Joe Cohn

About Joe Cohn

Joe Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, 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 Masters in Government Administration. Prior to law school, Joe attended the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), where he graduated cum laude and co-founded the university’s ACLU chapter. 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 joins FIRE having demonstrated a career-long dedication to advancing the cause of civil liberties.

He has served as a staff attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, where his work earned him accolades from The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly (“2007 Lawyer on the Fast Track”) in 2007 and from Super Lawyers magazine (“Rising Star”) in 2008. In 2010, Joe taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School as an adjunct professor, 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.


  • Texas introduces campus free speech legislation, March 3, 2017

  • Wisconsin Budget Proposal Includes Commitment to Free Speech on Campus, February 16, 2017

  • Kentucky Campus Free Expression Act Endorsed by EKU Student Government, February 10, 2017

  • Problematic Mississippi Campus Sexual Assault Bill Clears Hurdle, January 31, 2017

  • Law Enforcement Involvement Key to Protecting Students from Sexual Assault, January 19, 2017

  • Arizona Bill Eviscerates Academic Freedom and Violates the First Amendment, January 16, 2017

  • Kentucky Legislator Introduces Two Student Rights Bills, January 6, 2017

  • Wisconsin Lawmakers Once Again Threaten Academic Freedom, December 21, 2016

  • Arizona Governor’s Office Questions Whether Investigators Should “Start By Believing”, December 19, 2016

  • University of Minnesota Football Team to Boycott Bowl Game Over Perceived Lack of Due Process for Teammates [UPDATED], December 16, 2016

  • Articles

  • Daily Camera, September 18, 2015, Joe Cohn: Apology Accepted, Rep. Polis, but You’re Still Wrong

  • The Hill, August 17, 2015, The Case for Mandatory Reporting of Campus Sexual Assault

  •, June 15, 2015, Legislators Should Reject Governor’s Campus Sex Bill

  • Grand Forks Herald, February 1, 2015, Joe Cohn: Current System Throws Students Into Lion’s Den

  • The Washington Post, January 16, 2015, Colleges Are Not The Place To Try Rape Cases

  • The Hill, September 29, 2014, Legislative Rush on Campus Sexual Assault Threatens Student Rights

  • January 9, 2014, A New Year for Student Rights