJ attorneys on issues of importance to the press.
As First Amendment counsel at AP, Kaiser was also responsible for drafting and negotiating appeals with federal and state agencies on FOIA denials, and has drafted and filed more than 200 appeals since joining AP in 2009. AP’s FOIA efforts were highlighted in a New York Times article in February, 2010, and AP’s 2009 and 2010 FOIA efforts were honored with the Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award in August 2011. In May 2015, Kaiser testified before the Senate Judiciary Comnittee in support of stronger FOIA reforms. The bill passed the Senate in early 2016.
Kaiser is a frequent panelist, guest lecturer and speaker at national and regional conferences and educational seminars, and serves on various media law committees and on the board of the Forum on Communications Law of the American Bar Association.
Prior to joining AP, Kaiser was Senior Counsel at Tribune Company, where she was responsible for editorial, litigation, and transactional legal services for several daily newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun and The Hartford Courant. She also counseled these and other Tribune papers on subpoena defense, litigation, access, FOIA, and prepublication review. Kaiser helped pass the Connecticut Reporter’s Shield Law by co-drafting the legislation and testifying before Connecticut’s joint judiciary committee in 2006.
Previously, Kaiser was a senior litigation associate at the N.Y. law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, where she worked on First Amendment matters such as the Valerie Plame CIA Leak Investigation and the Wen Ho Lee case. Before joining Cahill, Karen clerked for the Hon. Kevin Thomas Duffy in the Southern District of New York.
Karen holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Economics from The University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.