Name Change Project
TLDEF's Name Change Project provides pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and corporate law departments.
In addition to meeting income-eligibility guidelines, potential clients must live in one of the following cities or counties to participate in the project:
- Atlanta, Georgia - Cherokee, Cobb, Dekalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett Counties
- Chicago, IL - Cook County
- Detroit, MI - Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw Counties
- Milwaukee, WI - Milwaukee County
- New Jersey - Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Union, and Middlesex Counties
- New York - All five New York City boroughs/counties (New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond and Bronx), Suffolk County, Nassau County
- Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia County
- Pittsburgh, PA - Allegheny County
For many transgender people, securing a legal name change is an important step toward making their legal identities match their lived experience. A lack of appropriate identity documents can deter people from applying for jobs, school, and public benefits, and can lead to discrimination. But securing a legal name change can be a challenging experience, involving interaction with the court system and judges that is foreign to many people. By providing transgender people with legal representation, we work to ensure that people successfully complete the process and move forward with their lives.
Do you want us to help you with a court-ordered name change? TLDEF’s Name Change Project connects low-income transgender, gender nonconfomring, and non-binary people with attorneys in law firms and corporations who represent them in legal name change proceedings. This is how our process works:
Step 1: Complete our name change intake form. In September 2016, TLDEF moved to an online-only intake system for name change assistance requests. All initial requests for legal name change assistance must be submitted to TLDEF via the online intake form. A member of our team reviews every intake form submitted and will respond to you via email on a first come, first served basis. We typically respond to intakes within 15 - 20 business days.
Step 2: TLDEF determines whether you meet criteria for assistance. We take each request for assistance seriously, though we cannot help everyone who contacts us. Once we have evaluated your initial online intake, there are three possible responses:
Decline. Unfortunately, we are unable to help everyone who asks for our help. If we determine that you are not eligible for participation in the Name Change Project, we will let you know via email.
Request for more information. Sometimes information is missing from an intake form or our staffers require additional information before determining eligibility for participation. In such instances, a TLDEF staffer will reach out to you via phone or email to gather more information so that we can determine whether the Name Change Project can assist you.
Scheduling a phone intake. After filling out the online intake form, and reviewed by our staff, individuals seeking name change assistance go through a second, longer intake conducted via phone. These phone intakes are conducted by TLDEF staffers, and are confidential. Note that completion of the intake process does not guarantee representation.
Step 3: Referral to attorney. If an individual seeking name change assistance completes their phone intake with TLDEF staff and is deemed elligible for representation, the person will be placed on a waiting list for referral to an attorney for name change representation. TLDEF does not directly represent transgender, gender nonconfomring, and non-binary people seeking legal name changes. Rather, TLDEF partners with law firms and legal departments at corporations, who take on the representation of TLDEF-referred participants in the Name Change Project. Once a referral takes place, TLDEF’s Name Change Project services are complete.
Please contact us at the Name Change Project with any questions.
The Name Change Project is made possible by the generous pro bono support of:
- Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
- Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Cooley LLP
- Cordes Law PLLC
- Covington & Burling LLP
- Cozen O'Connor P.C.
- McCarter & English
- McGuireWoods LLP
- McNerney & McAuliffe
- Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
- Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone P.L.C.
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
- PECO Energy Co
- Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
- Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, PC
- PNC Bank
- Proskauer Rose LLP
- Shearman & Sterling LLP
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
- Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP
- Stroock & Stroock & Lavan
- Sullivan & Cromwell LLP