Civil rights attorneys represent clients in civil cases where a person’s civil rights were violated. Despite all the civil rights, freedom of speech, and anti-discrimination laws in the US, citizens still have their rights violated every day. Civil rights attorneys specialize in humans rights and social justice. These attorneys often work with clients very closely and provide a sense of ally-ship for marginalized individuals.
Civil rights attorneys can legally advocate for their clients in and out of court to ensure their full rights are legally acknowledged. These lawyers often help marginalized people make real social change.
Civil rights attorneys have similar training and experience to other lawyers. They often specialize in civil litigation and social issues. To become a civil rights attorney, a lawyer would need all the same qualifications and education as another lawyer but would direct their studies to more civil rights and litigation.
What Does A Civil Rights Attorney Do?
Many social revolutions stemmed from a civil rights case, such as Brown vs. Board of Education. Civil rights every American citizen has a right to exercise include:
- Freedom of speech and assembly
- Freedom free from civil discrimination
- The right to petition the government
- The right to procedural due process
Although civil rights cases can ignite larger social movements, many cases are simply fighting for an individual’s right to live free from discrimination. For instance, let’s say you’re fired for violating the employee dress code. However, what you were actually fired for was wearing a religious piece of clothing such as a hijab.
Civil rights attorneys ensure citizens can exercise their civil liberties by representing discriminated individuals in court. Americans have the right to live free of discrimination of age, sex, sexuality, religion, class, nation of origin, and ability. Some common cases civil rights attorneys take on include:
- Unreasonable searches, seizures, and arrests
- Cruel sentences and punishments
- Employment issues due to discriminaiton
How Much Is A Civil Rights Attorney?
Most civil rights attorneys charge either by an hourly rate or a contingency. A contingency is a percentage of a client’s civil winnings or due diligence. Contingencies are normally discussed upon hiring a civil rights attorney. If the client does not win their case and does not receive any due diligence, the lawyer won’t receive payment. Upon consultation with a civil rights attorney, discuss methods of payment and what their contingency rate is.
Pro Bono Civil Rights Attorneys
Since civil rights attorneys often advocate for marginalized clients, they often work with legal activists groups. Many civil rights attorneys do take on pro bono cases. If you want to find a civil rights attorney who accepts pro bono cases, check with your local bar association. There are ways to get legal representation if you cannot afford a civil rights attorney. You can also call My Case Helper to talk to find a lawyer in your area.