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The First Amendment Salons

Research & Learn

1A Salon screenshot

The First Amendment Salon was founded in April 2014 by Ronald Collins, David Skover, and Lee Levine. 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 community—lawyers, academics, journalists, and activists—in 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 videoconferencing. The Salons typically take place at the New York and Washington, D.C. offices of the law firm Ballard Spahr.

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. Collins, Seth Berlin, Floyd Abrams, and Nadine Strossen serve as co-chairs of the Salon's advisory board.

Advisory Board

Jane Bambauer, University of Arizona Law School

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

Robert Corn-Revere, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Lucy Dalglish, Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Jameel Jaffer, Knight First Amendment Institute

Jane Kirtley, University of Minnesota Law School

Lee Levine, Ballard Spahr

Robert Post, Yale Law School

David Schulz, Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression

David Skover, Seattle University Law School (emeritus)

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

Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago, School of Law

Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law

Sonja West, University of Georgia School of Law

Kyu Ho Youm, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon

First Amendment Salon Video Playlist

All First Amendment Salons