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Richard N. Winfield

MLRC’s First Amendment Leadership Award Recipient, 2002

Richard N. Winfield functioned as the outside general counsel for the Associated Press for nearly two decades, directing virtually all aspects of legal representation of the world’s oldest and largest news organization. During his career he also represented a number of other news organizations, such as Newsday, Time, Newsweek and Knight-Ridder in First Amendment litigation, and still others such as CBS, ABC, NBC, Gannett and Newhouse in legislative matters. Dick successfully defended several hundreds of libel suits and handled scores of other litigations involving access, prior restraint, reporter’s privilege and freedom of information issues.

But Dick has done far more than represent media in First Amendment matters. He has spearheaded a media group for the ABA Central and Eastern European Law Initiative, a program to bring modern and press and speech sensitive law and policy to Eastern Europe. Dick has conducted conferences in Armenia, Croatia and Georgia, and has also served as an international observer at a criminal trial in Turkey this Fall. He serves on the boards of the Fund for Peace and the International Senior Lawyers’ Project.

He has led the charge for law initiatives and changes in the U.S. as well, on a wide range of matters, including the Uniform Correction and Clarification Act, the New York shield law, and cameras in the courtroom.

Dick served for 24 years as co-chair of the PLI libel and newsgathering litigation conferences. He has written numerous articles on various aspects of communications law and he frequently speaks on First Amendment issues at national and regional editors’ and bar meetings. He served for four years as state chairman of the Media Law Committee of the New York State Bar Association.

Before joining the Rogers & Wells law firm, Dick served in government as an assistant counsel to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, special counsel to the New York State Public Employment Relations Board and co-counsel to the Governor’s Committee on Public Employee Relations. While an officer on active duty in the U.S. Navy, Dick was an instructor in European and American diplomatic history at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Since "retiring" last spring, Dick has taken on adjunct positions teaching media law at Fordham Law School and comparative international libel law at Columbia Law School. He also continues to lead media law reform programs in nations of the former Soviet bloc as part of the America Bar Association’s Central and East European Law Initiative.

Dick received his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He was president of the Villanova University National Alumni Association, received the Alumnus of the Year Loyalty Award from Villanova and chairs the Board of Consultors of the School of Law of Villanova University.

As published in the October 2002 LDRC LibelLetter

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