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Floyd Abrams '60 To Speak on December 14

On Thursday, December 14, at 12:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge, Floyd Abrams '60 will give a Dean’s Program on the Profession talk entitled "The Rwanda Media Genocide Appeal:  When is a Journalist Guilty of Genocide?"  Abrams is a partner in the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and is the William J. Brennan Jr. Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.  His book, Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment, was published by Viking Press.

Abrams has argued frequently in the Supreme Court in a large number of its most significant First Amendment cases.  He was co-counsel to The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case and counsel to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in its legal battles with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.  He has represented The Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, Time Magazine, Business Week, The Nation, Reader's Digest and other clients in trials and appeals.  He represented CNN in investigating and issuing a report on its broadcast accusing the United States of using nerve gas on a military mission in Laos.  He also represented CNN in seeking to persuade the United States Senate to permit the public to view its deliberations as it determined whether or not to convict President Clinton of alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. 

Abrams is a graduate of Cornell University and Yale Law School.  He was a Visiting Lecturer at YLS from 1974 to 1980 and from 1986 to 1989 and at the Columbia Law School from 1981 to 1985.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award for outstanding contribution to public discourse; the Learned Hand Award of the American Jewish Committee; and the Thurgood Marshall Award of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York

Fred Friendly, formerly president of CBS News, observed that Abrams "is to First  Amendment rights what Clarence Darrow was to the rights of the accused."  Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan characterized Abrams as "the most significant First Amendment lawyer of our age."

Watch the video of Abrams' talk, "The Rwanda Media Genocide Appeal:  When is a Journalist Guilty of Genocide?"