Did I say a few good attorneys? Make that a few dozen, or even a few hundred. FIRE’s Legal Network—a loose collection of affiliated attorneys nationwide who share our passion for protecting civil liberties on campus—can always use new recruits.
As a small nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a national mission, FIRE depends on our Legal Network attorneys to help us defend student and faculty rights on campuses across the country. We don’t directly litigate or represent students and faculty in legal actions; instead, when students and faculty require counsel, we refer them to our Legal Network members. We also involve our Legal Network attorneys when we coordinate litigation in certain instances—for example, when filing constitutional challenges against speech codes as part of our Speech Code Litigation Project.
Being a member of the Legal Network is simple and largely informal, and there are no dues, requirements, or other commitments. Membership in the Legal Network entails receiving referral emails from time to time about FIRE cases across the country that we believe merit legal attention. The level of attorney involvement might range from a simple letter of inquiry to full litigation. Some of the cases involve requests for pro bono legal assistance; others might involve damages or attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. In still other cases, the clients may be able to pay for all or part of the legal services rendered. Of course, Legal Network members are under no obligation to accept a case that is referred to them for consideration, and it’s entirely up to the attorney to decide whether or not to seek more information about the anonymous case referrals FIRE will send out on occasion.
I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact competent counsel can make for the students and faculty FIRE defends. In our work, a good attorney can be the difference between unchallenged censorship and a First Amendment victory; between expulsion for protected speech and an opportunity to continue progress towards a degree; between an unjust end to a proud career and full vindication. Make a difference and defend civil liberties on campus—join our Legal Network today!