Application for Assistance

All applications must be received by the Legal Defense Fund NO LATER than May 11, 2018 in order to be considered by the LDF Board of Trustees at their next scheduled Spring meeting.

Legal Defense Fund Grants

The NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) was established in 1972 by the NASW Board of Directors to advance the legal interests of the social work profession. One of the major ways in which this is done is through grants of financial assistance to defray the legal expenses of NASW members engaged in litigation related to the NASW Code of Ethics, social work principles, and/or standards of social work practice advocated by the association.

LDF is administered by a Board of Trustees appointed by the President of NASW. The Trustees meet twice a year, in the spring and fall, to review all properly completed applications that meet LDF qualifications and to conduct other business required for the administration of the Fund.


The following questions should be addressed when completing the attached application. The information will be considered during the application review process to determine whether a matter will receive financial support from the LDF fund:

  • Whether the applicant is an active member of NASW;
  • Whether the issues presented in the application are significant to the social work profession;
  • Whether the legal matter/lawsuit involves the NASW Code of Ethics or principles and standards of social work practice advocated by NASW;
  • Whether funds are needed to initiate legal action which promotes the interests of the social work profession or of a significantly large group of NASW members. Examples of issues of interest include pay equity, client confidentiality, restrictions or prohibitions on the right of social workers to join professional organizations, regulatory restrictions that improperly limit social work practice, etc.;
  • Whether there is a likelihood of success in the legal action.
  • Whether there is a likelihood of success in the legal action.



Download Application Form

Note: Financial support for LDF is received from voluntary contributions, principally from the LDF check-off on the NASW member dues renewal form. The Trustees’ ability to provide assistance to association members is limited by the contributions received and resources available.