First Amendment Clinic (YR)

Section 1, Fall 16

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 6/7
Credits: 4

Course Description

This year-long clinic is conducted in conjunction with the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression ( and the D.C. office of the national law firm of Baker Hostetler ( The First Amendment Clinic offers law students the opportunity to gain practical legal experience involving timely free speech and press issues. Supervised by the legal staff of the Thomas Jefferson Center and attorneys from Baker Hostetler, students work as a team in conducting legal research, meeting with clients and co-counsel, and drafting legal memoranda and briefs. Assignments involve both appellate-level and trial-level litigation, but more frequently the former including the U.S. Supreme Court. In the controversial Supreme Court case involving the First Amendment rights of funeral protesters, clinic students researched and drafted an amicus curiae brief as well as prepared counsel for oral argument. In 2012, the clinic represented a reporter in D.C. federal trial court involving media and public access to judicial reports. Students also take on a variety of non-litigation but real world projects. Such projects have included reviewing proposed municipal ordinances for potential First Amendment flaws, preparing FOIA requests, and drafting a handbook for the American Bar Association detailing media rights of access to the courtroom. During the fall semester, a series of readings in First Amendment and media law corresponding to the clinic’s docket are assigned to provide students with an intellectual and jurisprudential framework for their clinical work. 

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): Due Date Only
Description: A 3000-4500 word paper expanding on one of the clinic’s litigation projects or reading assignments due through EXPO by 4:30 pm (EST) on the last day of the Spring final exam period.
Final Exam Notes:

A 3000-4500 word paper expanding on one of the clinic’s litigation projects or reading assignments due through EXPO by 4:30 pm (EST) on the last day of the Spring final exam period.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Open to second- and third-year students only. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes: NOTE REGARDING CREDITS: Of the seven credits awarded for this year-long clinic, four credits will be allocated to the fall semester and three credits to the spring semester for academic load purposes. All credits and grades will be awarded at the end of the academic year. 

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: