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First Amendment Clinic

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The First Amendment Clinic provides students the opportunity to work directly with clients facing free expression concerns, including defamation, content-discrimination, and reporter’s privilege. 

The public mission of the First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law is to protect and advance the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition. The clinic advises and represents individuals and groups with First Amendment concerns or claims who cannot afford the assistance of lawyers with specialized First Amendment expertise. The clinic also provides commentary and legal analysis on pending or enacted legislation that implicates First Amendment freedoms, and other governmental as well as academic developments.

Funding for the First Amendment Clinic is provided by the Stanton Foundation, which serves to complete the philanthropic agenda of Frank Stanton in supporting the First Amendment and creating a more informed citizenry.

Testimonial

It’s been a phenomenal experience. I tell people it was the best thing that I’ve done at Duke Law by far.

Author
Bryant Wright '19

Campus Speech Database

In 2019, the First Amendment Clinic launched a publicly accessible database relating to free speech disputes on U.S. college campuses. When completed, the clinic’s Campus Speech Database will comprehensively document free speech occurrences on college campuses nationally and how any resulting litigation was resolved. It will also include events that raised potential First Amendment concerns and were settled out of court, as well as events that received public backlash but no further activity. The repository will be a resource for university administrators on handling campus speech issues and also provide guidance for practitioners litigating campus speech claims. The clinic received a grant from the Stanton Foundation to create the database.

Clinic Faculty

H. Jefferson Powell

Professor of Law
Director, First Amendment Clinic

  919-613-7168

 Powell@law.duke.edu

Nicole Ligon

Lecturing Fellow
Supervising Attorney, First Amendment Clinic

  919-613-7470

 ligon@law.duke.edu

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Clinic students and client
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First Amendment Clinic, 435
This clinic will develop counseling, litigation, and legal commentary skills in the context of working on actual cases and issues involving the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition. We will advise and represent individuals and groups with First Amendment concerns or claims who cannot afford the assistance of lawyers with specialized First Amendment expertise. We will also provide commentary and legal analysis on pending or enacted legislation that implicates First Amendment freedoms, and other governmental as well as academic developments. 

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How can we help?
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Whether you need legal advice, are seeking commentary on current events, or have a question, the First Amendment Clinic can help. Complete our contact form and a representative from the clinic will follow-up with you shortly.