WVPA Legal Hotline

Legal Hotline Attorney Pat McGinley

With your newspaper’s participation in the West Virginia Press Association’s Legal Hotline program, your publisher, advertising department and newsroom are entitled assistance from  WVPA Legal Hotline Attorney Pat McGinley (see below) with questions concerning newspaper, advertising or editorial legal issues at no charge.

WVU Law Professor Pat McGinley

Only contributing newspapers are eligible for Legal Hotline guidance. Newspapers contribute the cost of a single quarter-page ad annually to secure this valuable service.To participate, contact  Executive Director Don Smith at 304-342-1011, ext. 160, or 304-550-0454.

Submit all Legal Hotline questions and inquires to [email protected]

Times you may want to seek a pre-publication review or an official opinion from the Legal Hotline:

  • Is your advertising director worried about the content of an advertisement?
  • Are you not sure about state or federal guidelines on tobacco, alcohol or fireworks?
  • Are your reporters having trouble getting information from a government agency?
  • Is your editor worried that a statement might be libelous?
  • Do you need an official statement for a news story about open meetings or freedom of information?
  • Do you have a question about access to records and opening meeting laws?

The first contact for all questions — urgent, general, advertising and editorial issues — for all participating newspapers should be Executive Director Don Smith — 304-342-1011, ext. 160, or 304-550-0454 — and the WVPA staff with questions or problems on any newspaper issue. Contact Don at [email protected].

Inquires will then be submitted to McGinley for review and response. This system ensures the quickest response and that no question or inquiry is left unanswered.

McGinley can also provide valuable insight into the state’s FOIA regulations and is knowledgeable of the current law and court decisions. Another benefit for participating newspapers: Your staff will be able to follow issues and answers from other newspapers.

***Please submit your first inquiry by email to

 [email protected]

 the and note the time frame in question***

NOTE: Please contact the WVPA office as a first option on all questions, but understand that you have access to the Legal Hotline attorney for an expert opinion.

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