The Name Change Project
The Name Change Project provides free legal name change services to low-income transgender people through partnerships with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms and corporate law departments.
In addition to meeting income-eligibility guidelines, project participants must live in one if the following cities or counties to participate in the project:
- Chicago, IL - Cook County
- Detroit, MI - Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw Counties
- Milwaukee, WI - Milwaukee County
- New York City, NY - All five boroughs/counties
- 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 people with adequate 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 people with attorneys in law firms and corporations who represent them in legal name change proceedings. This is how our process works:
Step 1: Click here to fill out our name change intake form. Starting in September 2016, TLDEF moved to an online 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 TLDEF staffer reviews every intake form submitted and will respond to you via phone or email on a first come, first served basis. We typically respond to intakes within 15 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 3 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 law firm attorney. If an individual seeking name change assistance completes their phone intake with TLDEF staff, the person will be placed on a waiting list for referral to an attorney for name change representation. TLDEF does not directly represent transgender 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.
The Name Change Project is made possible by the generous pro bono support of:
Allegheny County Bar Foundation; Alston & Byrd LLP; Baker & Hostetler LLP; BNP Paribas; BNY Mellon; Bodman PLC; Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP; Columbia Law School; Cooley LLP; Covington & Burling LLP; Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C.; Dickson Wright PLLC; DLA Piper (US) LLP; Dykema Gossett PLLC; Foley & Lardner LLP; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP; Jones Day; Kaye Scholer LLP; Kirkland & Ellis LLP; K&L Gates LLP; Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP; Linklaters LLP; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP; Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone P.L.C.; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Nixon Peabody LLP; Norton Rose Fulbright LLP; O’Melveny & Myers LLP; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Pepper Hamilton LLP; Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; PNC Bank; Reed Smith LLP; Ropes & Gray LLP; Saul Ewing LLP; Shearman & Sterling LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates; Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Tucker Arensberg, PC; Viacom; Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; White & Case LLP; Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP; Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP.