FIRE Staff Speaker
Joe Cohn serves as director of FIRE’s Legislative and Policy department, overseeing a team of attorneys and staff tasked with monitoring and engaging on legislation and regulatory matters. Under his leadership, FIRE has secured numerous victories for free speech and due process at the state and federal level.
Joe is a 2004 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Fels Institute of Government Administration, where he earned his Juris Doctor and master’s degree in Government Administration. In 2000, he graduated with distinction from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where he co-founded the student chapter of the ACLU. A former staff attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and law clerk in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Joe joined FIRE in 2012 with a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties, including through his service as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania where he provided legal services to underserved communities. His awards include accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly, who named him a 2007 “Lawyer on the Fast Track,” and from Super Lawyers magazine, who named him a “Rising Star” in 2008.
Joe’s career also includes teaching at University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Gittis Civil Practice Clinic in 2010, where he lectured on good trial practices and supervised law students as they represented real clients in both state and federal courts. Just prior to joining FIRE, Joe served as the interim legal director for ACLU affiliates in Nevada and Utah.
As legislative and policy director, Joe spearheads FIRE’s advocacy at all levels of government. He has testified before Congress and in state legislatures across the country and has drafted numerous bills that have been enacted into state law. He regularly comments on FIRE’s issues in the media.
- FIRE statement: Florida bill attacking NYT v. Sullivan would ‘spell disaster’ for free speech,
- Unconstitutional ‘SAFER Act’ violates the First Amendment, undermines academic freedom, and seeks to upend decades of anti-discrimination law,
- Late amendment to Arizona bill targets academic freedom in teacher preparation programs,
- New wave of bills on race and sex stereotyping violate academic freedom,
- Campus due process in the crosshairs as the Senate confirms Lhamon on party-line vote,
- FIRE writes to six members of South Carolina congressional delegation regarding anti-critical race theory letter sent to state universities,
- Florida governor signs bill that advances student due process rights but risks chilling campus speech,
- Statement: Nomination of Catherine Lhamon a return to ‘old, failed policies’,
- Flawed bill to protect campus free speech signed into law in West Virginia; FIRE urges fixes,
- Florida legislation on recording classes invites ‘gotcha’ politics into the classroom,
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