Getting Legal Assistance

Because the NYCLU is a private, non-profit organization with limited resources, we can only accept a small percentage of the large number of matters brought to our attention. Please note that our provision of information regarding legal intake does not mean that we will be able to assist you in your particular situation or represent you.

To request legal assistance in the western region of New York, please send us a written summary of no more than two pages detailing your concern. You may try to contact the office by phone during normal business hours at 716-852-4033, but the office may not be staffed at the precise time that you call.

Also, please be aware that due to the volume of calls and the limitations of our local staff, we often cannot respond to requests for legal assistance left on our office voicemail. To ensure that your request is reviewed, please send a written summary of your concern to our office by mail, fax or e-mail.

712 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

Fax: 716-362-0619

If you do not live in New York State, please consult the ACLU's affiliate directory.

Please note: Our initial intake is done via telephone, fax, e-mail or mail. Due to staffing limitations we regret that we cannot accept "walk-in" appointments for assistance.

How Do We Choose Cases?

The NYCLU, is a public-interest law firm that principally addresses issues involving challenges to a government law, policy or practice affecting the constitutional rights – that is, the civil liberties and civil rights – of a significant number of people arising only in New York State. Almost all of our cases involve constitutional issues and because the U.S. Constitution and New York Constitution protect only against unlawful government action, we rarely take on disputes involving private companies.

Generally, the NYCLU only takes cases that can affect a large number of people directly or involving a small number of people or an individual that could set a precedent that would impact a significant number or people. We are especially interested in issues that may break new ground in interpreting constitutional rights.

Issues that the NYCLU Generally Does NOT Accept

We do not generally take cases that involve:

  • individual criminal defense;
  • complaints about an individual’s attorney or judge in a criminal case;
  • claims of innocence by prisoners;
  • individual employment disputes;
  • disputes involving private companies;
  • landlord-tenant/housing disputes;
  • obtaining green cards/visas for immigrants;
  • divorce, custody, visitation or child support;
  • and only monetary damages or personal injury cases.