How to Make an Effective Complaint to the ACLU of Iowa Legal Program

If you have a civil liberties legal question or problem, you have two different ways to reach us—by email or by writing us through regular mail. We do not generally answer legal questions or take information about legal complaints over the phone or in person.

The ACLU of Iowa takes only very specific types of cases and complaints. find out more. 

Contact Us by Email

If you have access to email, please send your complaint by email to An email will be reviewed and get answered much sooner than U.S. mail.

  • Please be as brief as possible, and to the point in describing what your complaint is about in the email itself. 
  • Try to limit your email to no more than two short paragraphs. 
  • Include your name, address in Iowa (or, if your circumstances, such as homelessness, make providing an address difficult, please describe your situation), and telephone number if you have one. 
  •  Make sure to use an email program that others do not share or have access to before using this method to contact us. For example, avoid employer or school email programs. 
  • We deem your email communication to seeking legal assistance or representation to be privileged and confidential, and will not confirm your contact to us—even if questioned by third parties to whom you have spoken—unless you have first clearly demonstrated to us that your intent is to permit such communication and we agree. 

Contact Us Through the Mail

If you do not have access to email, write us at Legal Intake/ACLU of Iowa, 505 5th Ave., #808, Des Moines, IA 50309.

  • We do not need the whole story. Limit your complaint to two legible, single-sided, double spaced, letter-sized sheets. Be brief in describing what your complaint is about. We are only looking for cases that are of interest to our legal program. This means that we turn down many cases that have legal and factual merit. Small details are unimportant. Give us the big picture and the most important facts that make your case. We will ask for more information if we need it.
  • Do not send original documents. All documents sent to our office are logged into a database and shredded immediately. We do not retain physical copies of documents, and cannot return original documents accompanying intake letters. 
  • Understand that we will be reviewing most complaints in 5 minutes or less, no matter how long they are. Our response does not indicate whether you have a good or bad claim—we are only looking for cases that have some greater impact than help for a single individual and fits within the litigation priorities we have identified.

Important Note:

Your communication with us by mail or email does not create an agreement for us to provide you legal advice or representation. We cannot promise you that the information you provide will lead to any specific action on the part of the ACLU of Iowa. We cannot promise to contact you any further in response to your communication.

FAQs about the ACLU OF IOWA Legal program