Jeffrey J. Pyle

Industry Expertise

Publishing

Social Media

Jeffrey J. Pyle is a trial lawyer who represents clients in a wide variety of cases, including First Amendment litigation, business disputes, multimillion dollar contract suits, libel claims, criminal cases, and civil rights matters.  Jeff has argued appeals in both state and federal courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

As part of his practice, Jeff represents newspapers, magazines, and investigative journalism organizations in cases involving alleged defamation, access to government documents, subpoenas to identify sources, and sealed court records.  He also provides prepublication review services to media companies, advising them on how to avoid liability in reporting the news.

In 2016, Jeff argued an important appeal to the First Circuit on behalf of an online publisher, obtaining dismissal of civil claims pursuant to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  In 2015, Jeff and Prince Lobel partner Joseph D. Steinfield successfully represented the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority at the First Circuit in challenge to the MBTA’s rejection of certain advertisements.  In 2012, Jeff obtained a favorable ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of a business seeking access to sealed affidavits that had been filed in support of a search warrant.  In 2007, he and Joe Steinfield tried a lengthy First Amendment case on behalf of a businessman against officials of the Puerto Rico Department of Insurance, securing a $5 million verdict that was upheld by the First Circuit.

In 2016, Jeff and Prince Lobel partner Hugh Gorman III were recognized as Lawyers of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for their representation of Federal Concrete, a female-owned concrete company.  On Federal’s behalf, Jeff and Hugh brought a constitutional and statutory challenge to the Commonwealth’s practice of permitting nondisadvantaged individuals to participate in a construction set-aside program for female- and minority-owned firms.  As a result of a preliminary injunction they obtained, disadvantaged construction companies were given new opportunities to compete for government contracts.

Jeff frequently represents journalists seeking access to public records and court filings.  Through Prince Lobel’s legal hotline for the New England Newspaper and Press Association, Jeff helps reporters negotiate for access and appeal from the denial of requests under the state’s public records law.  Jeff has also successfully represented the press, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe, in proceedings to unseal court documents.

Jeff has handled many cases under the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP law, which protects citizens and writers against lawsuits aimed at intimidating their exercise of the right to petition the government.  In 2012, working as a cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Massachusetts, he secured dismissal of a defamation claim brought by the owner of a racetrack against a critic of expanded casino gaming, in the first known application of the Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP law to a social media post.

Jeff frequently teaches and writes about issues involving First Amendment rights and media law.  In 1994, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts awarded Jeff the David Burres Civil Liberties Award.  Jeff is also a member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal.

Jeff graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School, where he worked as solicitations editor for the Boston College Law Review.  He then served as a law clerk for the Honorable Michael A. Ponsor in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.  He joined Hill & Barlow as an attorney in 2001, and in 2003, moved with several other attorneys to Prince Lobel.

  • Boston College Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2000
  • Trinity College, B.A., 1997
  • Massachusetts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • American Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association
  • 2019: Named Boston “Lawyer of the Year,” First Amendment Law, Best Lawyers
  • 2019 and 2020:  Listed in Best Lawyers in America, First Amendment Law
  • 2016: Named a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly “Lawyer of the Year”
  • 2006–2015: Named a “Rising Star” by “Massachusetts Super Lawyers” in the area of First Amendment/Media/Advertising
  • 2016-present: Member, Board of Editors, Boston Bar Journal
  • 2013-2016: Council member, Boston Bar Association
  • 2010-2013: Chair, Boston Bar Association Amicus Committee
  • 2004-2006: Co-chair, Boston Bar Association Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section
  • February 7, 2020:  Quoted in The Enterprise, “DPH Won’t Say Where EEE Victims Live.  An Expert Calls that Mystifying Abuse of the Records Law”
  • February 2, 2020:  Quoted in The Boston Globe, “More Sunshine, Not Less, Needed with Massachusetts Public Records”
  • January 31, 2020:  Quoted in The Boston Globe, “In ‘Drastic’ Change, Baker Wants Birth, Death Records Secret in Most Cases”
  • January 22, 2020:  Quoted on abcnews.go.com, “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton”
  • January 17, 2020:  Quoted in The Berkshire Eagle, “DA’s Office Whistleblower Resigns Over Public Records Issues, ‘Campaign Culture'”
  • January 11, 2010:  Quoted in The New York Times, “Professor Fired After Joking That Iran Should Pick U.S. Sites to Bomb”
  • January 2, 2020:  Quoted in The Boston Globe, “SJC Rules in Favor of UMass Student Newspaper Editor in Defamation Case”
  • September 2019:  Prince Lobel Client Alert, “Massachusetts high Court Requires Recording of Show Cause Hearings, Creating New Opportunities for Public Access”
  • June 2019:  Prince Lobel Client Alert, “On Privacy Exemption, Massachusetts High Court Giveth and Taketh Away”
  • May 2019:  Quoted in The New Bedford Standard Times on a public records request pertaining to the identity of a police officer involved in the involuntary discharge of a gun in a diner
  • April 2019:  Quoted in the Hampshire Gazette on a First Amendment victory relating to a lawn-sign ban in Holyoke, Mass.
  • March 2019: Quoted in The Gardner News about a delay in the town’s posting of city council meeting minutes
  • January 2019:  Quoted by Reuters about the overturned public records ruling concerning the names of jurors involved in the prosecution of Glen Chin, a pharmacist charged with racketeering in conjunction with a nationwide meningitis outbreak
  • January 2019, Quoted in a  MassLive.com article about the Mass. State Police’s refusal to grant a request to release the public records of their union representatives
  • August 2017: “Frederick Clay’s ordeal underscores the hazards of excessive police secrecy,” Media Nation
  • May 2017:  “Cardno Chemrisk v. Foytlin: Supreme Judicial Court Holds that Anti-SLAPP Law Protects Opinion Writing,” Boston Bar Journal
  • October 2015: “The Unwarranted Secrecy of Criminal Justice Information in Massachusetts,” Boston Bar Journal
  • October 2017: Moderator, “Prince Lobel Presents: The New Public Records Regime”