July 1st, 2019

Malcolm Gross Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Attorney Malcolm J. Gross recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest bar journal in the U.S. Mal was recognized for his pioneering contribution to First Amendment and media law as well as his dedication and service to the legal industry. Mal was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Professional Excellence Awards event held at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia on June 27, 2019.

Mal has dedicated his life to the profession, building a successful career as a tough litigator and a reputation for being a pioneer in his field. Over his lifetime, Mal has become a well-respected and admired member of the legal community. His commitment to service and pioneering spirit has resulted in an inspiring legal career spanning over five decades.

Mal had an impressive start to his career, obtaining a clerkship for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Eagan. After entering private practice, he started building his reputation as a litigator. Well-known in many circles, the media and publishing industry caught on to Mal’s skills and his passion for the work grew.

Over the years, Mal started taking on more and more cases involving the rights of the media and his First Amendment practice expanded. In the eighties and nineties, Pennsylvania adopted “Reporter’s Privilege” in addition to its “Shield Law”, grounded in the First Amendment. Newspapers, reporters, and other media outlets were fighting to gain access to information and Mal represented them in matters pertaining to defamation, subpoenas, freedom of information issues, and more. In 2019, Mal was recognized for his work in Media Law by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers®.

Under the current administration, the rights of the press have come into question, with several major news outlets under political fire. This is nothing new in our nation’s history and Mal was at the forefront of significant cases in Pennsylvania involving the rights of the press. A few significant matters include:

  • Penn Jersey Advance, Inc. v. Grim – Deemed a “significant public records victory” by the First Amendment Coalition, Gross argued on behalf of one of the plaintiffs that autopsy records should be available to the public. Reversing the lower court decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that autopsy reports are official records and subject to disclosure.
  • Easton Joint Sewer Auth. v. Morning Call – Successfully defended publication when it attested that the municipal organization violated the Sunshine Act that requires certain public agency meetings and hearings is open to the public. The decision was affirmed at the appellate level.
  • Morning Call, Inc. v. Housing Authority of City Of Allentown – Represented newspaper seeking full access to settlement between a gas company and public housing entities after an explosion in an apartment complex. Initially, only a redacted document was provided. The superior court affirmed the lower court’s decision that the settlement was public record and should be available to the newspaper in its entirety.

Mal continues to lecture and write on First Amendment and Constitutional Law topics as well as the Sunshine Act. He frequently speaks to bar associations and community organizations and has taught Media and Publishing Law at Muhlenberg College and Lehigh University. Mal has authored several articles on the above topics for The Morning Call, Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly, Pennsylvania Law Journal Reporter, and Pennsylvania Lawyer Magazine. He was also published in the nationally circulated Communications and the Law.

We are proud to have Malcolm Gross as one of our founding partners and congratulate him on his well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award!

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