AriCohn Staff PhotoDirector, Individual Rights Defense Program

Ari Cohn is an attorney who joined FIRE to defend civil liberties after leaving private practice in Chicago, where he represented large multinational companies in high-stakes litigation. He regularly comments on First Amendment issues in the press, appearing in national and international television and radio broadcasts as well as in various print and online publications.

Ari is the director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, which engages in direct advocacy on behalf of students who have suffered violations of their rights, and he speaks regularly to diverse audiences about the importance of free speech, with a particular emphasis on bridging ideological divides and finding mutual understanding. Ari has authored and co-authored briefs to state and federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ari earned his J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A native of Skokie, he studied the famous ‘National Socialist Party of America’ case at an early age, which cultivated a profound respect for the First Amendment, and a lifelong passion for free speech issues. He brings a diverse perspective on student disciplinary issues as well; as an undergraduate, he served on the University of Illinois’ student conduct hearing committee, and later returned to work as a legal intern in its Office of University Counsel. Ari is a member of the Illinois State Bar and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.



FIRE Alarm: Contemporary Issues in Campus Rights

Free Speech on Campus: Everything You Need to Know

The Role of Free Speech in Campus, Political, and Social Change

Learning to Love Hate Speech: Why We Protect Words That Hurts

Fighting Censorship With FIRE: How to Defeat Speech Repression on Campus

Social Media and Angry Internet Mobs: Navigating Free Speech in the Digital Age

Student Journalism: Know Your Rights and How to Assert Them

FIRE’s Greatest Hits: Important Lessons from Outrageous Cases

Other Topics Available Upon Request