Gautam S. Hans has joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty to launch and direct a new legal clinic focused on First Amendment issues and protections. The clinic, funded by a grant from the Stanton Foundation, will open in spring 2019.
“I’m thrilled to be working on such a crucial issue at one of the nation’s leading law schools. We’re seeing many free speech issues arise these days, and the clinic will represent low-income individuals and organizations facing such issues. I’m particularly interested in representing vulnerable populations who may need help in asserting their speech and assembly rights, as I believe those clients will help our students see how the First Amendment intersects with other areas of the law,” Hans said.
Hans’ appointment and the launch of the new First Amendment Clinic were announced by Dean Chris Guthrie. Hans was previously a clinical fellow at the University of Michigan, where he earned both his J.D. and an M.S. in information.
Hans’ work and scholarship examine how individuals and organizations grapple with the complex legal and policy issues involved with technology and civil liberties. As a Clinical Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School, he focused on intellectual property and technology law. His most recent article, “Curing Administrative Search Decay” (Boston University Journal of Science & Technology Law, 2018), addresses how new technological services that operate in highly regulated areas can affect individual civil liberties protections.
Before joining the legal academy, Hans served as policy counsel and director at the Center for Democracy and Technology in San Francisco, where he worked on a range of technology law and policy issues, including speech, privacy and surveillance. He had joined CDT, which is based in Washington, D.C., in 2012 as the Ron Plesser Fellow, focusing on privacy issues.
Hans is a frequent speaker on civil liberties and intellectual property. His work has appeared in a range of journals, newspapers and online media, and has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (in dissent). While earning his graduate degrees at the University of Michigan, Hans was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review and served as a student-attorney in the Entrepreneurship Clinic and the Michigan Clinical Law Program.
“I’m grateful to the Stanton Foundation for enabling Vanderbilt to offer this exciting new clinic, and I look forward to the interesting work Gautam Hans and his students will do as they defend clients’ First Amendment rights,” said Dean Guthrie. “Our new First Amendment Clinic supports our ongoing efforts to foster dialog among individuals and groups reflecting a broad and diverse spectrum of views, perspectives and policy positions.”
The Stanton Foundation was created by broadcasting pioneer Frank Stanton. Its grant-making areas include classic and 21st-century First Amendment issues and the larger challenge of creating a better-informed citizenry.