IFS Adds Two New Senior Attorneys, Promotes Owen Yeates to Senior Attorney and Deputy VP for Litigation

April 20, 2021   •  By IFS Staff   •  
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Washington, DC – The Institute for Free Speech will have three new senior attorneys following the addition of two experienced litigators and the promotion of Owen Yeates. Don Daugherty and Del Kolde will help increase our litigation efforts to meet the rising challenges facing First Amendment rights. Owen Yeates will take on an expanded role as a Senior Attorney and Deputy Vice President for Litigation.

“We are thrilled to add two seasoned and highly skilled litigators to our team. Don and Del bring a combined 50 years of civil and criminal litigation experience with them to the Institute. They will be a great help as we expand our efforts to protect free speech,” said Institute for Free Speech President David Keating. “Owen Yeates has made invaluable contributions to the Institute’s legal work and stepped in superbly as Acting Legal Director following the departure of Allen Dickerson to the FEC. We are pleased to promote Owen to Senior Attorney and Deputy Vice President for Litigation.”

Don Daugherty joins the Institute for Free Speech as Senior Attorney after previously serving as Senior Counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. Hailed among the “Best Lawyers in America” and Wisconsin’s “Super Lawyers,” Daugherty has over 30 years of experience in trial and appellate litigation and has been a partner at three of Wisconsin’s largest law firms. Daugherty earned his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia. He recently served as President of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.

“The Institute for Free Speech works to protect the heart of free speech – the freedom to criticize government. Today, this freedom is under assault. I’m delighted to join the Institute and help defend Americans’ core liberties,” said Daugherty.

Del Kolde joins the Institute for Free Speech as Senior Attorney after over 20 years as a government attorney in Washington State. He has extensive experience as a litigator of criminal cases in state court and civil cases in state and federal court, including over 60 jury trials as lead attorney. Most recently, he spent over a decade handling civil cases for government clients, including First Amendment cases. Kolde earned his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School and is a graduate of the University of Washington.

“After many years in public service, I am excited to join an organization dedicated to promoting the free speech rights and values I consider essential to our country. I look forward to contributing to the Institute’s vital efforts to promote and defend First Amendment rights,” said Kolde.

Owen Yeates joined the Institute for Free Speech in 2015 and served as Acting Legal Director between Dickerson’s departure to join the FEC in December and Alan Gura becoming Vice President for Litigation in February. During his time with the Institute, Yeates has played a key role in many cases and most recently headed a precedent-setting case, Thomas v. Bright, in Tennessee. Yeates received his J.D. from Stanford Law School after completing a Ph.D. in Political Science at Duke University.

The promotion of Yeates and additions of Daugherty and Kolde are the latest expansion of the Institute’s growing legal team. Earlier this year, the Institute announced the addition of Vice President for Litigation Alan Gura. The Institute plans to expand further as we continue to tackle today’s biggest threats to free political speech.

About the Institute for Free Speech

The Institute for Free Speech is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes and defends the First Amendment rights to freely speak, assemble, publish, and petition the government. Originally known as the Center for Competitive Politics, it was founded in 2005 by Bradley A. Smith, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission. The Institute is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.

IFS Staff

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