Katie Townsend, a former litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP, has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press as its first litigation director.
In this new post, Townsend will oversee freedom of information activities of the Reporters Committee, as well as participate in a full range of media law issues with a focus on handling litigation brought by the Reporters Committee.
"Katie's background as a Gibson, Dunn litigator makes her a great fit for this new position, as she will help expand the Reporters Committee’s renewed commitment to bringing access and FOIA cases to benefit journalists and the news media," said Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce D. Brown.
At Gibson Dunn, Townsend specialized in media and entertainment litigation, representing clients on First Amendment issues, including compelled speech, prior restraints, and liability for newsgathering and publication in both traditional and digital media. She also advised clients concerning public access to judicial records and proceedings, and provided pre-publication review to news organizations.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help the Reporters Committee continue its strong tradition of ensuring that the First Amendment rights of the press and the public are being safeguarded through our court system,” she said. “The digital world has posed new challenges to press freedom that, now more than ever, make the work of the Reporters Committee critical. I could not be more excited to be a part of that work."
In May 2014, Townsend was named a "Rising Star" – one of the nation's top media and entertainment attorneys under the age of 40 – by Law 360.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Townsend spent a summer in the Washington, D.C. office of Levine, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz LLP.
Townsend is a 2007 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was a member of the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review, and a participant in the First Amendment Clinic. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2004 with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in broadcast journalism. While pursuing her undergraduate degrees, she worked as a reporter and producer for a local AM news radio station.
About the Reporters Committee
Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.