Presented by Catholic Law’s Bench and Bar Programs/First Amendment Initiatives

The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law

November 15, 2023


The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (Catholic Law) will host a fall symposium on free speech and civility in legal education and practice, an event especially timely in light of growing difficulties engaging in civil dialogue in the academy and the culture at large. The planned event is part of our First Amendment Initiatives here at Catholic Law.

While we recognize that this issue is important for the academy (and society) in general, law school may be one of the best contexts in which to discuss these developments because of its unique role as a training ground for those who will engage professionally in rational discussion of adverse positions. This is not a partisan matter, as those on both the right and left have acknowledged the corrosive impact the current phenomenon is having, and will have, on the profession. Thus, speakers with a broad array of viewpoints have been asked to participate in the symposium.

To view the symposium on Cathollic Law's YouTube channel, click here.

When and Where:

The Symposium will be held at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in the Walter A. Slowinski Courtroom on November 15, 2023. 


Dean Mark Alexander
Villanova Law School, President of American Association of Law Schools

Professor Elizabeth Bartholet 
Harvard Law School

Lisa Blatt, Esq.
Chair of Williams & Connolly’s Supreme Court and Appellate Practice

Paul D. Clement, Esq.
43rd Solicitor General of the United States

Robert Destro
Professor of Law, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law

The Honorable Kyle Duncan 
Fifth Circuit of Appeals

Deborah Enix-Ross, Esq. 
President, American Bar Association

Professor Tom Ginsburg
University of Chicago Law School
Professor Randall Kennedy
The Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Jennie Bradley Lichter, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel, The Catholic University of America

Greg Lukianoff, Esq.
President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Ilya Shapiro, Esq. 
Manhattan Institute

Shaun M. Snyder, Esq. 
President-Elect DC Bar 

Professor Nadine Strossen
The John Marshall Harlan II Professor, New York Law School

Dr. Keith E. Whittington
William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics, Princeton University

Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman
The University of Pennsylvania

(Click here to view the speaker bios.)


  • 8:00 a.m.
    Registration and Breakfast

  • 8:40 a.m.
    Prof. A.G. Harmon,
    The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
    Dean Stephen Payne, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
  • 8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
    Greg Lukianoff,
    FIRE: Cultural Changes in Society

    Jonathan Zimmerman,
    University of Pennsylvania: Institutional Changes in Society and Universities

  • Coffee Break
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
    Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Jennie Bradley Lichter, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, The Catholic University of America
             Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet,
    Harvard Law School: Feminism and Free Speech
             Prof. Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School: Free Speech and Race
             Prof. Keith Whittington, Princeton University: Academic Freedom and Free Speech


  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
             Deborah Enix-Ross, Esq.,
    Immediate Past President, American Bar Association
             Civility and Law Schools and the Effect on the Legal Profession
  • 12:35 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
    Panel Discussion # 1: Free Speech and Civility in Law Schools
    Moderator: Prof. Marshall J. Breger,
    The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
             Prof. Nadine Strossen,
    New York Law School
             Ilya Shapiro, Esq., Manhattan Institute
             Prof. Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School


Coffee break
  • 2:05 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
    Panel Discussion # 2: Free Speech and Civility in the Legal Profession
    Moderator: Shaun M. Snyder, Esq.,
    President-Elect D.C. Bar
             Lisa Blatt, Esq.,
    Williams & Connolly
             Paul Clement, Esq., Clement & Murphy
             Hon. Kyle Duncan, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals


 Closing Remarks
  • 3:20 p.m.
    Dean Mark Alexander,
    Villanova Law School, AALS President

  • 4:00 p.m.
    Conference Conclusion: Prof. Marshall J. Breger

The general outline of the program will be to examine the sociological, philosophical, and other cultural causes of the current challenge to the idea of a liberal education; the effects the current challenge is having, or may have in the future, on legal education and the legal profession (such as self-censorship, loss of academic position, clients who cannot find representation, etc.); and the range of potential solutions.