Center for Cooperative Media launches 3-month pilot to get NJ News Commons access to legal help

October 3, 2017 Stefanie Murray

Finding and being able to pay for legal assistance is a tough hurdle for many news entrepreneurs.

Not only is it expensive to hire an attorney, it can also be difficult to find a lawyer who specializes in media law and who is willing to work with smaller, local and often independent news organizations.

At the Center for Cooperative Media, we get a lot of requests for legal counsel from members of our NJ News Commons network. We provide a page on our website with a list of legal resources, but it’s often not enough. That’s why today we’re launching a three-month pilot program intended to provide some basic legal guidance to NJ News Commons members and help us understand the most common legal questions that are coming up so we can design future programs to be built around the true needs of our news ecosystem.

The Philadelphia-based law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP is our partner in this endeavor. Pepper Hamilton, a multi-practice law firm with more than 450 lawyers nationwide, has a team of four experienced attorneys who will be guiding partners and providing legal services as questions arise. Those lawyers include:

At the end of the three months, the Center will review a report from Pepper Hamilton about the types of issues they handled for NJ News Commons members. (It’s important to note that pre-publication content review and actual litigation aren’t included in the pilot project.)

Pepper Hamilton will first run a conflict check on all NJ News Commons members who reach out for legal assistance. If no conflict is found, the legal team will be able to provide guidance directly to the organization.

NJ News Commons members with legal questions should first contact Eli Segal at Pepper Hamilton at 215.981.4239 or and identify themselves as a member of the Center for Cooperative Media’s NJ News Commons.

If you have any other questions about this program, feel free to reach out to me at or 973-655-3879.


About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit

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