National Lawyer's Guild

Power to the People! NLG Responds to 2020 Presidential Election Results

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) expresses its  deep gratitude to the work of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color around the country who have led the way to the end of a fascist Trump presidency. 

It is the hard work of community organizing—not any single politician, celebrity, or political party—that has led us to this moment. We are breathing a collective sigh of relief as we welcome an end to the Trump administration, but we remain vigilant, and will not let this election fool us into complacency. As they always have, the rights of our most marginalized communities hang in the balance. There is much more work to be done to address the damage inflicted by the last administration—and the many before it—that have advanced racism, transphobia, misogyny, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. Peoples’ struggles for liberation will continue under a Biden administration, and the NLG remains committed to working in solidarity with them.

As Angela Davis reminded us, “We know now that we can, indeed, forge our own futures.”

After we take a few moments to breathe, re-group, and celebrate, we will get back to work.

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Related: Read the NLG Labor & Employment Committee’s statement, Workers and Unions Must Remain Vigilant to Prevent Trump from Delegitimizing the Election and Stop Trump’s Desired “Coup” here.

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NLG Minnesota Condemns MPD For Mass Arrest of Hundreds, Including Minors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: massdef@nlg.org

MINNEAPOLIS—The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-MN) and the Legal Rights Center (LRC) stand in solidarity with the hundreds of demonstrators kettled and arbitrarily arrested last night on I-94. These protesters gathered to demand that all votes be counted—a fundamental tenet of a political system that claims to be democratic. At the direction of elected officials, law enforcement arrested over 600 people and cited many others, including four NLG Legal Observers (LOs) and half a dozen or more minors. At least one person was taken into custody, a young Black woman charged with assault of an officer, and is still in jail. The NLG-MN and LRC unequivocally condemns these arrests and citations. 

Leading up to the arrests and citations, law enforcement gave no orders to disperse. As people attempted to exit the freeway using access roads, they were not allowed to leave by officers and were then subject to pepper spray. The action was carried out by Minnesota State Troopers, Hennepin County sheriffs, and Minneapolis Police Department (MPD); there are unconfirmed reports that the National Guard was also present. A number of legislators and others have contacted Governor Tim Walz’s office, and have reported the governor’s remarks that last night’s law enforcement actions were intended to “teach a lesson.” After being cited, arrestees were put on buses and dropped off at random locations, including the University of Minnesota campus, U.S. Bank Stadium, Lake Harriet, Bloomington, and others. NLG-MN worked with local activists and jail support to organize car caravans to safely shuttle arrestees back to Minneapolis. 

The arrests of NLG LOs and media, present to document the actions of law enforcement, add to the wrongful arrests and are an additional attempt to avoid accountability and documentation of law enforcement actions. One Latinx reporter with a press badge was arrested, while another officer threatened to call Border Patrol on his wife after demanding to see her passport. These tactics, like the others above, are deliberate attempts to create a chilling effect on protest and to scare activists. We are also concerned about the arrests of minors, at least five of whom have been charged with crimes related to being on the freeway. Our hotline received more than 250 phone calls seeking support around citations.

These actions by the MPD, and the overwhelming silence from elected officials, are a striking demonstration of why the MPD cannot be reformed; it must be dismantled. The community is well aware that our elected officials will continue to defend the police department at every opportunity, so it is up to us to continue advocating and agitating for genuine change. We will not stop until our community’s demands are met.

Folks looking for resources and guidance in handling these citations, which are criminal charges, should leave a voicemail on the NLG Minnesota hotline: (612) 444-2654

Due to our current call volume, we may not be able to answer all phone calls as they come in; however, we will follow up with resources as soon as possible. In addition, NLG Minnesota is participating in an All Arrestee Meeting along with Minnesota Uprising Arrestee Support for arrestees and their supporters to discuss solidarity and organizing strategy. The tentative date for the event is November 15. 


Follow the NLG Minnesota Chapter at facebook.com/nlgminnesota, and visit their website at nlgmn.org

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

Featured Image: Minnesota state troopers prepare to kettle protesters on I-94. (Credit: Unicorn Riot)

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NLG Continues Intensified Mass Defense Efforts Amid Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

NEW YORK—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is continuing its mass defense efforts in preparation for the possibility of a contested US presidential election, and uprisings that may emerge as a result. Many NLG chapters are partnering with Election Protection to provide volunteer attorneys, legal workers, and law students in the interest of fair and free elections.

