Legal Scholar Frederick M. Lawrence to Examine Changing Boundaries of Free Speech at JTS

Press Contact: Beatrice Mora
Office: (212) 678-8950

February 25, 2016, New York, NY

The proper boundaries of free expression have been severely challenged by the rise of hate speech, especially in the context of social media. Crucial questions arise: How do we draw lines when three core values—free expression, protecting members of the community, and eradicating unlawful discrimination—clash? Can we protect free speech in public spaces and still protect against genuinely threatening behavior?

Frederick M. Lawrence—Yale Law School senior research scholar, past president of Brandeis University, and a leading  expert on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes—will explore these questions in the Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture of The Jewish Theological Seminary. Professor Arnold Eisen, chancellor of JTS, will moderate. The event will take place March 28 at 7:30 p.m. on the JTS campus, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street), in New York City.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students with valid ID.  Tickets and photo ID are required for admission. RSVP at

This program has been approved by the New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for one-and-a-half (1.5) credit hours in professional practice for those attending in person. The course is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys. New Jersey attorneys will receive credit for this program through reciprocity.

The lecture will also be live streamed, at no charge, at (registration not required for the livestream). JTS invites synagogues and other Jewish communal organizations to hold a public screening of this outstanding program. To learn more, please contact

Frederick M. Lawrence is senior research scholar at Yale Law School, professor of politics at Brandeis University, and the former president of Brandeis. An accomplished scholar, teacher, and attorney, he has written, lectured, and testified widely on civil rights crimes and is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law.

Prior to Brandeis, Lawrence was dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School. His legal career was distinguished by service as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit.

The annual Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture was established by JTS in honor of the late philanthropist and community leader. Mr. Segal was the first Jewish president of the American Bar Association and the first Jewish chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.