ACLU-TN’s legal program protects and advances civil liberties and civil rights, as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions and federal, state and local laws. Our legal program offers guidance, advocates, and undertakes high-impact litigation when doing so is the most effective way to advance our freedoms.

We provide legal representation, free of charge, for individuals and groups whose civil liberties or civil rights have been threatened or denied. We also submit friend-of-the-court briefs in appropriate cases initiated by others. The lawsuits we file impact people’s rights by setting a legal precedent or by affecting the policies and actions of public officials.

Understand Your Rights

While we can’t provide legal representation to everyone, ACLU-TN provides “Know Your Rights” information to thousands of people each year to empower them and assist them in asserting their rights. Sometimes we refer people to other resources and organizations that may be able to help.

Requesting Legal Assistance

ACLU-TN is not a government agency or a legal services program like the public defender’s office or legal aid programs that serve low-income individuals. Because ACLU-TN’s resources are limited, we must be selective in deciding which cases to pursue. Generally speaking, we only take cases that raise significant civil liberties issues, affect a large group of people, and have reasonable promise of having broad impact.

We do not dispense general legal advice, provide emergency services, or make referrals to attorneys. Although there are exceptions, ACLU-TN does not generally assist in criminal cases, post-conviction appeals, divorce or custody matters, tax problems, landlord-tenant disputes, or complaints about lawyers or judges.

If you would like to request assistance from our legal program, please click here.