The NLG Mass Defense Program has had an extremely busy year following the police murder of George Floyd and the mass movements for racial justice that reemerged this summer—and which continue today. Fueled by our volunteer members at local chapters, the Mass Defense Program is an organized infrastructure of Legal Observers, arrest hotlines, and on-call defense attorneys responding to mass arrests and police violence. The NLG released this elections know-your-rights page to help voters protect themselves and their vote, and defend themselves from instances of voter suppression, harassment, or intimidation they may encounter at the polls. 

Additionally, responding to broad concerns about the possibility for unlawful orders regarding the election, the NLG’s Military Law Task Force (MLTF) is providing new and expanded resources for attorneys, GI rights advocates, and servicemembers, including a phone line (619-463-2369) for free, confidential telephone consultations with attorneys to discuss possible illegal orders and related issues. See here for additional MLTF election-related resources for service members and advocates. 

As an organization committed to supporting peoples’ struggles for liberation, the NLG categorically refuses to provide legal support to white supremacists or other hate groups, who are repeatedly encouraged and emboldened by Trump and his administration. Regardless of who becomes the next US President, the NLG will continue its 83-year-long legacy of working in solidarity with communities fighting for a better world, where people and the planet are valued over profit and property. 

Resources: 

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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Featured Image: “Vote!” by rantingfanCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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NLG 2021 Haywood Burns Fellowships

The application for the NLG’s Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice for Summer 2021 is now available! The Burns Fellowship is open to students and legal workers working on projects that find creative ways to use the law to advance justice. You can donate to support the next generation of people’s lawyers here!

The application for the fellowship can be downloaded here:

2021 Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship Application 

Check out the Fellowship Page for information on previous Fellows and their projects. Please also take a look at the history of the Fellowships and the bio of Haywood Burns, which all applicants (and really everyone) should read. Fellowships may be completed with any existing organization whose mission addresses the needs of underserved individuals and groups. We encourage applicants to identify grassroots and non-traditional work opportunities for which there is a serious current societal need. This could be a small non-profit, a short-staffed community law firm, or an organizing campaign that needs legal assistance. In 2021, we expect to award $3,000 for ten weeks of full-time work and will be considering both in person and remote internships.

Students and legal workers actively involved in NLG activities are given preference for the Fellowships, so please apply! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email NLG Director of Education and Research Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

Completed applications are due by January 4, 2021. Applicants will be notified by the end of January 2021. 

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Election Organizing: Know-Your-Rights and Legal Support

This November, voters will turn out for a historic election taking place at the height of a global pandemic and economic downturn, which many are calling “the most important election in United States history.” The NLG views voting in this election as an action, and governors around the country have already started taking efforts to suppress voter turnout, largely in support of the Trump Administration which says that it will challenge election results if not re-elected, and aggressively crackdown on protests that result. Voters should be prepared for voter suppression on November 3rd, and activists should be aware of their rights. 

Know-Your-Rights on Election Day (Source: ACLU Voting Rights)

  • If you are questioned about your political beliefs by anyone you do not need to respond. 
  • If you are in line to vote and polls close, you have a right to stay in line and cast your vote. 
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, you have the right to request a new one. 
  • If the machines are down at your polling place, you have the right to a paper ballot. 
  • The following hotlines are available for any emergency needs:
    • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)
    • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-866-839-8682)
    • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287)
    • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

Know-Your-Rights at Post-Election Protests

For a comprehensive list of your rights, the NLG maintains a library of KYR booklets for activists in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, and Farsi. Activists should know their most fundamental rights for protesting and law enforcement encounters: 

  • If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, always ask: “Am I detained?”
    • If the answer is “Yes” then you have a right to main silent. 
    • If the answer is “No” then you have a right to leave. 
  • Once you are detained, you have an automatic right to remain silent. 
  • While detained, you also have a right to a lawyer.
  • If you are pulled over on your way from a protest, you have a right to refuse a search. However:
    • You may be ordered from your vehicle. 
    • Upon reasonable suspicion, your vehicle may be searched for weapons. 
    • Upon probable cause, your entire vehicle may be seized and searched. 

Legal Support at Post-Election Protests
The NLG Mass Defense Program provides comprehensive legal support for protesters, including Legal Observers, legal support hotlines, and KYR materials. For more information on ensuring that these resources are in place for your protest, contact your local chapter on NLG’s Directory of Chapters.

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McCarthyism 2020: A Second Generation NLG Member and Red-Baiting in Texas

Mike Siegel is a civil rights lawyer, long-time National Lawyers Guild member, and candidate for the U.S. House from Austin, Texas.

