New York State Bar Association Co-Sponsors Albany Law Event on Media and Legal Challenges During a Health Crisis

By NYSBA Staff

September 6, 2022

New York State Bar Association Co-Sponsors Albany Law Event on Media and Legal Challenges During a Health Crisis


By NYSBA Staff

Local attorneys, prosecutors, judges, law professors and journalists will participate in a New York Fair Trial/Free Press event at Albany Law School that is co-sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and the NYSBA Committee on Media Law.

The conference is coordinated by Albany Law School and will be held on Thursday Sept. 22 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dean Alexander Moot courtroom at the Albany Law School campus on New Scotland Avenue.

This event brings together local leaders from the public and private sectors to play out a fictional outbreak of “duck flu” in a rural upstate New York town. Participants will look at the legal, political, and ethical issues after a local newspaper reports on the emergence of the outbreak. The government response brings about a media backlash that tests First Amendment rights to free speech, Sixth Amendment rights to a fair trial, defamation law and the protection of news sources. You can read the full scenario here.

“We are delighted to bring this event to the Albany Law School community for the first time,” said retired Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Stein, director of Albany Law’s Government Law Center. “Since its inception in 1969, the conference has enhanced understanding between the legal system and the media, thus assuring both the right to a fair trial and the protection of the free press.”

“The rights of the accused are at the foundation of the criminal justice system but a free press is just as crucial in a democracy,” said New York State Bar Association president Sherry Levin Wallach. “Events like fair trial/ free press allow lawyers and other professionals to take a hard look at those tough issues that appear in a crisis, “

New York Fair Trial/ Free Press is a free event and is open to the public. It will be livestreamed and registration is required here.

Continuing Legal Education credit is offered for attorneys attending the program.

Participants in the New York Fair Trial/ Free Press event are:

Susan Arbetter, anchor, Capitol Tonight

Stephen Clark, professor of law, Albany Law School

Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly

Associate Judge Michael J. Garcia, New York Court of Appeals

Michael J. Grygiel, shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

E. Stewart Jones, Jr., partner, Jones Hacker Murphy

Hon. William T. Little, Jr., Albany County Court judge

Judith Patrick, vice president for editorial development, New York Press Association

Casey Seiler, editor, Albany Times Union


The discussion will be moderated by:

Hon. Albert Rosenblatt, retired judge, New York Court of Appeals

Rex Smith, former editor, Albany Times Union


The New York Fair Trial/Free Press Conference brings members of the media, judges, attorneys, and law enforcement together to spur greater mutual understanding of press and justice system issues, in particular, the intersection of First and Sixth Amendment rights and conflicts that may arise among the public’s right to know, privacy interests, and the due process rights of individuals accused of crimes. The Conference aims to: promote informed, balanced, and fair reportage of judicial proceedings that also educates the public about the working of the judiciary; promote the interests of the public and the press compatible with the fair administration of justice and consistent with fundamental free speech principles; promote an understanding of ethical principles applicable to the interests of judges, counsel and litigants in fair trials and other proceedings; facilitate meaningful access by the press to the courts; serve as a forum for discussion concerning publicity about civil and criminal trials, both jury and non-jury, and the processes of law enforcement; and encourage cooperation among the professions of journalism, law, and law enforcement and the education of members of each profession about the concerns and the responsibilities of the other.

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) shapes the development of law, educates and informs the public, and responds to the demands of the diverse and ever-changing legal profession. NYSBA advocates for state and federal legislation and works tirelessly to promote equal access to justice for all. Its Committee on Media Law considers all questions of public importance pertaining to First Amendment rights, access, freedom of information, government open meetings laws, media ownership, libel and privacy, privilege, confidentiality, advertising, fair trial/free press, and others.

The Government Law Center at Albany Law School provides the nonpartisan legal research and analysis that state and local governments need to better serve their communities. By bringing together a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers, law students, scholars, and community partners, the Government Law Center prepares students for careers as skilled and leading attorneys in public service while informing nationwide conversations on government and the law.

Albany Law School is a small, private school located in the heart of New York State’s capital where it has educated leaders since 1851. The institution offers students an innovative, rigorous curriculum taught by a committed faculty. It has an affiliation agreement with the State University at Albany that includes shared programs and access for students and faculty to learn from one another. Students have access to New York’s highest court, federal courts, the executive branch, and the state legislature. With approximately 10,500 alumni practicing across the country and several continents, Albany Law School’s graduates serve as a vital community and resource for the school and its students. The school offers the J.D. degree—the traditional law degree—along with residential and online Master’s and LL.M. programs, as well as online advanced certificate programs.

Six diverse people sitting holding signs
gradient circle (purple) gradient circle (green)


My NYSBA Account

My NYSBA Account