Law Forward exists to protect and strengthen our democracy. Law Forward stands for a commitment to fair, transparent, and representative government; where Wisconsinites can participate in free, fair elections where their votes count.
Law Forward opened in 2020 with a mission of protecting democracy. That started with redistricting litigation and one staff attorney. Today, Law Forward has grown to a staff of eight and works on multiple fronts to protect our freedoms and fight for a state where everyone can participate in free, fair elections and where their votes matter.
What We Do
Strategic litigation makes long-term, systemic change Wisconsin needs. Rather than fight individual cases as they arise, we take a broader view and think about how each individual case helps advance a larger vision. Law Forward wants to guide the law’s evolution, so that Wisconsin’s democracy is strengthened and as a result, we achieve more equitable policies and a fairer process for all Wisconsinites.
Litigating legislative overreach
Law Forward confronts legislative malfeasance on all available grounds—procedural errors, substantive shortcomings, and inconsistency with the state and federal constitutions.
Test-driving new legal ideas
Law Forward develops and litigates powerful test cases. We advance innovation by convening and participating in discussions about new approaches. We work on our own and in partnership with academics, legal scholars, and partner organizations to build a new strategic vision of the law.
Challenging administrative action—and inaction
Law Forward engages at all stages of those processes, monitoring regulatory development, challenging unlawful application (or avoidance) of existing regulatory provisions, and using oft-neglected statutory mechanisms to ensure that agencies fulfill their regulatory mandates.
Law Forward was launched in 2020 because the rightwing legal movement had systemically used litigation to achieve legislative and legal objectives to consolidate power among the few. From restricting access to the polls, entrenching minority-rule through partisan gerrymandering, and undoing the framework of Wisconsin’s democracy; we are on the frontlines to repel these anti-democratic attacks.
Law Forward is a pro-voter, pro-democracy nonprofit that was created because Wisconsin needed a legal organization that could strategically develop the law in the progressive tradition Wisconsin is known for. We build cases and identify opportunities to protect the right to vote and strengthen free and fair elections. Our work engages policymakers, the legal community, and the public on legal issues, expanding both opportunities and demand for progressive change.
Submitted 34 filings in redistricting litigation.
In a long battle against gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Law Forward submitted 34 different filings in favor of fair maps. Our team spent months formulating fair districts in compliance with the Voting Rights Act and arguing that equal weight should be given to all Wisconsinites’ voices. Although the court ruled against us this time, we laid the groundwork for them to move forward on a path toward equal representation.
Appeared in 8 state and federal courts.
Law Forward attorneys have appeared in several county circuit courts, appellate district courts, and both the Supreme Courts of Wisconsin and the United States. The fight for democracy occurs in every county and at all levels of government. Law Forward promises we will be there to join the fight.
Partnered with more than 25 organizations.
Law Forward has partnered with or represented over 25 pro-democracy organizations, including Black Leaders Organizing Communities, States United Democracy Center, the League of Women Voters Wisconsin, and Service Employees International Union. In facilitating these partnerships, we have built coalitions that unite legal experts, democracy leaders, and community advocates with each other and with vital resources.
Filed 6 amicus briefs.
From Wisconsin circuit courts, up to the U.S. Supreme Court, Law Forward is shaping the law and standing up for democracy. Law Forward has filed several amicus briefs in cases, such as WJI v. WEC, Moore v. Harper, and Kaul v. Prehn, in order to preserve democratic rule of law and protect citizens’ rights.
Published 9 reports.
At Law Forward, we believe it is our responsibility to reach beyond the courtroom and share with the public what we have learned. In various reports, written by Law Forward staff and often in collaboration with nonprofit partners, we translate complex governmental processes, break down legalese, and make connections between legal actions in order to illuminate the broader trends and patterns occurring that threaten democracy in Wisconsin. These reports include Redistricting 101 and A Democracy Crisis in the Making.
31,854 voters reinstated to the polls.
In LWVW v. Knudson, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of our clients, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, that the Wisconsin Elections Commission wrongfully rendered 31,854 voters ineligible to vote and ordered their registrations be reinstated. This victory is crucial to ensuring that voters’ rights are not stripped arbitrarily, without proper notice, and without being provided the information needed to remain eligible to vote.
Over 15,000 press mentions.
Law Forward’s litigation work and staff op-eds have been featured in several national and local publications and news media covering important topics, such as ballot return assistance, Wisconsin’s fraudulent electors, and the fight for fair maps. Some of these news outlets include The New York Times, the Wisconsin Examiner, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as the PBS Newshour and The Rachel Maddow Show.