Ari Cohn

Ari Cohn


Ari Cohn is Chicago-based attorney with a decade of experience defending the First Amendment and free speech. A nationally-recognized expert in First Amendment law, defamation law, and Section 230, Ari currently serves as Free Speech Counsel at TechFreedom, a non-partisan nonprofit think tank devoted to technology law and policy, and the preservation of civil liberties in our digital world. He works tirelessly with his colleagues, other civil society groups, and stakeholders to defend the First Amendment and the vibrant, open Internet that has put the world and all of its knowledge at our fingertips, advocating before legislators, regulators, the courts, and the public. In his private capacity, Ari defends individual clients against abusive and censorial defamation (and other speech tort) claims aimed at dissuading or punishing the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Prior to joining TechFreedom, Ari was the director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (now the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression), where he managed the program’s direct advocacy and guided the organization to a record number of free speech victories on behalf of college students and faculty members across the United States. Ari has also previously served as an attorney with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, and as a litigation associate at the Chicago office of Mayer Brown LLP, where he represented large multinational companies in complex litigation matters.

Ari is a sought-after communicator on free speech and tech policy issues, regularly serving as a source for print media and appearing on television, radio, and podcasts. He has been invited to speak to dozens of conferences, continuing legal education programs, events, and other groups on important First Amendment and tech policy issues. Ari particularly enjoys speaking to diverse audiences and emphasizing bridging ideological divides to foster productive engagement on important issues.

Cornell Law School, JD, cum laude

   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, BA


United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois


  • All
  • TV & Webcasts
  • Radio & Podcasts
  • In-Person Events and Presentations


Speaking Engagements.

A highly sought-after speaker, Ari regularly presents nationwide at conferences, continuing legal education programs, bar association meetings, law schools, and other events. Topics include First Amendment law, free speech, defamation law, content moderation, and internet regulation.

Click on a category of speaking engagement below to expand the list.

If you would like to invite Ari to speak at an event, please use the contact form on this page.

