Hagens Berman’s lawyers have dedicated themselves to helping those most in need of representation and most vulnerable to wrongdoing and violations of their rights. Social justice is at the core of why our attorneys fight for our clients. When hiring a social justice attorney or asking whether you need a social justice lawyer, answers may help you make choices to fight for your rights.

Our social justice attorneys have compiled helpful information, social justice questions and answers in an accessible FAQ to help you make the best choice. To contact our social justice legal team about your situation, fill out the form on this page.


How do I know if I need a civil rights lawyer?

You may not know initially, but, if you feel that a government actor, including law enforcement officials, immigration officials and/or social workers, have violated your rights, it may be worthwhile to consult with an attorney specializing in enforcing civil rights. 

What are examples of civil rights violations?

Unfortunately, there are many different examples of how your civil rights might be violated. 
Common examples include the arrest of an individual without probable cause that a crime has been committed. This can include wrongfully arresting individuals exercising the lawful right to protest. Or, even if an arrest is lawful, your rights can be violated if the arresting officer uses excessive force in making it. 
Other examples can include targeting groups for arrest or harassment based upon their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or beliefs. 
To truly understand your rights, and whether they may have been violated, you should consider consulting with an attorney.

What can I expect from hiring a social justice attorney?

Social justice attorneys are typically well-versed in understanding the civil rights protections each member of our society is afforded. After consulting with a social justice attorney, you should have a better understanding of your rights and your legal options in exercising or enforcing them.

What can a social justice attorney do for me?

A social justice attorney can be valuable in several ways. At a basic level, a social justice attorney can educate you about your rights and provide options for you to consider in how to exercise or protect your rights.

In the event your rights have been violated, a social justice attorney can assist you in seeking legal remedies to enforce or redeem your rights. 

What can be done if someone violated my rights?

Individuals have a range of options when they believe their rights have been violated ranging from informally complaining to the agencies involved, up to filing a lawsuit in state or federal court. Working with a social justice attorney is the most prudent way to decide which option might be right for a specific situation. 


What counts as police brutality? What counts as excessive force or misconduct? 

Law enforcement are required to only use the amount of force necessary to achieve a legitimate purpose, such as a lawful arrest. If more than the minimum amount of force is used to obtain such a lawful purpose, that constitutes excessive force. Depending upon the context, excessive force and police brutality may be interchangeable.

What can I do under the law about police misconduct, excessive force or police brutality? 

The options available vary considerably. The most direct way to challenge police misconduct is by working with a social justice attorney to bring a civil lawsuit. 

What administrative remedies and policy reform exist under the law in a police brutality case? 

Many cities have police oversight or accountability bodies instituted to provide citizens with a mechanism for challenging instances when police conduct may be unlawful. The options vary from one location to the next. t

Do I need evidence of what the police did to bring a lawsuit?

It depends. There needs to be some basis for alleging that police misconduct has occurred, but your attorney can gather information you may need to establish your claims.

What can a lawsuit do to stop future police brutality and misconduct? 

The purpose of a police misconduct case is to educate both the police and the public and to punish and deter future instances of police misconduct.


What do civil rights attorneys do?

Civil rights attorneys have a variety of roles, from challenging police misconduct, to defending immigrants’ rights, to protecting the homes of children in state care. Your civil rights intersect with a variety of facets of your everyday life, meaning that civil rights attorneys can serve in countless ways. 

What laws exist that can help me?

When talking about civil rights, the most fundamental legal protections are those spelled out in our state and federal constitutions. In addition, both state and federal laws have been adopted to protect the civil rights of individuals in a variety of context including employment, educational settings and in their interactions with law enforcement. Again, the options available are quite varied and should be explored with an attorney specializing in civil rights litigation. 


How much does a civil rights attorney cost?

Financial arrangements vary from attorney to attorney. Many civil rights attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, meaning that the client does not pay the attorney unless the attorney is successful at recovering money damages for the client.Accordion content 1.

How much is a retainer for a social justice attorney?

Again, financial arraignments vary. When the attorney works on a contingent fee basis, no retainer is paid. The attorney is only paid if he or she is successful in recovering on behalf of their client. 

Do you have to pay for an attorney up front?

Not typically, though it depends upon the attorney. Contingent fee representation does not require any up-front payment from the client.

Do Hagens Berman’s attorneys offer free consultation?

Yes, which you may take advantage of by filling out the form on this page.

How will I be billed, and what am I billed for if I hire an attorney?

You will not be billed if you are represented by a Hagens Berman attorney. Hagens Berman attorneys work on a contingent basis and are compensated only if the client is successful in recovering for their client.


How much of a time commitment will it be to hire a social justice attorney?

It depends upon the facts of each case. While there is some time commitment for the client, the day-to-day work on the case is handled by the attorneys.

How long do cases like this last? When can I expect to see results?

Cases typically last between six and 18 months, depending upon the venue and whether an appeal is filed. Each case is different, and time frames fluctuate greatly.

What’s the usual timeline for social justice cases?

In most cases, including those pertaining to social justice, there is a period prior to a lawsuit being filed when the attorney gathers information and investigates the claim. This period can range from a few days to several weeks. After the investigation is concluded and a lawsuit has been filed, the typical timeline is that a trial date will be set within 12 to 16 months. 

What are the potential outcomes?

The outcomes in social justice cases can vary widely, ranging from an unsuccessful outcome, a negotiated settlement of claims all the way to a trial verdict vindicating an individual’s civil rights.


What kinds of social justice cases has Hagens Berman taken on?

Hagens Berman has considerable experience litigating social justice cases involving police brutality, social worker misconduct and wrongdoing on the part of governmental correctional agencies, to name a few.

Where do Hagens Berman’s social justice attorneys practice? 

Hagens Berman attorneys have experience litigating throughout the United States. 

How many years of experience do Hagens Berman’s social justice attorneys have?

Hagens Berman attorneys have decades of experience advocating in areas relating to social justice.