The First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce the appointment of Glen A. Smith, a lawyer with more than 30 years of experience in First Amendment and media law, as the inaugural FAC Legal Fellow.
Smith comes to FAC with a deep and widely varied background in media litigation, including substantial experience advocating for public and press access to government records, defending journalists against subpoenas, and litigation and advice relating to defamation and privacy law.
From 1988-1993, Smith served as Director of Litigation for the Los Angeles Times, where he both supervised outside counsel and personally represented the newspaper and its reporters in defamation, privacy, California Public Records Act, reporter’s shield law and other cases. He also provided advice and legal support for journalists seeking access to court records and hearings. After the LA Times, Smith served as counsel for television station KCAL and was a partner between 2000-2005 at the Los Angeles office of Baker & Hostetler, where he represented newspapers, book publishers and broadcasters in defamation, newsgathering, privacy, intellectual property and other litigation matters.
From 2000 to 2015, Smith was assistant chief counsel at ABC, where he was a member of the Law and Regulation Department, which managed all legal aspects of local and network news production, production of non-scripted programs, and legal vetting of docudramas. After departing from ABC, Smith served as production counsel for Telepictures Productions in Burbank, California.
In addition to his experience representing media clients, Smith has extensive experience as an educator. He served as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School between 2005 and 2010, teaching classes in defamation and privacy law. From 1993-1996, he taught Media Law for Journalists at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
In 2000, Smith received the ACLU Foundation of Southern California First Amendment Award for his work in Pasadena Star-News v. City of Pasadena, a successful federal court challenge to the city’s unconstitutional restrictions on the distribution of written materials to city residents.
“Glen’s long and varied experience as an advocate for free speech and government transparency comes to FAC at a critical juncture—both for our organization and for our country,” said FAC Executive Director David Snyder. “FAC has moved aggressively over the past year to expand its programs and its impact, both in California and nationally. Glen will allow us to supercharge that effort, and to do so during a time when FAC’s work is so sorely needed.”
FAC launched its Legal Fellow program this year. The position—funded by contributions from FAC members, and by generous grants from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Foundation and others—will substantially expand the organization’s ability to promote and defend free speech, and to enforce the public’s right to know by bringing lawsuits under the California Public Records Act and the federal Freedom of Information Act.
“Glen’s depth of experience adds exponentially to FAC’s ability to protect the public’s right to know and to hold the government accountable to the governed. We’re so pleased that he’s joining us, and thankful to FAC’s generous donors who have made it possible,” said FAC Board President Duffy Carolan.
Smith started work at FAC on July 16.