  • Panelist, “Cancel Culture: New First Amendment Challenges in Media and Employment Law,” New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Convention (Atlantic City, NJ) May 16, 2024
  • Panelist, “Protecting Kids, Privacy, and Free Speech,” American Bar Association Antitrust Law Spring Meeting (Washington, DC) April 10, 2024
  • Lead Facilitator, “Comedians and the First Amendment: A Discussion with Kathy Griffin and Mchael J. Grygiel,” American Bar Association Annual Conference of the Forum on Communications Law (Santa Barbara, CA) February 3, 2024
  • Panelist, “A Discussion on Missouri v. Biden,” Federalist Society Missouri Chapters Conference (Jefferson City, MO) January 19, 2024
  • Co-Presenter (with David Greene), “This Just In: Significant 2023 U.S. Supreme Court Decisions: Gonzalez v. Google and Taamneh v. Twitter,” State Bar of Wisconsin (Virtual) June 28, 2023
  • Panelist, “Prior Restraint/Content Moderation: Where Are We Today?” New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting and Convention (Atlantic City, NJ) May 18, 2022
  • Panelist, “Internet Speech Regulation,” DePaul Law Review Symposium (Chicago, IL) April 23, 2022
  • Speaker, “Platforms, Publishers, & Polemics,” Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Washington District Conference (Spokane, WA) October 8, 2021
  • Panelist, “A First Amendment Primer,” Stetson University College of Law National Conference on Law and Higher Education (Clearwater Beach, FL) Debruary 2, 2018
  • Speaker, “Modern Legal History Series: Defending Individual Rights on Campus,” Belmont Law Review (Nashville, TN) March 19, 2018
  • Speaker, “Shutting Down Free Speech in the Name of Safe Spaces,” California Western School of Law (San Diego, CA) October 25, 2017
  • Speaker, “Dressing Up Censorship: Silencing Campus Speech Through the Misuse of Intellectual Property Law,” Penn State Law Review Symposium: College and the Constitution (University Park, PA) March 24, 2016
  • Panelist, “How Should We Regulate Generative AI in Political Ads,” Center on Technology Policy (Virtual), February 5, 2024
  • Panelist, “The Supreme Court’s Newfound Interest in Internet Law,” Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting (Washington, DC) January 3, 2024
  • Panelist, “The Thin Line Between Obscenity and Censorship,” Woodhull Freedom Foundation (Virtual) November 16, 2023
  • Panelist, AI Insight Forum: Elections & Democracy, United States Senate (Washington, DC) November 8, 2023
  • Panelist, “Digital Discourse in Flux: Navigating the Legal, Economic, and Societal Impacts of Today’s Online Speech Decisions,” American Enterprise Institute (Washington, DC) November 2, 2023
  • Panelist, “The Challenge of Disinformation in Generative AI,” The Future of Free Speech: Symposium on AI, Free Speech and Human Rights (Vanderbilt University) October 13, 2023
  • Panelist, “Designing a Liability Framework for Generative AI,” Center for Democracy & Technology: Future of Speech Online 2023 (Virtual) October 5, 2023
  • Witness, “AI and the Future of our Elections,” United States Senate Committee on Rules & Administration (Washington, DC) September 27, 2023
  • Panelist, “Back to the Future: Kids and the Internet,” Media Law Resource Center (Virtual) August 29, 2023
  • Moderator, “Section 230 at the Supreme Court: Where are we now,” American Enterprise Institute (Washington, DC) April 19, 2023
  • Panelist, “Section 230, Google, Twitter & the Supreme Court,” Broadband Breakfast (virtual) January 25, 2023
  • Panelist, “First Amendment Unscripted: Obscenity,” First Amendment Museum (virtual) December 14, 2022
  • Panelist, “The Supreme Court, Social Media, & the Culture Wars,” Broadband Breakfast (virtual) June 1, 2022
  • Panelist, “Regulating Big Tech,” Emory Law School Federalist Society (virtual) March 11, 2021
  • Panelist, “Free Speech on Campus: What It Means for the Future,” FreedomFest (Las Vegas, NV) July 14, 2018
  • Panelist, “The Rise of Violence Against Free Speech and Civil Rights,” FreedomFest (Las Vegas, NV) July 13, 2018
  • Keynote Speaker, “Freedom for the Speech We Hate,” Central Washington University First Amendment Festival (Ellensburg, WA) April 24, 2018
  • Panelist, “46 Years of Title IX — Promoting Inclusion, Equity, and Safety in the Politics of Gender and Higher Education,” Texas Tech University Civil Counterpoints Series (Lubbock, TX) April 4, 2018
  • Speaker, “Contemporary Issues in Campus Free Speech,” University of Oregon School of Law (Eugene, OR) February 25, 2018
  • Co-Presenter, “The First Amendment and the LGBTQIA+ Community,” Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (Omaha, NE) February 18, 2018
  • Panelist, “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech on College Campuses,” KPCC In Person (Redlands, CA) November 30, 2017
  • Speaker, “Free Speech on Campus: URI and Beyond,” University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI) November 15, 2017
  • Panelist, “Free Speech on the College Campus,” Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) October 3, 2017
  • Panelist, “Political Speech on College Campuses,” Education Writers Association Seminar: Covering Campus Conflict in the Time of Trump (Atlanta, GA) October 2, 2017
  • Speaker, “Constitution Day: The Limits of Free Speech,” York Community High School (Elmhurst, IL) September 15, 2017
  • Panelist, “Is the University Killing Free Speech?” FreedomFest (Las Vegas, NV) July 20, 2017
  • Speaker, “The Suppression of Political Viewpoints in Higher Education,” Thomas Jefferson School of Law Federalist Society (San Diego, CA) April 13, 2017
  • Speaker, “Free Speech in 2017: Is it Under Attack?” Institute for Humane Studies (Arlington, VA) April 8, 2017
  • Speaker, “FIRE Alarm: Issues in Campus Free Speech,” Cornell Law School Federalist Society (Ithaca, NY) March 23, 2017
  • Speaker, “Student Journalism: Know Your Rights,” University of Washington (Seattle, WA) March 8, 2017
  • Speaker, “Student Organizations: Free Speech Issues, Concepts, & Lessons,” Temple University Beasley School of Law Federalist Society (Philadelphia, PA) February 13, 2017
  • Keynote Speaker, “The State of Free Expression on Campus,” Canadian Constitution Foundation Law & Freedom Conference (Toronto, ON) January 7, 2017
  • Speaker, “First Amendment Issues Affecting Higher Education,” Cerro Coso Community College (Ridgecrest, CA) November 10, 2016
  • Speaker, “You Can’t Say That! The Tension Between Free Speech and Diversity/Inclusion,” Boston College Law School Federalist Society (Newton, MA) November 3, 2016
  • Speaker, “The First Amendment Goes to College,” Boston University School of Law Federalist Society (Boston, MA) November 3, 2016
  • Speaker, “FIRE Alarm: Contemporary Issues in Campus Free Speech,” Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Federalist Society (Cleveland, OH) October 25, 2016
  • Speaker, “You Can’t Say That!” DePaul University College of Law Federalist Society (Chicago, IL) September 15, 2016
  • Co-Presenter (with Nadine Strossen), “Free Speech on Campus,” New York Law School Federalist Society (New York, NY) April 13, 2016
  • Speaker, “Free Speech & Inclusion: Friends or Foes?” Lindenwood University (Saint Charles, MO) March 16, 2016
  • Speaker, “New Threats to Free Speech,” University of Michigan Law School Federalist Society (Ann Arbor, MI) February 9, 2016
  • Panelist, “First Amendment Rights in Public Spaces — How Schools and Others Can Better Educate and Communicate with Students and the Community,” National Press Photographers Association Symposium (Athens, GA) January 22, 2016
  • Speaker, “Free Speech 101: Protecting Free Expression and the First Amendment at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities,” FreedomFest (Las Vegas, NV) July 11, 2015
  • Speaker, “Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity on Campus,” University of California, Davis (Davis, CA) November 2015
  • Panelist, “Freedom to Fly: Confederate Flag, Hate Speech, and First Amendment Rights,” Temple University Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA) October 2015
  • Speaker, “Rock for Rights: Free Speech on Campus,” Oakland University (Auburn Hills, MI) September 2015
  • Speaker, “Student Rights: The Role of Free Speech in Campus Progress,” Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (Normal, IL) February 14, 2015

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