Search Courses
About
Home

Civil Rights/Liberties: General

Your Map

All Directions
Civil Rights/Liberties
General

Civil rights lawyers can focus on one or more areas where discrimination occurs, including housing, employment, education, public accommodations, healthcare, prisons, mental health facilities, and nursing homes. You can specialize in working on behalf of a specific protected class, such as women or people with disabilities, or work in any combination of issue and protected class. Fortunately, expertise in one type of civil rights law is often transferable to others. For example, laws that bar housing and employment discrimination are similar and borrow precedents back and forth.

The most common presumption is that civil rights and civil liberties lawyers work at nationally recognized nonprofits like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Yet there are many more opportunities for lawyers with more specialized nonprofits that may focus on serving specific clientele [...]

Open to see details

Civil rights lawyers can focus on one or more areas where discrimination occurs, including housing, employment, education, public accommodations, healthcare, prisons, mental health facilities, and nursing homes. You can specialize in working on behalf of a specific protected class, such as women or people with disabilities, or work in any combination of issue and protected class. Fortunately, expertise in one type of civil rights law is often transferable to others. For example, laws that bar housing and employment discrimination are similar and borrow precedents back and forth.

The most common presumption is that civil rights and civil liberties lawyers work at nationally recognized nonprofits like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) or the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Yet there are many more opportunities for lawyers with more specialized nonprofits that may focus on serving specific clientele or a narrow range of issues, like the National Women’s Law Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Youth Law Center, Asian Law Caucus, Disability Rights Advocates, and the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Lawyers can also work from within government to help enforce civil rights. For instance, many federal agencies have Civil Rights offices, like the U.S. Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Justice. There are also other positions within government that can shape civil rights laws, such as the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. At the state level, there is often a state agency charged with investigating complaints of employment or housing discrimination. For example, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the largest state civil rights agency in the country.

The third arena for this work is within the private sector. A growing number of small firms specialize in civil rights cases and represent plaintiffs with discrimination claims. These firms rely on attorneys’ fees so they must be selective when accepting cases and have less latitude than nonprofits or government agencies.

Attorneys at large corporate defense firms can also work on civil rights cases by accepting pro bono cases. Several major civil rights cases would not have been possible without the ample resources of the large corporate firm co-counsel.

Finally, it’s possible for lawyers to move between sectors as well. One might work at a nonprofit advocating on behalf of immigrants and later move to a private plaintiff’s side firm representing clients in employment discrimination claims.

 
Open to see details
Your Map

Related Law Courses by Topic

Courses Outside SLS by Topic

Clinic(s)

Clinic

Resources

Your Network

299 items