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Floyd Abrams

Floyd Abrams

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

New York, NY, USA


Floyd Abrams is a senior partner in the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel llp and the author of “Friend of the Court:  On the Front Lines with the First Amendment” (2013) and “Speaking Freely:  Trials of the First Amendment” (2005).

Mr. 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; counsel to the Brooklyn Museum of Art in its legal battles with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; counsel to Senator Mitch McConnell and the National Association of Broadcasters in a First Amendment-rooted challenge to the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation; counsel to Senator McConnell in the Citizens United case; and counsel to many journalists, including Judith Miller and Myron Farber, who sought to protect the identity of their confidential sources.  He has represented The New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Time Magazine, Business Week, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. and numerous other clients in trials and appeals.

Mr. Abrams graduated from Cornell University in 1956 and the Yale Law School in 1960.  He was a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale Law School from 1974 - 1980, 1986 - 1989, 2012 - 2013, and 2015 - 2016, at the Columbia Law School from 1981 - 1985, and served from 1994 to 2009 as the William J. Brennan, Jr. Visiting Professor of First Amendment Law at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Mr. Abrams has received many awards including the Yale Law School Association Award of Merit (2015), Lifetime Achievement Awards of the CUNY School of Journalism, the American Lawyer, the New York Law School Journal and the Fred Friendly Lifetime Achievement Award of Quinnipiac University, 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.  Other awards include the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award of the Libel Defense Resource Center; the Milton S. Gould Award for outstanding appellate advocacy by the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York; the Ross Essay Prize of the American Bar Association; and awards from, among others, Catholic University, the American Jewish Congress, the New York and Philadelphia Chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and the National Broadcast Editorial Association.

Mr. Abrams served on the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee of the United States Department of Defense in 2003-2004 and as the chair of the New York State Commission on Public Access to Court Records in 2004.  He also served as chairman of Mayor Edward Koch’s Committee on Appointments, New York City and as the Chairman of the New York State Zenger Commemoration Planning Committee.  Previously, he served as the Chairman of the Communications Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, as well as Chairman of the Committee on Freedom of Speech and of the Press of the Individual Rights Section of the American Bar Association and of the Committee on Freedom of Expression of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association.  He has appeared frequently on television on CNN, MSNBC, “Charlie Rose” and other programs and has published numerous articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.

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