The Clinic vigorously defends its clients’ free speech rights, across the political spectrum, to achieve the best results possible for those clients. The First Amendment Clinic provides students the opportunity to work on cases that involve freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of press, freedom of information, and freedom of religion by working on cutting-edge litigation, advocacy, and policy work, often across interdisciplinary fields.
The Clinic’s work falls into two overlapping buckets: cases pursued on behalf of local journalists and media outlets as part of our Local Journalism Project; and our “impact” litigations—cases that extend across disciplines, impacting the work of those targeted based on their expression.
The Clinic’s recent work below is featured below. Click here to see more matters.
Local Journalism Project
In its second semester in existence, the Clinic created the Local Journalism Project as a distinct initiative of the Clinic, in order to provide greater focus to the work it is doing on behalf of news outlets and journalists in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, and nearby geographies. The Local Journalism Project works on behalf of news outlets, journalists, researchers and other newsgatherers in aid of their critical function of reporting and communicating important news and information to their communities.
There are many small news outlets, including those in under-served communities, that are eager to learn of legal tools that would enhance their work and allow them to conduct more investigative reporting. Part of the Clinic’s goal is to encourage news outlets to consider pursuing additional investigative pieces related to the workings of state and local government and to involve the Clinic at the outset of an investigative piece of reporting so that the legal strategy can best aid that reporting. The Clinic assists with more routine needs, like crafting FOIL requests, along with pursuing litigation when access to such records is improperly denied.
Additionally, the Clinic recognizes that the needs of local media go beyond newsgathering and publication. Local outlets enter into commercial contracts, license material, hire employees, and must comply that must comply with regulations just like any other entity, whether non or for profit. The attorneys within the Local Journalism Project provide counsel on the range of issues crucial to the operations of community newsrooms.
The Clinic pursues strategic litigation to advance or defend important First Amendment principles on the state and federal level and has represented a range of individuals and organizations, including private citizens, advocacy organizations, and prominent news outlets.
Policy & Advocacy
In addition to its litigation and counseling work, the Clinic also pursues and publishes research on current first amendment “hot topics,” such as the use of Non Disclosure Agreements for public officials and appointees.