Matthew Cate

Matthew Cate is a member of the Student Press Law Center’s Board of Directors. Meet the rest of the Board.

Matthew Cate is a media and First Amendment lawyer at the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP. Cate helps reporters break through barriers to public information, defends journalists’ rights to shield their confidential newsgathering materials, and represents media companies and journalists facing legal threats. 

Before becoming a lawyer, Cate was a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, primarily covering government and politics. His journalism career began as a member of the student press, producing and editing features for the daily news broadcast of Jefferson County High School in Dandridge, Tenn.) daily news broadcast. And his first byline appeared in The Daily Beacon, the independent student newspaper of University of Tennessee.

Cate is a member of the First Amendment Coalition in California and maintains an active pro bono practice as a member of the attorney referral services of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Student Press Law Center. In 2019, he successfully represented a student newspaper editor and adviser in Stockton, Calif., in a First Amendment controversy that covered by the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other U.S. and international news outlets.