First Amendment Clinic (YR)

Information Introduction

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 10/10
Credits: 4
Days Time Room Start Date End Date


1100-1300 WB127

Course Description

The clinic will be administered by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit that provides pro bono legal services to journalists and news organizations. The clinic will represent the continuing legacy of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and its founding director, UVA law professor and sixth president Bob O’Neil. Working closely with RCFP attorneys, students will acquire extensive hands-on experience in direct litigation, client counseling, amicus brief writing, and policy advocacy in a range of matters related to press freedom and the First Amendment. The clinic will continue to represent both journalists and private citizens in a variety of core First Amendment cases, which have included defamation matters and public information access rights. Seminar discussions will often focus on emerging issues in the field, such as the impact of technology on confidential source protections, international online content regulation, or how hacking laws impact data journalists. Students will be expected to attend a weekly class, which will include substantive instruction in First Amendment law as well as case discussion and clinical supervision. Students will also be expected to attend a two-day “boot camp” over a weekend early in the year, which will provide a survey of First Amendment law to allow students to immediately start work on clinical matters. Guest speakers from civil society, government, and the media will frequently present to the clinic, and students will be invited to visit RCFP’s offices in Washington to observe and participate in RCFP’s work.

Course Requirements

Exam Information

Final Type (if any): None

Description: None

Written Work Product

Students will be expected to complete periodic written assignments in advance of the classroom sessions modeled on the legal and policy work product that practicing First Amendment lawyers often prepare (such as legal memos, administrative comments, public education material like an op-ed or a one-page “leave behind,” and talking points). The rest of student assignments will be directly responsive to clinic matters, such as motion practice and briefing, and research and writing for amicus assignments.

Other Course Details

Prerequisites: 2L or 3L JD status; Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech and Press is recommended but not required. The weekend session at the beginning of the year will provide students a survey of First Amendment law. Concurrencies: None

Exclusive With: None

Laptops Allowed: Yes

First Day Attendance Required: No

Course Resources: To be announced via Canvas.

Course Notes: NOTE REGARDING ENROLLMENT: Enrollment in this clinic is through prioritization of the clinic during the clinics-only lottery process in early July (there is no application). If seats are available in this clinic after the lottery process, students can enroll themselves in the course via the SIS Add/Drop process. If a student seeking a seat in this class is enrolled in another clinic, enrollment authorization from the instructors from both clinics must be provided to the Student Records Office via email ([email protected]). Students will be expected to attend a one-day “boot camp” early in the fall term (roughly five hours in length, date to be announced) with assigned readings, which will provide a survey of First Amendment law to allow students to immediately start work on clinical matters.

Graduation Requirements

Satisfies Understanding Bias/Racism/Cross-Cultural Competency requirement: No

Satisfies Writing Requirement: No

Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes

Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

Additional Course Information

Schedule No.: 124817956

Modified Type: Clinical (Excl.)

Cross Listed: No

Waitlist Count: 0

Concentrations: Constitutional Law , Democracy and Civil Rights , Litigation and Dispute Resolution , Public Service and Leadership

Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, November 22, 12:01 AM

Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 06, 11:59 PM

Information reflected on this page was last refreshed at: Friday, July 19, 2024 - 7:02 AM *

*During open enrollment periods, live enrollment data may be found in SIS.