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First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams has donated $3 million to Yale Law School to start an institute focused on freedom of speech. The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale Law School will include a law clinic through which students will litigate cases, draft proposed legislation and advise policymakers regarding freedom of speech and informational access, the school announced on Oct. 17. The institute will also promote First Amendment scholarship and will host conferences on that topic. One particular focus will be new media, including the Internet and related privacy and intellectual property questions. The Yale Information Society Project will oversee the institute. Abrams, a senior partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, graduated from Yale Law School in 1959 and has taught there and at Columbia Law School. “The First Amendment is a unique and enduring American contribution to the protection of liberty,” Abrams said in a prepared statement. “It is law but it is more than that. The vigorous defense of free expression is a cause, one rooted in distrust of virtually all government efforts to ban, prevent, punish or require speech.” Abrams has worked on some of the most important free speech cases in recent memory, including the Pentagon Papers case and Branzburg v. Hayes, a 1972 ruling in which a split U.S. Supreme Court rejected the existence of a news reporter’s privilege to shield confidential sources. Abrams represented U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. “We are thrilled that one of the First Amendment’s greatest champions has made it possible for a new generation of Yale Law students to work for the values of free expression that he holds so dear,” said Yale law professor Jack Balkin, who directs the Yale Information Society Project. Contact Karen Sloan at [email protected].

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