Jay Bender

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  • South Carolina, 1975
  • U.S. District Court District of South Carolina, 1975
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina J.D, 1975
  • University of South Carolina
  • B.A in Journalism, 1970
    • Certified Civil Mediator, State and Federal Courts
    • Certified Arbitrator

Martindale Hubbell rated AV 5.0/5.0

    • Permanent member, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
    • Richland County Bar Association
    • South Carolina Bar
    • Richland County Planning Commission, Member, 1979-83; Chairman, 1981
    • South Carolina Occupational Health and Safety Review Board, Chairman, 1983 -1990
  • “Law Affecting South Carolina Newspapers”, SCPA Foundation, 1995
  • Legal Guide, S.C. Broadcasters, 1998
  • “Closed Doors and Closed Drawers: Public Access to Courtrooms and Court Records”, S.C. Lawyer,   Nov./Dec., 1994
  • “The Constitution and the Challenge to the Culture of Confidentiality”, S.C. Lawyer, May/June, 1995
  • “Restraints on Extrajudicial Comment: Who Can Say What, When and Where?”  S.C. Lawyer, May/June,   1999
  • “One Week That Changed the State”, S.C. Lawyer, Nov./Dec., 1999
  • “An Outbreak of Prior Restraint in the Palmetto State”, S.C. Lawyer, March 2012
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Super Lawyer

Jay Bender has built a national reputation as a lawyer for newspapers and broadcasters, and is regarded as South Carolina’s foremost authority on the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.  Bender represents the South Carolina Press Association, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and many of the members of those associations.  Since beginning his media law practice in 1975 Bender has appeared in a multitude of trial and appellate courts, both federal and state, to advocate press-related cases.  As a lobbyist for the South Carolina Press Association, Bender was instrumental in the adoption of amendments to strengthen the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act and the adoption of a reporter’s shield law.  Bender has also published two books on South Carolina media law.

Bender holds the Reid H. Montgomery Freedom of Information Chair at the University of South Carolina where he is a visiting professor in the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies and a lecturer in the School of Law.  Bender teaches courses in the law and ethics of mass communication in both schools and a course on constitutional limitations on commercial speech regulation in the law school.  Bender’s students include undergraduates, law students and doctoral candidates.

In addition to his media law practice and his teaching Bender is a frequent speaker to press groups, lawyer organizations, judges and academic assemblies on access to courts, public records and meetings, and free speech issues.  Bender is quoted regularly by reporters commenting on free speech and access controversies ranging from a police department’s refusal to provide a crime report to the arrest of protesters on the state capitol grounds.

Bender has prepared summaries of South Carolina media-related law for the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press and the Libel Defense Resource Center. He has also written on media law issues for the South Carolina Bar magazine, his most recent publication being “An Outbreak of Prior Restraint in the Palmetto State” in the March 2012 issue of South Carolina Lawyer.  Bender’s provocative speech on free speech at the inaugural  Columbia TEDx talks received a standing ovation.

Between 1975 and 2006 Bender was an attorney for the Catawba Indian Nation and participated in litigation and negotiations leading to the settlement of a land claim that arose in 1840.

Away from his professional career Bender has been active in community service having been a “radio reader” on the South Carolina Radio Network for the Blind for 30 years and a frequent platelet donor for the Red Cross.  In 2010 Bender received an award for service to journalism and the community from the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and previously was honored as an outstanding alumnus of that school.

Bender has been a vintage motorcycle racer (a reference to both the rider and his mount), a whitewater kayaker, marathoner and mountain climber.  Bender has ridden a motorcycle from Key West, Florida to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and later to the “Four Corners” of the United States:  Key West, Florida, San Ysidro, California, Blaine, Washington, and Madawaska, Maine.  Bender’s more sedate hobby is collecting pueblo and Catawba pottery.

News about this Attorney

An outbreak of prior restraint in SC

By Jay Bender When public health officials learn of an individual with a food-borne E. coli illness, it is an incident.  When a few more folks get sick, the incident becomes an outbreak and  public health departments swing into action to prevent the outbreak from becoming an epidemic. South Carolina has had an outbreak of judicially-imposed prior restraints, and action is needed to contain […]

Georgia Federal Court Protects Web Reporter from Subpoena

Camden Military Academy was sued in federal court in South Carolina by a former student who alleged that the school failed to protect him from hazing and sexual assault.  The plaintiff lives in the Atlanta area and a Georgia web publication, Southern Free Press, published a piece on the plaintiff and his suit.  The military […]

Jay Bender to be honored by S.C. Broadcasters

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Broadcasters Association will present its Honorary Life Membership Award to attorney Jay Bender on Jan. 25, during its annual Awards of Distinction ceremony at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Bender, a former partner who serves as of counsel with Baker Ravenel & Bender law firm in Columbia, has represented […]