Photo of Kathleen A. Kirby


J.D., Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America; Dean’s Scholar

B.S., University of Virginia

Law Journals

Executive Editor, Catholic University Law Review

Bar and Court Admissions

District of Columbia Bar

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits

Kathy represents media clients, including major radio and television group owners and programming networks, on a host of business and transactional issues as well as regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She has additional expertise in newsgathering, content regulation, and First Amendment issues. Regularly rated by Chambers USA as one of Washington, DC’s “Leading Lawyers” in her field, Kathy is commended for “her work on First Amendment and FCC matters” and her “responsiveness and proactive approach” (2013). She is praised for being “highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and articulate,” (2014) and is acknowledged for her “superior subject expertise, commitment to her clients, and great connections within the industry” (2010).

Representative Experience

  • Advises clients on media transactions, including compliance with FCC ownership and attribution rules.
  • Assists clients with drafting and negotiating network affiliation, retransmission consent and distribution agreements, multichannel use, syndicated programming, and other program licensing agreements.
  • Assists clients with business and legal issues associated with digital and online distribution platforms, including content licensing, copyright, and defamation.
  • Advises broadcast clients on FCC regulatory compliance, including rules governing indecency, political advertising, children's programming, closed captioning, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), license renewal, and reporting requirements.
  • Counsels clients on rulemaking and legislative initiatives impacting the media.
  • Counsels clients on newsgathering issues, including privacy, libel, audio-visual coverage of courtroom proceedings, access, fair use, and reporters' privilege.
  • Drafts FCC comments and congressional testimony.
  • Counsels media organizations regarding statutory and regulatory interpretation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules governing operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including application to newsgathering and use of video obtained therefrom.

Professional Experience

  • General Counsel, Radio Television Digital News Association (1994-Present)
  • Radio-broadcaster with extensive experience in news, operations, sales, and marketing (1978-1988)


  • American Bar Association (ABA), Forum on Communications Law
    • Governing Committee (2015-Present)
    • National Co-Chair, Women in Communications Law Committee (2010-2012)
  • District of Columbia Bar, Arts, Entertainment and Sports Law Section, Media Law Committee
  • Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA)
    • Treasurer and Chair elect, FCBA Foundation Board of Trustees (2015-Present)
    • Chair, Mass Media Practice Committee (2014-2015)
    • Co-Chair, Continuing Legal Education Committee (2013-2014)
    • Co-Chair, Video Programming & Distribution Committee (2011-2013)
    • Co-Chair, Mass Media Practice Committee (2009-2011)
  • The Media Institute, First Amendment Advisory Council
  • The Media Law Resource Center (MLRC)
    • Co-Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee (2007-2011)
  • Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, Student Press Law Center (SPLC) (2001-2007)


  • Recognized as one of the country’s top 75 “Outstanding Women Lawyers” by The National Law Journal (2015).
  • Named one of DC's "Top 50 Women Lawyers" (2012-2013) and "Super Lawyers" (2011-2015) for First Amendment/Media/Advertising by Super Lawyers magazine
  • Listed by Chambers USA as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" in Media & Entertainment: Mainly Regulatory (2007-2015)
  • Named by The Legal 500 US a "recommended lawyer" in Telecom and Broadcast Regulatory Law (2015) and Telecom and Broadcast Transactional Law (2015)
  • Radio Television Digital News Foundation First Amendment Leadership Award (2015)
  • Radio-Television News Directors Association's Rob Downey Citation (2008)
  • Inductee, National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame

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