Our Story

The Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic officially launched in 2018 with the aid of an initial seed grant from The Stanton Foundation. But the original concept for the Clinic came from a student who expressed to the then-Law School Dean his enthusiasm for defending and advancing First Amendment rights. From this suggestion, the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic launched with the goal of offering a clinical program to educate and inspire students to do critical First Amendment work.

The Clinic is proud to  have received additional generous support from The John S. and James L. Knight FoundationThe Charles H. Revson Foundation and the Legal Clinic Fund, a collaborative fund supported by The Abrams Foundation,  Democracy FundHeising-Simons Foundation, and The Klarman Family FoundationThe Miami Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for the Legal Clinic Fund.  The late Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, JD’52, provided additional generous support. The Stanton Foundation has provided an additional key grant to support the ongoing work of the Clinic.

While the Clinic has historically taken a leadership role on contemporary First Amendment issues, Clinic faculty and staff also frequently collaborate with other clinics, law firms, and advocacy organizations dedicated to the protection and advancement of the First Amendment. For example, the Clinic has collaborated with other law school clinics and organizations such as  the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, various ACLU chapters across the coutnry, and the Student Press Law Center.  In addition, we regularly team up with leading law firms such as Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Davis Wright Tremaine LLPVinson & Elkins LLP, Cornell Dolan, P.C., and Miller Korzenik Sommers Rayman LLP. Through these strategic partnerships, students have the unique experience of working with a variety of experienced First Amendment advocates.