Esther Seitz advises her clients—which include major newspapers and online publishers as well as a variety of private and public entities—on matters involving intellectual property, media and government law. With extensive experience in both litigation and the pre-publication review of news articles, broadcasts, books and digital content, Esther provides unique insights and solutions tailored to her client's situations. She frequently litigates trademark, copyright, privacy, publicity, defamation, Freedom of Information Act, Open Meetings Act, newsgathering, First Amendment and access-to-government claims. Esther's clients also benefit from her background representing clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office.

She also has extensive experience in handling litigation arising from the design and construction process on behalf of construction contractors and design professionals. Proficient in all aspects of government contracting, Esther represents clients before various state agencies, including the Illinois Commerce Commission, the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission and its Chief Procurement Offices and the Illinois Procurement Policy Board. She has successfully prosecuted construction contract claims against the Illinois Department of Transportation and secured favorable results for private businesses in multi-million and multi-billion dollar bid protests and procurement disputes.

As part of her active appellate practice, Esther has argued over a dozen appeals, including as lead counsel, in Illinois' appellate and supreme courts in precedent-setting media law cases and other cases testing the constitutional limits on government powers.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Hinshaw, Esther practiced for eight years at a Springfield, Illinois-based media law firm that serves as general counsel to various Illinois media associations. Before that, she was as a judicial clerk to the Honorable D. Price Marshall, Jr., Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Esther speaks German fluently and is conversant in French.

Professional Affiliations

  • Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, Hearing Board, Member
  • Lincoln-Douglas American Inn of Court, Member
    • CLE Program, Director
  • Central Illinois Women's Bar Association, Member
  • Sangamon County Bar Association, Member
    • Access to Justice/Public Perception Committee, Member
  • Illinois State Bar Association, Member
  • Illinois Bar Journal, Editorial Board Member, 2019-2020

Honors & Awards

  • Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest, third place winner, Illinois State Bar Association, 2017
  • Named to "Forty Under 40" list, Springfield Business Journal, 2015
  • Recognized by her peers as an "Emerging Lawyer" in the areas of Advertising & Media Law; Civil Rights/Constitutional Law; Copyright & Trademark Law; and Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law


Media Appearances

  • "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
  • Guest Co-Host "Let's Talk Law," 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

Event Presentations

  • Co-Presenter, "FOIA: What Construction Lawyers Need to Know," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, Virtual Event, May 16, 2023
  • "Legal Grab Bag," Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association (IRTBA) 37th Annual Convention, Nassau, Bahamas, February 21, 2022
  • Co-Presenter, "How SE's Can Design a Better Foundation for their Services Agreements," The Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, Virtual Event, February 2, 2021
  • Co-Presenter, "Privacy Law—from Warren & Brandeis to Fighting Revenge Porn," Central Illinois Women's Bar Association, Springfield, Illinois, June 2017
  • "Government Transparency in Illinois; Recent Developments," Southern Illinois Editorial Association, Rend Lake Resort, Whittington, Illinois, April 2016
  • "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


  • "Has Cannabis Really Been Decriminalized in Illinois?" Illinois Bar Journal, March 2017
  • Co-Author, Chapter 5 "Illinois Sunshine Laws," Enforcement Under the Freedom of Information Act, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), February 2016
  • Co-Author, "No Fooling FOIA: Public Servants Should Be Expected to Comply Fully and in a Timely Manner," The News-Gazette, October 18, 2015; Reprinted online as "Private Email Doesn't Fool FOIA," The State Journal Register, October 19, 2015
  • Co-Author, "Illinois" Chapter, 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
  • Co-Author, "Illinois" Chapter, 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 (ISBN 1-58078-200-0), 2011
  • Co-Author, "Unscrambling the Confusion: Applying the Correct Standard of Review for Rape-Shield Evidentiary Rulings," 34:2 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

Community/Civic Activities

  • Vachel Lindsay Association, Secretary

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