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First Amendment Strike Force and Mass Defense Unit

Established by the NFCJ and NACDL, the goal of this project is to provide qualified counsel to represent protesters when the exercise of First Amendment rights results in arrest and prosecution. Irrespective of political ideology, the right to protest and petition the government for a redress of grievances is the foundation of American democracy. People who are charged with criminal offenses, many of whom are not persons of means, while standing up for their principles should receive vigorous representation irrespective of their economic status.

United States Constitution Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

NACDL has a long tradition of fighting to protect constitutional principles, and standing up for the individual against the government. In keeping with that tradition, the NFCJ and NACDL have committed to establish a First Amendment Strike Force and Mass Defense Unit. Specifically, NACDL supports a cadre of criminal defense lawyers who will be available to provide pro bono assistance to protesters throughout the country in the event of mass arrests. While the charges brought to date against most protesters are often relatively minor misdemeanors, the consequences of a criminal record have never been greater in American society. For those lawyers who volunteer, NACDL will maintain a database of available counsel, and will provide training and support at no cost to assist these volunteers.

Lawyers Wishing to Volunteer: Sign-Up

Required Video Trainings

NACDL Resources

National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Program

Additional Resources


Shuli Carroll, National Affairs Associate
Phone: (202) 465-7638

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