First Amendment Clinic

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Students in the First Amendment Clinic represent clients seeking to vindicate their First Amendment rights.

The First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law protects and advances the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition through direct representation of clients and policy advocacy. Our clients include journalists, individuals, and organizations, of diverse points of view, whose free speech rights have been infringed. Representative matters include:

  • Defamation defense
  • Prepublication review of news articles, podcasts, and blogs;
  • Social media blocking;
  • Access to courts, public records, and public meetings;
  • Specialized appellate representation and amicus support;
  • Policy advocacy for Anti-SLAPP legislation and reform of municipal protest and public meeting ordinances

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.


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

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.

Faculty & Staff

Course Description
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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. 

How can we help?

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.