Esther Seitz focuses her practice in government, intellectual property and media law. She has extensive experience representing major newspapers and media trade associations throughout Illinois.
In her intellectual property and media law practice, Ms. Seitz has litigated and counseled on matters involving trademark, copyright, privacy, defamation, the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, First Amendment law and pension matters. She also has advised news media’s lobbying efforts before the Illinois General Assembly and drafted sample legislation. Additionally, Ms. Seitz has prosecuted applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, and the Illinois Secretary of State.
In addition to the government-facing work she has done in assisting news and media clients, Ms. Seitz has adjudicated administrative hearings for the villages of Grandview and Chatham.
Ms. Seitz has an active appellate practice. She has drafted appellate and amicus curiae briefs and presented oral arguments in appellate courts.
Before joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Ms. Seitz was for eight years an attorney at a Springfield, Illinois-based media law firm that serves as general counsel to various Illinois media associations. Before that, she served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable D. Price Marshall, Jr., Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Ms. Seitz speaks German fluently and is conversant in French.
- Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association, Member
- Sangamon County Bar Association, Member, Access to Justice/Public Perception Committee
- Illinois State Bar Association, Member
- The Lincoln-Douglas American Inn of Court, Member and CLE Program Co-Chair
Honors & Awards
- Emerging Lawyer, Law Bulletin Leading Lawyers division, 2016
- Forty Under 40 selectee, Springfield Business Journal, 2015
Ms. Seitz's media appearances have included:
- "New Bill Tougher on Social Media Privacy at Work," Springfield, Illinois, News Channel 20 (ABC), March 2016.
- "Former Swansea Mayor Sues Village in TIF Dispute Over Fire Truck," Belleville News-Democrat (video interview), January 2016.
- "St. Louis on the Air," Legal Roundtable discussion, St. Louis Public Radio, November 2015.
- "Application of FOIA on New Technology and Government Officials," Illinois Channel TV, September 2015.
- "Let's Talk Law," guest co-host, 970 WMAY Radio News, October 2014.
- "The Illinois Supreme Court's Decision on State's Attorneys and FOIA," Bishop on Air; Live from the Lincoln Presidential Library, 970 WMAY Radio News, May 2014.
Ms. Seitz also is a frequent presenter at events. A selection of her presentations includes:
- "Government Transparency in Illinois; Recent Developments," Southern Illinois Editorial Association, Rend Lake Resort, Whittington, Illinois, April 2016.
- Classroom lecture on effective appellate advocacy, University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, Illinois, October 2015.
- "Recent Developments in Illinois' FOIA and Eavesdropping Law," Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, Illinois, September 2015.
- "The First Amendment: An Amendment Under Fire," Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, September 2015.
- "The First Amendment and Media Law," Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, June 2015.
- "Recent Developments in Media Law," Southern Illinois Editorial Association 2015 Annual Meeting, Giant City Lodge, Makanda, Illinois, April 2015.
- "Illinois Supreme Court Cams & Mics in the Courts Pilot Project," Illinois News Broadcasters Association Spring Convention, Peoria, Illinois, April 2014.
- "Courtrooms & the Press . . . The Media's Role in Transparency," North Suburban Bar Association, Skokie, Illinois, April 2014.
- "Social Media and Laws," Mid-America Press Institute, Springfield, Illinois, November 2013.
- "The Basics of the Freedom of Information Act," Central Illinois Women's Bar Association, Springfield, Illinois, September 2013.
- "What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings in Illinois," Lorman Education Services, Springfield, Illinois, April 2013.
- Legislative update on legal topics affecting the broadcast industry, Illinois Broadcasters Association Convention, Bloomington, Illinois, June 2012.
- Lecture on Open Meetings Act, Kaskaskia College, Centralia, Illinois, April 2012.
- Classroom lecture on online journalism for Media Law Resource Center, Speakers Bureau, University of Illinois, Springfield, Illinois, April 2012.
- "Social Media and Elections," lecture for delegation of Egyptian journalists, U.S. State Department and Springfield Commission on International Visitors, Springfield, Illinois, March 2012.
- "Freedom of Information Act," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Bloomington, Illinois, October 2011.
- "Freedom of Information Act" and "Open Meetings Act," University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, October and February 2011.
A selection of Ms. Seitz's publications includes:
- "Has Cannabis Really Been Decriminalized in Illinois?" Illinois Bar Journal, March 2017.
- "Enforcement Under the Freedom of Information Act," co-author Chapter 5, Illinois Sunshine Laws, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), February 2016.
- "No Fooling FOIA; Public Servants Should Be Expected to Comply Fully and in a Timely Manner," co-author, The News-Gazette, October 18, 2015, reprinted online as "Private Email Doesn’t Fool FOIA," The State Journal Register, October 19, 2015.
- Illinois chapter, co-author, Media Libel Law 2014-15 MLRC 50-State Survey, Media Law Resource Center, Fall 2015.
- "#Oyez, #Oyez: Why Judges Should Let Reporters Tweet From the Courtroom," 101 Ill. B.J. 39, January 2013.
- "Illinois Reporter’s Privilege Shields Tech—Tech Blog Deemed 'News Media' Under Functional Approach," MLRC Media Law Letter, Media Law Resource Center, July 2012.
- "Illinois Judge Snubs Tech Blog—Holds Reporter’s Privilege Inapplicable," MLRC Media Law Letter, Media Law Resource Center, January 2012.
- Illinois chapter, co-author, Open Government Guide: Access to Public Records and Meetings in 50 States and D.C., 6th ed., The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 2011 (ISBN 1-58078-200-0).
- "Unscrambling the Confusion: Applying the Correct Standard of Review for Rape-Shield Evidentiary Rulings," co-author, 34:2 Am. J. Trial Ad., Fall 2010.
- "Privacy (or Piracy) of Medical Records: HIPAA and Its Enforcement," 102 J. Nat'l Med. Assoc. 745-48, August 2010.
- "Fact Gathering in Patent Infringement Cases: Rule 34 Discovery and the Saisie Contrefaçon," Max-Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law Studies Series, Vol. 4, Nomos Publ., ISBN 978-3-8329-4855-9, Fall 2009.
- Vachel Lindsay Association, Secretary
- Springfield Choral Society, Board Member
LL.M., Intellectual Property Law, Max-Planck Institute of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Munich, Germany and The George Washington University Law School, 2008
J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law, 2007
- Associate Research Editor, UALR Law Review
B.S., magna cum laude, Economics, Centenary College of Louisiana, 2004
B.A., magna cum laude, English, Centenary College of Louisiana, 2004
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois