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Claire Leonard is an advocate for journalists, publishers, and content creators, both in and out of court. An experienced litigator, Claire defends media clients in a broad array of First Amendment, intellectual property, and privacy matters, guiding them through every phase of litigation. She has represented clients in state and federal courts, including at the appellate level, in cases involving defamation, right-of-publicity, false advertising, invasion of privacy, SLAPP, and copyright infringement, as well as in complex commercial disputes. Claire also counsels news and media clients before litigation arises, working closely with them to assess risk, formulate problem-solving strategies, and negotiate the early resolution of potential disputes.
Defending the press and other media clients against libel claims in state and federal courts by raising constitutional and other speech-protective defenses. Recently represented Dow Jones in libel suit brought by high-ranking Venezuelan official over a Wall Street Journal report on investigations into drug trafficking and money-laundering in Venezuela, with the 2nd Circuit affirming dismissal of the complaint for failure to plausibly plead actual malice.
Intellectual property disputes
Defending copyright infringement claims, with a strategic focus on the early and cost-effective resolution of litigation through motion practice, mediation, and negotiation.
Routinely providing pre-publication and pre-broadcast counseling on defamation, privacy, and intellectual property issues to a wide range of publishers, newspapers, and media companies, including The Trace, The New York Post, US Weekly, In Touch, Closer, Refinery29, Facebook, and Sourcebooks.
Admitted to Practice
New York, 2013
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 2018
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 2018
J.D., Columbia Law School, 2012
- Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
- Executive Submissions Editor, Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts
- Vice President, Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Society
B.A., English, Brown University, 2008, magna cum laude
- Minnie Helen Hicks Premium (highest-ranked female senior in English program)
- Associate, Ropes & Gray LLP, New York, N.Y., 2013-2017
- Law Clerk, Hon. Roslynn R. Mauskopf, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, New York, N.Y., 2012-2013
- Intern to the General Counsel, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York, N.Y., 2010
- Research Assistant for Tim Wu, Professor of Law at Columbia University, New York, N.Y., 2010
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