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Instant Insights / Law Schools Become Locus of Free Speech Clashes

Law schools historically have prided themselves as places where a robust exchange of ideas and beliefs about how we govern ourselves is protected. But a polarizing political environment has put that forum to the test. Speakers invited on law campuses have clashed with protestors, leaving law school administrators worried about campus security and about protecting the First Amendment rights of all parties involved. In this Instant Insights, we look at some of those run-ins and how schools are grappling with competing Constitutional rights.

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CUNY students protested law professor Josh Blackman who was invited to speak March 29 by the school’s Federalist Society. Photo: YouTube

Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken noted in a Time Magazine piece last summer that law schools had generally avoided the type of “ugly free-speech incidents” that had recently roiled various college campuses.

She attributed that lack of conflict to the training law schools provide and the emphasis the law places on understanding the position of one’s opponents.

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Karen Sloan

Karen Sloan is the Legal Education Editor and Senior Writer at ALM. Contact her at [email protected] On Twitter: @KarenSloanNLJ Sign up for Ahead of the Curve—her weekly email update on trends and innovation in legal education—here: https://www.law.com/briefings/ahead-of-the-curve/

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