FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Karen Kaiser

The Associated Press
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary
New York, NY, USA


Karen Kaiser was named Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for The Associated Press in 2014. In her role as General Counsel, Karen is responsible for overseeing the operations of the AP’s legal department across two offices, in NY and London. She oversees all editorial, litigation, intellectual property, contract and licensing, and corporate legal matters for the company. She also counsels the company on all legal policy considerations. As Corporate Secretary, Karen provides corporate governance advice on a variety of issues impacting the company and the Board.

Karen has twice been honored (in 2014 and 2016) as one of “America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel” by the National Law Journal for her protection of AP’s First Amendment rights. In 2014, the award was given to Karen for leading AP’s legal response to the Department of Justice’s seizure of AP’s phone records, and in 2016, the award was for Karen’s championing of AP’s First Amendment rights on multiple matters.

Karen joined AP in 2009. Prior to becoming General Counsel, Karen was Associate General Counsel for newsroom legal matters. In that role, Karen counseled the AP newsroom globally on all editorial matters including subpoena defense, government investigations, reporter’s privilege, newsgathering and source issues, libel defense, prepublication review, FOIA, and access issues. Following the DOJ’s seizure of AP’s phone records in May 2013, Karen advocated for AP’s interests in high-level Department of Justice discussions that led to revisions to the DOJ guidelines for subpoenas to members of the press. Karen received AP’s Oliver S. Gramling Achievement Award in 2013 for her work on the DOJ phone records case. And in 2014, AP received the SPJ Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award for the work done in the AP-DOJ phone records dispute. Karen continues to serve as part of the DOJ’s News-Media Task Force, where she meets routinely with the Attorney General and DOJ attorneys on issues of importance to the press.

As First Amendment counsel at AP, Karen was also responsible for drafting and negotiating appeals with federal and state agencies on FOIA denials, and has drafted and filed more than 200 appeals. These FOIA efforts were highlighted in a New York Times article in February, 2010, and AP’s 2009 and 2010 FOIA efforts were honored with the SPJ Eugene Pulliam First Amendment Award in August 2011. In May 2015, Karen testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of stronger FOIA reforms. The bill passed the Senate in early 2016.

Karen is on the Steering Committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She is a frequent panelist, guest lecturer and speaker at national and regional conferences and educational seminars, and serves on various media law committees and on the board of the Forum on Communications Law of the American Bar Association.

Prior to joining AP, Karen was Senior Counsel at Tribune Company, where she was responsible for editorial, litigation, and transactional legal services for several daily newspapers, including The Baltimore Sun and The Hartford Courant.  She counseled these and other papers on subpoena defense, litigation, access, FOIA, and prepublication review. Karen helped pass the Connecticut Reporter’s Shield Law by co-drafting the legislation and testifying before Connecticut’s joint judiciary committee in 2006.

Previously, Karen was a senior litigation associate at the NY law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, where she worked on First Amendment cases such as the Valerie Plame CIA Leak Investigation and the Wen Ho Lee case. Before joining Cahill, Karen clerked for the Honorable Kevin Thomas Duffy in the Southern District of New York.

Karen holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Economics from The University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.

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