The First Amendment Salon began in April 2014. The Salon hosts a series of non-partisan programs that aim to emulate the spirit of the U.S. Constitution’s Madisonian guarantee by opening a dialogue, at once robust and diverse, about free expression in America.

To that end, the Salon engages members of the First Amendment communitylawyers, academics, journalists, and activistsin an ongoing discussion of key free speech issues of our day. Each program involves a no-charge, 90-minute discussion concerning a timely topic related to freedom of expression, whether in a contemporary Supreme Court case, book, article, legal brief, or memorandum.

Twenty-five or more invitees gather at different venues and are electronically connected via teleconferencing. The Salons typically take place at the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of the law firm Ballard Spahr. In September 2014, the Salons formed an association with the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at the Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. Since that time, the events have included participants from the Yale Law School as well.

A reception either precedes or follows each discussion in order to develop a better sense of community. In March 2015, the Salons began to be video recorded. And in August 2015, the Salon first went “on the road,” beginning with an event in Los Angeles. Ronald Collins, David Skover, and Lee Levine founded the Salon and serve as co-chairs of the Salon’s advisory board.

Advisory Board

Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Sandra Baron, Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression

Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California at Irvine, School of Law

Robert Corn-Revere, Davis Wright Tremaine

Robert Post, Yale Law School

David Schulz, Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression

Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block, Georgetown Law Center

Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago, School of Law

Nadine Strossen, New York Law School

Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law


First Amendment Salon Video Playlist

All First Amendment Salons