Why do you only take a limited number of cases?

The ACLU of the District of Columbia is a small office, so we take cases that we think will help clarify the law so that civil liberties are better protected across the board. Even still, we must turn down requests where real injustice has occurred because we simply do not have the resources.

Why else might the ACLU not take my case?

Since our resources are slim, we choose cases where we can argue about the law, not the facts. Even if we believe that real injustice has occurred, we prioritize taking cases where the facts are clear. For example, if there were no witnesses or evidence, we may not take the case.

What Does It Cost?

ACLU representation is free.

Can the ACLU advise me? Can you refer me to another attorney?

We are unable to advise you or refer you directly to an attorney. Please see our resource guide for other sources of help.

Do I have to sue the federal government in Washington, DC?

No. You can sue the federal government in any US federal court with jurisdiction.

Do you still take cases arising in Maryland?

No. We used to work in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, but now we only work in the District.


Infrequently Asked Question

Are there deadlines associated with my legal claim?

Yes. All legal claims have deadlines, even if the government infringed on your civil liberties, since the courts want to avoid assessing matters that happened long in the past. The ACLU cannot advise you about those deadlines. Make sure you know what deadlines apply by consulting an attorney. (You can call the DC Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (202) 296-7845. For a reasonable fee, an attorney will advise you about relevant deadlines.)