Nathan Siegel | Our Team | Davis Wright Tremaine (2024)

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Media clients often turn to Nathan Siegel with their most challenging cases and thornie*st questions. He represents media companies in First Amendment, intellectual property, and entertainment law cases in trial and appellate courts throughout the country. Additionally, Nathan provides pre-broadcast and pre-publication counseling to a wide range of print and web publishers, television networks, and film producers.

What Best Lawyers has called Nathan's "practical, client-friendly approach" focuses on sizing up complex matters at the outset, and then partnering with each client to choose and implement the strategy that best reflects its objectives. He handles defamation, privacy and all manner of media tort claims, and litigates copyright, trademark, right of publicity, theft of idea and other disputes over rights to media content. Nathan is a past President of the Defense Counsel Section of the Media Law Resource Center, the largest national organization of media defense counsel, and is a member of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Communications Law.

Practice Highlights

High profile defamation cases

Nathan has successfully represented major media clients such as ABC News, CBS News, and ESPN in defamation lawsuits, often brought by celebrity or political personalities. He is currently defending Buzzfeed News in multiple defamation suits challenging its publication of the “Dossier,"; one of the most closely-watched battles for press freedom in the current era.

Cutting edge right of publicity and IP Lawsuits

Over the past decade, Nathan has represented the broadcast media or the video game industry in virtually every major case that tests the publicity rights of athletes in video games and television sports broadcasts. His impact on this still-emerging body of law can be seen in cases like Marshall v. ESPN, where the Sixth Circuit rebuffed a class action to fundamentally alter the rights of broadcasters to control the content of their sports broadcasts. Nathan has also litigated numerous copyright and trademark disputes, including successfully defending novel lawsuits testing the limits of doctrines such as fair use and equitable estoppel.

Defending media freedoms

Nathan regularly advises and defends the news and film media against all manner of threats to journalists and documentarians. His experience includes advising The Guardian concerning its reporting about documents released by WikiLeaks, represented New York Times, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun journalists resisting subpoenas for confidential sources, and successfully defended lawsuits challenging award-winning documentaries like Under the Gun and NY Med.

*Denotes an attorney's experience prior to joining Davis Wright Tremaine


Admitted to Practice

  • District of Columbia, 1995

  • Maryland, 1992

  • New York, 1998

  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1996

  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, 1993

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1999

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2009

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2013


  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1992

  • B.A., Economics/History, Duke University, 1986

    • A.B. Duke Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa

Memberships & Affiliations

    • Governing Committee, ABA Forum on Communications Law
    • Former President, Media Law Resource Center
    • Co-Editor, Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, published by Southwestern Law School
    • Board of Trustees, Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association
    • Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland Law School, Free Press Seminar, 2006-Present
    • Former Chair of the Model Shield Law Task Force and the New Legal Developments Committee, Media Law Resource Center
    • Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, 1994-1996

Professional Recognition

    • Named one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" by Chambers USA in First Amendment Litigation (Nationwide), 2017-2024; Media & Entertainment (D.C.), 2018-2024; Received "Band 1" ranking, 2024
    • Recognized as one of the preeminent First Amendment and Media lawyers in Washington, D.C. by Best Lawyers
    • Recognized as a "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer" in Media and Advertising Law, Thomson Reuters
    • Named an "MVP of the Year" in Media & Entertainment, Law360, 2023
    • Named to the "Top Lawyers Hall of Fame" by Washingtonian Magazine, 2022
    • Recognized as a top media lawyer in the District of Columbia by The Washingtonian Magazine
    • Featured as part of the nation's top-ranked First Amendment law practice in The Legal 500


    • Partner, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP, Wash., D.C., 2005-2017
    • Executive Counsel, ABC, Inc., New York, NY and Wash, D.C., 1996-2004
    • Associate, Venable LLP, Baltimore, MD, 1992-1996

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Nathan Siegel | Our Team  | Davis Wright Tremaine (2024)
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