Seeking legal help from the ACLU-DC

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The ACLU of the District of Columbia works to protect and extend civil liberties and civil rights in our local community, Washington, DC. We do this by filing lawsuits, educating the public, and lobbying the DC government. 

Before you write to us, please read this page. We take only take a limited number of cases, and with regret must turn down some requests even when serious injustice has occurred.

Our procedure is to review and respond to requests for help between 4 to 6 weeks. If you have not yet heard from us, it is because your request for help is still under review.

If your civil liberties or civil rights were violated, you may file a complaint with our office. (Here are some answers to FAQ’s about filing a claim with us.) Another way to contact us about a civil rights or civil liberties violation is to leave a voicemail at 202-601-4269. Please note that leaving your email and/or mailing address will help us process your request faster. 

If you have a case not involving civil liberties or civil rights, please see our resource guide for help with other legal problems in the DC area.


Our local focus

If your complaint is not connected to the District of Columbia, look up your local ACLU affiliate to request legal help where the problem occurred.


Our cases

We take cases about civil liberties and civil rights. Examples:

  • Freedom of speech and press.
  • Freedom of religion.
  • Freedom from unreasonable invasions of privacy.
  • Equal protection (freedom from discrimination).
  • Due process (the right to a fair procedure).
  • Police misconduct
  • D.C. jail conditions

We do not take these types of cases

  • Denial of government benefits, such as unemployment or welfare.
  • Defense to a criminal charge.
  • Complaints against lawyers.
  • Problems involving taxes.
  • Cases about a person's immigration status.
  • Landlord-tenant disputes.
  • Divorce, child custody, or neglect matters


  • Nothing on this website is intended as, or should be taken as, legal advice. Even if it sounds like legal advice, it is not legal advice for your particular situation, because every situation is different.

  • No communication made through this website, whether from you or to you, can create an attorney-client relationship; only a signed agreement can create such a relationship.
  • Descriptions of work we have done, or work we are doing, do not mean that we can or will do similar work for you, or that we can achieve similar results for you, even if we agree to represent you. Past success is no guarantee of future results.