Panel 1: The State of Free Speech Law
Landis Best is a litigation partner at the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel. As part of her litigation practice, she has done a significant amount of work representing media companies, journalists, and others with respect to First Amendment and expressive rights. Her clients have included ABC, CBS, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum), and The Motion Picture Association of America, among others. A partner since 2001, Landis joined Cahill in 1995 after completing several clerkships for judges, including for the Honorable William H. Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Landis enjoys mentoring junior attorneys, and has served on Cahill’s Women’s Initiatives Committee and the Associate Liaison Committee. She has also been active in the larger legal community, serving in various leadership roles with the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section, including a stint as head of the First Amendment and Media Litigation Committee. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Law.
Allen Dickerson is Legal Director of the Institute for Free Speech, where he leads the Institute’s nationwide litigation efforts. He has represented individuals and organizations in First Amendment challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third, Ninth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits, the Supreme Courts of Colorado and Nevada, and various trial courts.
Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s first and most prestigious honor society, founded in 1776. Lawrence is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center, and has previously served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018 and the American Law Institute in 1999. Lawrence is the recipient of the 2019 Ernest L. Boyer Award from the New American Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences’ Arts & Sciences Advocacy Award in 2018. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes. Lawrence has published widely and lectured internationally. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press 1999), examining bias-motivated violence and how such violence is punished in the United States. He has testified before Congress, appeared as a commentator on CNN among other networks, and frequently contributed op-eds to major news sources. Lawrence’s legal career was distinguished by service as an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York in the 1980s, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College magna cum laude where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.
Panel 2: The Free Speech Debate in American Culture
Roger Berkowitz is Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights at Bard College. Professor Berkowitz authored The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition (Harvard, 2005; Fordham, 2010; Chinese Law Press, 2011). Berkowitz is co-editor of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics (2009), The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis (2012) and Artifacts of Thinking: Reading Hannah Arendt's Denktagebuch (2017). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The American Interest, Bookforum, The Forward, The Paris Review Online, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and many other publications. He is a co-editor of Just Ideas, a book series published by Fordham University Press. He is the winner of the 2019 Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought given by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Bremen, Germany.
Jennifer Choi is the Managing Director of the News Integrity Initiative, which is a project of the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism (CUNY) to strengthen trust between newsrooms and communities. She previously served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives at the school, and continues to serve as an advisor for diversity related work. Prior to the Newmark School, Jennifer was the vice president and chief content officer for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (a research organization for social justice philanthropy), managed the journalism portfolio of grants at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago, and served as director of strategic initiatives at Chicago Public Media.
Daryl Davis is an American R&B and blues musician, activist, author, actor, and bandleader. Davis has played with such musicians as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, B. B. King, Bruce Hornsby, and Bill Clinton. As an activist, Davis' efforts to improve race relations led him to engage with members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), as reported by NPR's "How One Man Convinced 200 Ku Klux Klan Members to Give Up Their Robes." Davis is the subject of the 2016 documentary "Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America" and delivered this widely-viewed TEDx Talk, Engaging with Hate.
Richard Wolffe is a best-selling author and journalist, and a digital media and marketing executive. He currently writes a weekly column for The Guardian, focusing on U.S. politics. He recently co-authored We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time with José Andrés. It was published by Ecco in September 2018 and became an instant New York Times bestseller.
Thomas de Zengotita taught at the Draper Graduate Program at NYU from 1996 until 2017, and teaches an evening philosophy seminar entitled “Modern Ethics Since the Death of God” at Dalton, where he has also taught for more than thirty-five years. He holds a BA, MA, and PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. He was also contributing editor at Harper's magazine from 2006 to 2011. Dr. de Zengotita’s books include Mediated, which received the Marshall McLuhan Award in 2006; Postmodern Theory and Progressive Politics: Toward a New Humanism, from 2018; and the forthcoming Toward a New Foundation for Human Rights: a Phenomenological Approach, due out from Stanford University Press in 2020.