Our programs and resources educate the scientific community about the legal system, their rights, and their responsibilities.
Education for Scientists
Our goal is to educate the scientific community about the legal system, their rights, and their responsibilities. When scientists understand the legal issues surrounding their work, they’re able to better protect themselves against intimidation, media smear campaigns, and other forms of harassment.
We often collaborate with public universities, scientific societies, and other partners to raise awareness of our programming and ensure that it reaches scientists who may be at risk of ideologically motivated litigation or other attacks.
- Free Workshops: Our attorneys lead workshops that help scientists from all disciplines understand their legal rights and responsibilities, and also how these relate to science advocacy and engagement in policy-related activities. These events feature an overview of legal attacks on science and cover topics such as open records laws, how to separate personal advocacy from one’s professional role, how to deal with harassment and anti-lobbying regulations. We offer for these at universities and independent laboratories and in collaboration with a variety of scientific societies and non-profits.
- Webinars: Led by our staff attorneys and leading legal experts, our webinars cover topics that help scientists understand the legal system and how to protect themselves. Similar to our workshops, these help scientists, academics, and researchers understand the rules and regulations impacting their work.
- Our Services at Scientific Conferences: We partner with scientific societies and attend their meetings so we can engage directly with the science community. At these events, we provide free counseling services, discuss the legal issues facing researchers, and give updates on legal situations making their way through the court system. You can usually find us at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting and the AAAS Annual Meeting.
- Publications: We publish and distribute free educational resources to help scientists understand the risks they may face as a result of their work. View our complete list of reports and publications.
Education for Attorneys
Our programming prepares attorneys to defend researchers and protect the scientific endeavor. We also serve as a clearinghouse for information related to legal action taken against scientists, which can inform strategies for — and outcomes of — future cases.
Initiatives for attorneys and law professors include:
- Campus Reps Program: We train law professors to help scientists understand how to protect themselves from harassment and legal attacks. We created the program with the goal of building a national network of lawyers at public and private universities who can serve as the first point of contact for researchers with questions about legal issues. Campus Reps do not provide direct representation to scientists. Instead, they serve as an educational resource and direct scientists to us as needed. Each Campus Rep receives training, materials, and ongoing support from CSLDF to prepare and assist them in working with scientists on their campus. Learn more about the program.
- Continuing Legal Education Workshops: We offer a variety of continuing legal education (CLE) workshops to help the legal community understand the issues facing researchers and how to defend them against frivolous lawsuits. Our workshops meet the mandatory CLE requirements of state bars and are held around the United States.
- Research Protections in State Open Records Laws: An Analysis and Ranking: This comprehensive report is for scientists, lawyers, and policymakers. It includes specific guidance on each state’s FOIA laws, and a detailed legal guide including statutes, cases, decisions and other pertinent legal information. Learn more and download the report.
This guide for scientists and attorneys describes how each state’s open records law can potentially be used to protect research materials.
Join Our Mailing List
We’ve partnered with AGU on the “Legal Education for Scientists Program” for eight years, and are offering a range of events at the Fall Meeting in December.
Our attorneys are happy to talk with journalists about our work and topics at the intersection of climate and the law.
Take a Stand for Science
Science is under sustained attack. Your support help us fight for scientists and defend scientific integrity.