Tulane First Amendment Clinic

The First Amendment Clinic was founded in 2020 thanks to the generous support of the Stanton Foundation. We represent individuals without regard to political ideology and our mission is to protect the free speech rights of all.

The First Amendment Clinic allows law students to learn substantive First Amendment law while developing concrete lawyering skills through federal litigation and advocacy work. Students represent clients in matters involving the First Amendment “expressive” clauses, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and access to the courts. Students have handled matters involving public protest and dissent, student speech, artistic expression, intimidations of members of the media, and much more.

Students conduct all aspects of federal court litigation, drafting pleadings, discovery and briefs; conducting depositions; arguing motions; negotiating settlements and/or trying cases in state and federal court. Student attorneys have professional responsibility for clients and handle all aspects of cases from the initial client interview through fact investigation and discovery, then to trial. Students also engage in non-litigation advocacy on behalf of clinic clients, providing client representation and advice to members of the public and members of the media in various contexts including providing “know your rights” materials and providing pre-publication review of matters for members of the media. 

In its inaugural year,  student attorneys handled 18 matters on behalf of Louisianians, among them: 

  • The Right to Protest: The Clinic filed a federal civil suit on behalf of a local environmental organization that was unable to hold a political demonstration due to confusing and onerous permitting requirements. 
  • The Right to Protest and Black Lives Matter: Two student attorneys represented a woman arrested in the protests following the killing of George Floyd for “crossing or traversing a police cordon” during a protest. The City dismissed the charges against our client.
  • Free Expression on Public Streets: Student attorneys worked with a local organization to create a “Know Your Rights to Street Performance” wallet card.
  • Public Employee Speech: The Clinic filed a case against the City of New Orleans, contesting a policy imposed on all city government workers that prohibits employees from engaging in online speech that is negative or disparaging about the City of New Orleans, and speech that could be construed as “offensive.”
  • Free Press: The Clinic also represented members of the media in challenges to defamation threats, gag orders and in defending their access to information