With plans to enroll the first cohort of students in the fall of 2023 and the search for a clinic director under way, the University of Illinois College of Law is pleased to announce the launch of a new clinic dedicated to the protection of First Amendment rights.
The College of Law’s First Amendment Clinic is made possible by a generous gift from the Stanton Foundation, a private organization established by long time CBS president Frank Stanton. The mission of the Clinic will be to support freedom of expression and civic engagement by enhancing law students’ understanding of the First Amendment and providing a resource for organizations, students, journalists, and citizens defending and advancing First Amendment protections.
“Freedom of speech and inquiry are vital to America’s constitutional democracy, and have proven essential to bringing about crucially important constitutional improvements since the founding. The College of Law is thus proud and honored to have been selected to create and house a clinic to enable students to protect these foundational rights while learning the legal craft,” said Dean Vikram Amar.
“The Stanton Foundation is so pleased to partner with the University of Illinois College of Law in the establishment of a First Amendment Clinic” said Stephen W. Kidder, a spokesperson for the Stanton Foundation. “The University of Illinois College of Law has a demonstrated commitment to First Amendment law with a nationally recognized doctrinal faculty. Frank Stanton dedicated his career to advancing the core values reflected in the First Amendment and we are excited that his philanthropy will continue to promote those values under the leadership of the University of Illinois College of Law.”
The focus of the clinic’s work will be First Amendment issues of speech, press, and assembly. Working under the supervision of the clinic director, student clinicians will represent clients in actual litigation, with a particular focus on local and regional issues.
Jason Mazzone, Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor at the College of Law and Director of the Program in Constitutional Theory, History and Law, is leading the search for the new clinic director.
He said: “The First Amendment is the cornerstone of American political and civic life and central to much of what we do in a public university. For decades, the College of Law has been a leading center for research and teaching in First Amendment law. The new clinic will build on that tradition by serving clients whose First Amendment rights have been violated. For our students, the clinic will provide a phenomenal opportunity to work on cutting-edge legal issues with an important public dimension.”
The University of Illinois College of Law is currently the only law school in the state of Illinois with a clinic dedicated to the protection of First Amendment rights, and the College is proud to serve the citizens of Illinois in this way.
About the Stanton Foundation
The Stanton Foundation was created by Frank Stanton, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest executives in the history of electronic communications and one of the television industry’s founding fathers. He was the master builder of CBS, turning an also-ran radio network into a broadcasting powerhouse. Stanton became president in 1946 and served for 25 years. He was a pioneering advertising researcher, inventing the first radio advertising audience counting device a precursor of today’s “people meter” to give CBS an early competitive edge with sponsors.
But his largest contributions to the industry were his determination to have the medium serve as an instrument of civic education and his commitment to defending freedom of speech and the First Amendment.