NEWS RELEASE: Law firms volunteer to provide emergency-response assistance for student journalists covering Democratic, Republican conventions


July 8, 2016
Contact: Frank D. LoMonte, Executive Director or 202-785-5450

The Student Press Law Center and two major national law firms are offering student journalists free legal help around-the-clock if they encounter emergencies at the July 2016 Democratic and Republican conventions.

Attorneys with the Cleveland office of Tucker Ellis LLP and the Philadelphia office of Dechert LLP will be on-call to respond if student journalists are taken into custody or have their equipment seized while covering the national political conventions. The Republican National Convention runs July 18-21 in Cleveland, and Democrats meet in Philadelphia July 25-28.

Student journalists with an emergency during the conventions should call the Student Press Law Center at 202-872-1704 anytime. SPLC attorneys will refer time-sensitive calls to volunteer counsel at Tucker Ellis during the Republican convention or Dechert during the Democratic convention. The volunteers will work to help students who are incarcerated while covering the news.

“Given the tone of this year’s campaign, we are especially concerned about the safety of journalists at the conventions, in particular when they are assigned to cover protests where crowd control is an issue. Because of the volatility of such events, the SPLC believes it’s important for student journalists to have on-call representation to help get any who are mistakenly detained released from custody and recover any equipment that is impounded,” said attorney Frank D. LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “We hope no one ever has to use this hotline service, but we think it will be reassuring for students to know it’s available.”

“Both Tucker Ellis and Dechert are in the top echelon of firms in their respective cities, and students are incredibly fortunately to have such skilled advocates willing to volunteer their time to come to their aid,” LoMonte said. He emphasized that the hotline is meant to serve those gathering and reporting news, and is not a legal service for those participating in demonstrations.

Founded in 1875, Dechert LLP has more than 900 attorneys in 27 worldwide offices. Focused on sectors with the greatest complexities, legal intricacies and highest regulatory demands, Dechert specializes in delivering practical commercial judgment and deep legal expertise for high-stakes matters. More information about the firm is online at

Tucker Ellis LLP is a full-service law firm of 200 attorneys with offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and St. Louis. The firm is proud to serve a Fortune 250 list of national litigation and intellectual property clients, as well as sophisticated business transactions clients. For more information, please visit

Along with announcing the legal helpline, the SPLC is distributing a “tip sheet” for journalists covering protests or similar demonstrations, to help minimize their risk of conflict with police. The tip sheet is online at:

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Student Press Law Center is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1974 to provide free legal assistance and training tailored to the needs of student journalists and journalism educators at the college and K-12 levels nationwide. Information about the work of the SPLC and an array of free legal research materials can be found at