Duke Law School - Clinic Director - The First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law

05 Feb 2020 4:56 PM | Michael Murphy (Administrator)

DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks a Director to lead the Law School’s First Amendment Clinic.  The Clinic was launched in 2018 and already has established a presence in the region and nation.  We are looking for a dynamic and proven lawyer and advocate with serious interest or experience in teaching and mentoring law students and young lawyers.  The new Director will work with the Clinic’s Supervising Attorney to build on the Clinic’s existing work with the goal of being among the nation’s leading legal clinics devoted to the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition.

Like Duke’s other legal clinics, the First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law has both a public and a pedagogical purpose.  The First Amendment Clinic’s public purpose is primarily to provide legal advice and representation for persons who could not afford to pay for the kind and quality of legal work that the Clinic provides. The Clinic focuses primarily on serving individuals in the Southeast, and on directly representing them as clients or providing them with legal advice, rather than on filing amicus briefs in high-profile national cases. To date, the issues the Clinic has addressed on behalf of clients have included defamation, invasion of privacy, the validity of a judicial gag order, the appropriate means of publicly discussing an experience of sexual assault, and the lawfulness of restraints on free expression imposed by a major sports franchise. 

The First Amendment Clinic’s pedagogical purpose is to provide an experiential learning opportunity for students with a special interest in freedom of expression. Duke’s robust clinical program reflects the Law School’s strong commitment to providing Duke Law students with a broad range of learning opportunities, and the Law faculty’s recognition that engaging in the actual practice of law can be an extremely valuable component of a student’s overall experience. In the First Amendment Clinic, the experiential learning focuses substantially on the direct representation of parties in litigation and pre-litigation. Students have engaged in drafting complaints, pre-trial discovery (including taking and defending depositions), writing briefs, and arguing motions, all under the supervision of the Clinic Director and other faculty.  In addition to providing direct legal services, the Clinic serves its public and pedagogical goals through public events to educate the bar and the public about the importance of the First Amendment and the central role that freedom of expression plays in our political system. Our hope is that the students who participate in the creation of these public events will develop a lifelong professional dedication to advancing First Amendment interests. 

Although the new Director of the First Amendment Clinic will be ultimately responsible for all Clinic activities, the Director will have the assistance of a highly skilled Supervising Attorney, who is actively involved in the selection and handling of the Clinic’s cases, teaching the Clinic’s seminar, and planning for the Clinic’s development over time.  The First Amendment Clinic is also supported by an excellent Program Coordinator, who handles a wide range of administrative and paralegal tasks.  In addition to supervising students and teaching in the Clinic seminar, the Director will have the opportunity to pursue other interests, such as non-clinical teaching in Duke Law’s curriculum or related research and writing.

In addition to a strong record of or demonstrated potential for litigation and clinical teaching, the ideal candidate will offer:

1)     Broad-based substantive legal experience in issues involving the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of thought and expression;
2)     A deep commitment to access to justice that is consistent with the ethos of the Duke Law clinics, as well as creativity to deploy various legal skills toward this end;
3)     Excellent teaching and mentoring skills; 
4)     The ability and willingness to build connections locally, regionally, and nationally to engage in activities that strengthen and protect First Amendment rights; and
5)     A demonstrated record of effective collaboration with, and mentorship of, colleagues.

The position of Director of the First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law is open for the 2020-21 academic year and beyond. Membership in the North Carolina Bar, or eligibility for admission and a willingness to become a member, is necessary.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

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Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest and résumé via email to Rachel Greeson at rachel.greeson@law.duke.edu. Please submit your materials as soon as possible; the initial review of applications will begin March 2, 2020.

Please share this announcement with those who might be interested. Questions about the position may be addressed to Andrew Foster, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Clinics, foster@law.duke.edu; 919-613-7076.


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