Joseph Cohn

About Joseph Cohn

Joseph 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.


  • New Voices Act Takes Effect in Maryland, October 7, 2016

  • Education Department to Senate Committee: ‘Preponderance’ Mandate Is Not Law, September 28, 2016

  • House Committee on Appropriations Expresses Concerns About Campus ‘Free Speech Zones’ in Report, July 15, 2016

  • Senator Heitkamp Perfectly Captures Why Executive Overreach Shouldn’t Be A Partisan Issue, July 8, 2016

  • WMMR’s Preston and Steve Talk Campus Free Speech With Senator Chris Coons, July 7, 2016

  • FIRE Urges Changes to Student Privacy Draft Model Legislation, July 1, 2016

  • New York’s Problematic Student Organization Bill Dies, June 21, 2016

  • Baylor’s Failure Exposes Flaws in Campus Sexual Assault Adjudication, June 3, 2016

  • Tennessee Bill to Punish UT for Sex Week Becomes Law, May 23, 2016

  • New DOJ Letter Threatens Campus Speech, Warns Former OCR Attorney, April 26, 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