More Legal Resources


Student Law: INN has partnered with the Student Press Law Center. The SPLC offers legal support for campus-based journalism.

Services include:

  • A network of 190 pro-bono referral attorneys on call to assist with legal matters from prepublication review to open-records denials.
  • A library of teaching and reference materials covering a wide range of media-law topics including copyright, libel, privacy and access issues.
  • An automated fill-in-the-blanks letter generator keyed to each state's freedom-of-information statute.
  • Email news alerts about developments in the courts and legislatures affecting press freedom and access to records and meetings.

About: The Student Press Law Center works at the intersection of law, journalism and education to promote, support and defend the rights of student journalists and their advisers at the high school and college levels. Founded in 1974, SPLC is the only organization in the U.S. devoted to providing free legal information and free or low-cost educational materials to student journalists and their advisers.

Rate: Attorney fees differ by state, but an average rate across the U.S. is $250-$450 per hour.

Nonprofit Law Resources

Many nonprofits get pro bono help from a law firm they know through personal or professional connections to file their 501(c)3 applications with the IRS. For those getting paid help, many INN members report prep and filing fees in the $3,000-$4,000 range.

Two firms that have received high marks from journalism colleagues for help with basic nonprofit law and filings:

Sustainable Law Group, Los Angeles
Cutting Edge Counsel, Oakland

INN has partnered with the Media Law Resource Center on a referral service to help nonprofit news media obtain legal help. The service is intended to help member organizations find affordable media law specialists for cases that exceed what they can access from pro bono legal services, state press or other news association services. These specialists will be experienced, young attorneys who will be supervised by the senior lawyers in their firms.

Services include:

  • Legal assistance

About: The Media Law Resource Center is a nonprofit membership association for content providers in all media, and for their defense lawyers, providing a wide range of resources on media and content law and policy issues.  These include news and analysis of legal, legislative and regulatory developments; litigation resources and practice guides; and national and international media law conferences and meetings.

Rate: Attorney fees differ by state, but an average rate across the U.S. is $250-$450 per hour.

Legal threats over stories — pre- or post-publication

Journalists facing legal threats intended to prevent story publication or chill their reporting: Don't decide whether to back down until you've called the Press Freedom Defense Fund. The PFDF is run by First Look Media as a resource for funding when a news organization faces wealthy individuals weaponizing defamation law to try to chill stories of public importance. "No accurate article about matters of public importance should be spiked because the publisher fears that it does not have the resources to defend its work," said PFDF Legal Director David Bralow. Help is here.