First Amendment Clinic

First Amendment Clinic

The First Amendment Clinic provides students interested in the freedoms of speech, press, and information with firsthand, cutting edge experience in the field. Our students take the lead in First Amendment litigation, advocacy, and policy matters. We represent news outlets, journalists, researchers, and scholars reporting and communicating important news and information. The Clinic's work extends across disciplines, impacting the work of human rights advocates, political activists, and other individuals targeted based on their expression. From case development to filing dispositve motions and beyond, our students learn a wide range of practical litigation skills.

Clinic students can expect to:

1) Conduct intakes and vet potential cases;

2) Interview clients and supporting witnesses;

3) Conduct in-depth offensive and defensive legal research;

4) Draft correspondence with opposing counsel;

5) Draft and edit party and amicus briefs;

6) Draft press releases and blog and other social media posts;

7) Conduct legislative and policy analysis; and

8) Work collaboratively in a team-based environment.

If you believe you have a matter that the clinic should take on, please contact our Assistant Director, Cortelyou Kenney:, to set up an intake.


The Clinic is Hiring!

Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic Summer Fellowships

The First Amendment Clinic at Cornell Law School invites applications for its 2020 Summer Fellowships. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The First Amendment Clinic provides law students interested in the fields of freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and where applicable, freedom of religion, with the opportunity to enrich their understanding of these vital rights by working on cutting-edge litigation, advocacy, and policy work. A key component of the Clinic’s efforts will be to support journalists and media outlets in their vital work.

The current docket includes matters related to:

  • The First Amendment and freedom of information laws that aim to help support both national and local watchdog and investigative journalists promote their critical function of increasing government accountability;

  • Public interest organizations representing immigrant’s rights;

  • Criminal justice organizations working with incarcerated individuals, including

    on the issue of capital punishment;

  • Protecting individuals who have been targeted on the bases of their speech

Summer fellows may undertake work involving the following: 1) Conducting intakes and vetting potential cases that could have significant impact on existing law; 2) Interviewing clients and supporting fact and expert witnesses; 3) Conducting in-depth offensive and defensive legal research; 4) Drafting and editing party and amicus briefs; 5) Drafting press releases and blog and other social media posts; 6) Conducting legislative and policy analysis; and 7) Working collaboratively in a team-based environment. Fellows will work under the direct supervision of clinical faculty members and supervising attorneys and will have significant responsibility for each case or project on which they work.

The Fellowship will run from May 18 to July 31, 2020, with some flexibility as to start and end dates. Part-time work or full-time work for a portion of the Fellowship period may also be possible.

These are paid positions, with a salary of $15.63/hour. If the fellows are Cornell Law students, the fellows will be expected to use their public interest fellowship funds to cover a portion of the costs of their summers. Students who are eligible for summer funding from their own sources and who need an early decision on their applications to qualify for outside support are encouraged to advise the Clinic of their situations and to request expedited review of their candidacies.

Interested students should email a cover letter, a resume, a writing sample stating the degree of review and editing it was given, transcript, and contact information for two references to (Transcripts, if not immediately available, can be sent after the initial application, but before the submission deadline.) The final deadline to submit application materials is March 30, 2020. Early applications are encouraged.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities.


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