Who We Are

Vigorous Advocacy of
Free Market Principles

The New England Legal Foundation (NELF) is the only non-profit public interest law firm in the region dedicated to addressing policy and constitutional concerns related to free enterprise. NELF’s ongoing mission is to champion individual economic liberties, traditional property rights, properly limited government, and balanced economic growth.

NELF challenges actions by governments and private litigants which would unreasonably intrude on the economic freedoms of individuals and business enterprises in New England and the nation. We believe that free enterprise is a linchpin of a democratic society and offers the most sustainable path to advance the American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including freedom from material want.

We believe strongly in due process and the contract provisions of the United States Constitution. The ability to innovate, earn a living, create jobs and grow businesses usually provides the greatest opportunity for the greatest number when left free from unwarranted intrusion. We oppose laws and regulations which are a usurpation of governmental authority, which unconstitutionally interfere with economic liberty, or which constitute a taking without just compensation. We also oppose laws and regulations which have no rational likelihood of achieving their stated purpose.

We believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant for policy disputes. Whether through the filing of litigation, amicus briefs, regulatory comment, educational conferences, op-ed pieces or other public advocacy, we believe that a free society will reach the best decision if an issue is discussed thoroughly and for sufficient duration.

NELF selects cases for their likelihood of creating precedent that will have policy or constitutional impact for the business community and society as a whole. We select cases in which we can make policy, legislative history, textual, or empirical arguments which are not featured, or at least not emphasized, in the parties’ own briefs. NELF does not file “me too” pleadings.

The Foundation has a national reputation of excellence for appellate advocacy. We support large and small corporations, as well as individuals, by filing amicus briefs. We also have a tradition of pursuing cases in which NELF directly represents a party from the ground up, beginning at the trial court or agency level. This often involves an individual or small business that has exhausted its resources in a struggle to resist unfair or inappropriate governmental action.

Contributions to NELF are tax-deductible. We rely on donations from individuals, foundations, law firms, and corporations that support our mission. Other than court-ordered fee awards for successful litigation to be paid by opposing parties, NELF does not charge any fees for our legal services.

Making a Difference
for 50 Years

Since our founding in 1977, NELF has challenged intrusions by governments and special interest groups which would interfere with the economic freedoms of citizens and business enterprises in New England and the nation. Our ongoing mission is to champion individual economic liberties, traditional property rights, properly limited government, and balanced economic growth throughout our six state region.

“Property rights and civil rights are not essentially in conflict; they are two sides of the same coin.”

John W. Davis, Solicitor General, 1913-1919

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