Since its incorporation as a non-profit foundation in April 1999, FIRE has intervened successfully in defense of liberty-related issues on behalf of hundreds of students and faculty at colleges and universities across America. While many of the cases we accept can be resolved quickly and amicably by our office staff, other cases require the intervention of an attorney. Because FIRE does not undertake direct litigation, these cases must be referred to outside attorneys who share our principles, values and goals.
Joining FIRE’s legal network gives attorneys the opportunity to be involved in cases at the forefront of Civil Liberties and Constitutional law, while helping students and faculty to secure justice. Our cases have ranged from defending students from attacks against their freedom of speech, and their rights of due process, to defeating university policies that eviscerate academic freedom, religious freedom, and freedom of association.
The level of attorney involvement can range from a simple letter of inquiry to full litigation. Some of the cases involve requests for pro bono legal assistance. Other cases involve potentially large damage awards and/or an award of 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.
Cases are referred on the basis of geographic location, areas of interest, and experience. However, referrals of fee and award generating cases will usually be reserved, consistent with a client’s interest, for those attorneys who have demonstrated a commitment by their pro bono work. FIRE expects no donations of any kind for such referrals. Our sole interest is in restoring rights and liberties.