Legal advocacy – also known as advocacy through the courts – uses the judicial system to advance social change goals. This is often done through bringing forward a legal case in court that focuses on improving a situation for a particular group of people. Take for example, Brown v. Board of Education, a classic example of legal advocacy, which argued that separate schools were inherently unequal in an era when legislation on school integration was unlikely to change. Floyd v. City of New York is another example where legal advocacy helped reform the discriminatory police practice of stop-and-frisk (watch TCC Group’s short video for more on this case). Legal advocacy is a critical tool to protect and defend our fundamental constitutional rights. The resources below inform funders, advocates and evaluators how to use legal advocacy as a way to protect against systemic abuses.
A Funders introduction to Legal Advocacy
This report introduces funders to the concept of legal advocacy, what questions funders should ask themselves to know if the foundation is ready to fund legal advocacy, and how to best support legal advocacy.
An advocates introduction to Legal Advocacy
This report introduces advocates to the concept of legal advocacy, shares implications that legal advocacy can have for other kinds of advocacy work, talks through partnering for legal advocacy, and finally shares what outcomes can be achieved through using legal advocacy as a strategy.
Toward a More Just Justice System
This piece, written by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, explores the legal context around pursuing legal advocacy, including factors that favor and obstruct legal advocacy, key strategies to think about while engaged in legal advocacy work, and recommendations for funders and litigators involved in the field.
Evaluation Legal Advocacy: A How-To Guide
This guide introduces funders, advocates, and evaluators to thinking about evaluating legal advocacy work. In addition to legal impact, we explore how to measure the quality of the work, and how to measure impact outside of the legal arena.