Pa Banner First Amendemennt Media
Pa Banner First Amendemennt Media
Pa Banner First Amendemennt Media

First Amendment, Advertising, Media & Entertainment


The ever-multiplying variety of social media platforms and traditional news and media outlets contribute to a constantly evolving stream of real-time information.

Our attorneys are nationally recognized as some of the most prominent and experienced First Amendment and media lawyers in the Pacific. Over the decades, members of our team have represented, and continue to represent, many of the state’s leading newspapers, television and radio stations, magazines, book publishers, and internet content providers.

As social media continues to become a more prevalent part of our lives, company policies on social media have to evolve constantly to address its use and access in the workplace. Our attorneys are experienced with drafting and implementing social media policies that balance employee rights with an employer’s expectations.

We also work with our clients–not just media companies, but other private companies, organizations, and individuals–to help them gain access to governmental records and court proceedings. Conversely, we also have been called upon to protect our clients from unwarranted invasions of their privacy rights, which can occur in a number of settings.

What We Do

  • Defamation and Privacy Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • Internet and Social Media Law
  • Public Access to Government Records and Proceedings

Our First Amendment and media lawyers are highly specialized and recognized throughout the state and the nation.

Members of the practice group have received local and national awards from organizations such as the Society for Professional Journalists. They are also responsible for the authorship of several treatises on First Amendment law, including mass communication law in Hawai‘i, and the Hawai‘i chapters in the MLRC 50-State Survey on Employment, Libel & Privacy Law, the MLRC 50-State Survey on Media Privacy & Related Law, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Tapping Officials’ Secrets and Reporters’ Privilege Guide and Open Courts Compendium.

  • Decisive Hawai‘i Supreme Court victories in Oahu Publications Inc. v. Ahn and Oahu Publications Inc. v. Takase, landmark cases brought on behalf of media clients that established a robust constitutional right for the public and press to attend court proceedings and access court documents. These cases also established a framework for challenging court decisions to seal documents, and to seek the unsealing of previously-sealed documents, and placed strict requirements on courts or parties that seek to seal documents or close court proceedings.
  • Successful pro bono representation of our client, the Education Institute of Hawaii (EIH), in seeking hundreds of thousands of documents that the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (DOE) had wrongfully withheld for several years. In a complete victory, not only did the DOE produce all the requested financial documents, but the Circuit Court found the DOE violated state open-records laws and awarded our client nearly $100,000 in attorney’s fees and costs to deter future violations.


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Jeffrey S. Portnoy


Jeff is a partner practicing in the area of litigation. He previously served as Chair of the firm's Litigation Department, and has practiced law as a civil litigator at the firm since 1972.

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