Please find below the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic.

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The University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic provides law students with real-world practice experience defending and advancing freedoms of speech, press, assembly and petition through direct client representation. Working under the supervision of the Clinic’s director and  legal staff, students conduct initial consultations and case investigations, write demand and advocacy letters, author amicus briefs, and file and litigate law suits. The Clinic provides these services at no charge to clients in order to facilitate legal representation of individuals or organizations who may not otherwise have access to counsel with First Amendment expertise.

Clinic students also provide educational support to journalists, students, government officials, law enforcement, members of the judiciary, and public citizens on issues of free expression and news gathering. This takes the form of presentations, trainings, and webinars, and the preparation of written resource and public education materials.

Additionally, the Clinic’s Georgia Journalism and Access Project provides legal support and advocacy to local journalists and news rooms around the state by providing media law and open government trainings, pre-publication review, subpoena and defamation defense, and representation on First Amendment issues of free speech and press.

The Clinic does not provide direct advocacy or representation on open records/open meetings matters.

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The Clinic’s work focuses on the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.

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The following examples illustrate the types of matters that the Clinic would potentially handle:

  • Government retaliation against a government employee because of the employee’s private speech on a matter of public concern.
  • Public school officials punishing a student for non-disruptive speech or expression on a matter of public concern.
  • Government restrictions on speech that discriminate based on content or the speaker’s viewpoint.
  • Government censorship of speech before the speech occurs (“prior restraint”).
  • Government retaliation against a private individual based on their speech (e.g., a government official who blocks a constituent on social media because they criticized the official).
  • Defense of individuals facing defamation or libel action because of their news reporting or other public speech on a matter of public concern.
  • Defense of a journalist’s right to protect their news sources.
  • Arrest or prosecution of an individual for exercising their right to verbally criticize the police or for exercising their right to record the police  carrying out their duties in public.
The examples above are not exhaustive. If you believe you may have a First Amendment matter that the Clinic could assist you with, please contact us.
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The Clinic is funded by The Stanton Foundation whose philanthropic mission includes supporting expressive freedoms protected by the First Amendment and fostering a more informed citizenry.

The Clinic’s Georgia Journalism & Access Project is made possible by a grant from The Legal Clinic Fund for Local News.

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The Clinic is directed by Assistant Clinical Professor Clare R. Norins and staffed by two legal fellows, a project attorney, and an administrative support specialist. Typically eight law students are enrolled in the Clinic each Fall and Spring semester, with one to two law student interns during the summer.