Student Testimonial – Chris Barnewolt, Scalia Law ‘23

Since applying to law school, my dream has been to become a practitioner of free speech law.  Antonin Scalia Law’s Free Speech Clinic has brought me one step closer towards making that dream come true.  I highly recommend the Free Speech Clinic to any law student who is interested in the history of free speech law, and who wants to learn firsthand what modern free speech litigation is like.

The Free Speech Clinic has done a fantastic job cultivating relationships with a wide range of individuals from a variety of legal and political backgrounds, who are excited to share their experiences, insights, and advice with students.  It’s difficult to choose a favorite speaker, but I especially enjoyed former ACLU president Nadine Strossen’s informative and nuanced discussion of hate speech laws and their potential impact on First Amendment rights.  In addition to arranging for great speakers, Professor Koob does a phenomenal job of educating students about the current state of free speech doctrine and the landmark First Amendment cases that have shaped the law.

Undoubtedly the most valuable aspect of the Free Speech Clinic is the opportunity to work on real-life free speech cases.  It was enlightening to see what speech-related legal disputes are driving the law today.  I enjoyed all of our projects, but I especially enjoyed working on projects related to preserving the free speech rights of college students.  From the perspective of a law student, I feel that working on drafting legal documents for real disputes helped me to develop my skills and to familiarize myself with the work I will be doing after graduation.   It was also extremely helpful to practice teamwork and professionalism alongside fellow students and professors who are all supportive of one another and share the same legal interests.

I hope to continue to follow my dream of practicing First Amendment law after graduation, and the Free Speech Clinic has definitely helped me to move closer to my goal.  I am currently interning with the Federalist Society’s Freedom of Thought Project, and with the skills I have built and the connections I have made through law school and the Free Speech Clinic, I feel well-prepared for the path ahead.  My time at the Free Speech Clinic was rewarding and worthwhile, and it was extremely encouraging to see the passion and enthusiasm of my professors and fellow students for preserving America’s tradition of robust protections for freedom of speech.  For anyone who shares that passion, I highly recommend the Free Speech Clinic.

Chris, Scalia Law ‘23