The First Amendment Clinic defends and advances the rights of free speech, press, assembly and petition via direct client representation and advocacy, particularly on behalf of individuals or organizations who may not otherwise have access to counsel with First Amendment expertise. The Clinic also serves as an educational resource for organizations, journalists, students, government employees, and members of the public regarding issues of free expression, open access, and protection of newsgathering and reporting.
The clinic will provide law students with the opportunity to learn substantive areas of First Amendment law and develop concrete lawyering skills in the context of Constitutional litigation. Such skills may include any combination of: client interviewing, case evaluation and research, negotiating with opposing parties, drafting pleadings and discovery requests, taking and defending depositions, participating in discovery and settlement conferences, identifying and coordinating with experts, motion practice, and oral advocacy.
In addition, students in the Clinic will have the opportunity to increase public awareness and understanding of the First Amendment. This may include developing presentations to bring issues of free speech, press, petition, and assembly rights to non-lawyers; drafting writings that contribute to the public debate on matters implicating First Amendment freedoms; and helping to educate public officials and private citizens about the importance of protecting free expression and newsgathering.
The weekly seminar component of the clinic provides the opportunity to examine topical legal and legislative developments and debates relating to the rights of free speech, press, petition, and assembly. The seminar also provides students with litigation skills training and will periodically be used to conduct “case rounds,” allowing students to discuss and collaboratively problem-solve issues related to their client work.
This is a one-semester clinic and is awarded 4 credits (2 graded and 2 pass/fail).