Law Firm: Davis Wright Tremaine
Practice Area: Media and entertainment litigation
Years in Practice: 25
Law School: University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Kelli Sager has a wide-ranging practice that centers on First Amendment rights for news organizations and entertainment companies. She’s currently representing the Los Angeles Times in the paper’s effort to get the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to release the names of offi cers who have shot people while on duty. The sheriff’s union is currently seeking an appeal after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the names must be released under public records laws. Sager also recently helped E! Entertainment Television push into arbitration a dispute brought by a contestant who was tricked into thinking she was on an actual reality show that was really just a prank. Those two cases present a microcosm of the distinct types of lawsuits Sager has worked on throughout her career. On rare occasions, Sager’s work takes on elements of both. That’s the case in Sager’s representation of A&E Television Networks and Steven Seagal against claims in Los Angeles federal court that the network and actor stole the idea for a hit show on which the former action star carries out his duties as a deputy sheriff in Louisiana. The pending case is set for trial early next year.
Pretrial Ritual: Sager acts out the opening train scene from “The Music Man,” playing the parts of each cast member herself.
Biggest Career Break: Sager represented several media outlets during the O.J. Simpson criminal trial that were looking to put cameras in the courtroom and obtain documents from the case. The work gave Sager and Davis Wright Tremaine national exposure.