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Tom Leatherbury Named Director of First Amendment Clinic at SMU


Vinson & Elkins appellate partner Tom Leatherbury has been named director of the new First Amendment Clinic at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Focused on First Amendment issues including free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly and petition, the clinic is funded by a grant from the Stanton Foundation, created by Dr. Frank Stanton, long-time former president of CBS from 1946 to 1971.

“This clinic will make its mark across the state and the nation, using best practices of clinical legal education to strengthen First Amendment values and to improve access to justice,” Leatherbury said.

Leatherbury serves as practice group leader of V&E’s firm-wide appellate practice and has more than forty years of experience representing clients in state and federal appeals and trials. Throughout his career, Leatherbury has regularly represented traditional and digital publishers and broadcasters in all aspects of media litigation throughout his career, including libel, privacy and other torts, reporter’s privilege, newsgathering and access, misappropriation and breach of contract actions.

Among his many honors, Leatherbury was recently named a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, was presented with the Dallas Bar Foundation Justinian Award and was awarded a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas for his commitment to helping its diversity and inclusion efforts.

His past leadership roles include serving as director and president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, president of the Media Law Resource Center’s Defense Counsel Section, chair of the Dallas Bar Association’s Media Relations Committee and board member of Texas Appleseed.

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