He is also, according to his opponent Rep. Michael McCaul, “the most radical liberal running for Congress in America.”
After Siegel won the Democratic nomination for the Texas 10th Congressional District on July 14, 2020, McCaul unveiled a series of attacks attempting to portray Siegel as a “red diaper baby” who “won’t stand up to China.”

Exhibit A for McCaul’s attack? A speech Siegel gave to the San Francisco NLG chapter in 2014, when Siegel’s parents, Anne Weills and Dan Siegel, were honored at the annual testimonial dinner. As part of the tribute, Mike Siegel joked that if his parents were Cuban revolutionaries, his mom would be more like Che Guevara (because she has always been committed to grassroots organizing) while his dad is more like Fidel (drawn to institutional leadership). Now, McCaul has injected this speech into the campaign, as he paints Siegel as “too liberal for Texas.”

The irony in all this, is that Mike Siegel’s parents faced red-baiting throughout their decades in the civil rights movement. Anne Weills started working in the early 1960s to organize for African-Americans to get jobs and resist housing segregation in San Francisco. And Dan Siegel got his start during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

As Dan says, “it was my trip to the South that inspired me to become a civil rights lawyer. As we worked to integrate lunch counters and support the movement of Black activists across the South, we faced immense repression. Beatings, threats on our life, and of course police brutality and arrests. I noticed that there were few lawyers who were there to defend us and bail us out — and most of them were Lawyers Guild members.”

Mike Siegel started his career as a public school teacher and then attended Cornell Law School, where he was active in the student NLG chapter. He says, “I was inspired to become a lawyer when I was teaching in Brooklyn, New York, and lived through the attacks of 9/11. After seeing the community come together in a beautiful way, to support each other and foster movements for peace and solidarity, I was horrified how the Bush Administration used that moment to not only advance war abroad, but to also terrorize the Muslim, South Asian and Middle Eastern communities at home. I became a lawyer to fight Attorney General John Ashcroft and support movements for civil and human rights.”

In Texas, Mike Siegel has served as an Austin City Attorney, where he was the lead attorney in a lawsuit to stop Texas Senate Bill 4, a “show me your papers” law passed in 2017 that encouraged racial profiling and harassment of immigrant communities. He also took on cases to challenge housing segregation, to fight for tenants at large apartment complexes, and defend union contracts from right-wing attacks.

His mom, Anne Weills, sees history repeating itself. “In the 1960s, when Dan and I were fighting racism in the South and in the Bay Area, white people who worked in solidarity with Black civil rights workers were called communists and outside agitators. It was a way to delegitimize the struggle for basic human dignity. Now Michael is out there in Texas, standing up for immigrant communities, challenging racist practices, and he’s being red-baited again. The right hasn’t changed its playbook in 50 years.”

Her son is undeterred, however. “I’ve spent 21 years as a teacher and civil rights lawyer, fighting for the community,” Mike says. “I’m running on a platform of universal healthcare, a national jobs program, and strong action on climate change. They can’t attack my work or my policies, so they are grasping for straws. These attacks are a sign of weakness — they know we can win.”

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2020 Digital #Law4thePeople Convention: THANK YOU!

Dear NLG Family,

Thank you all so much for being a part of the first ever, all digital #Law4thePeople convention!

Although we couldn’t be together in person, these past two weeks have been a wonderful opportunity to build, reflect, and strategize on moving forward in our work to fight for a better world. Thanks to your participation and engagement, over the course of this digital gathering, our community included nearly 1,000 people around the country—and the world. A huge thank you to all our members and guest speakers, honorees, and panelists who helped organize each and every event!

A special thank you to LearningTimes which donated countless hours of their time to helping make this digital gathering a success, and to the captioners and interpreters who helped make this convention more accessible.

Here is a recap of videos from three of our biggest events! More video recordings of sessions will be circulated to attendees in the coming days.

Angela Davis accepting the 2020 Arthur Kinoy Award.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your favorite moments from the Convention on social media using #Law4thePeople and tagging us on the following accounts:

Twitter: @NLGNews
Instagram: @nationallawyersguild
Facebook: @NLGNational

Sending love, light, solidarity, and much gratitude,

NLG National Staff
Daniel, Kimmie, Lisa, Pooja, Tasha, Traci and Tyler

P.S. We’re still working towards reaching our $50,000 fundraising goal. If you are in a position to do so, we welcome you to make a tax-deductible contribution at nlg.org/donate2020. Thank you!

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NLG Responds to Grand Jury Proceedings in the Murder of Breonna Taylor

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns the outcome of Kentucky’s grand jury proceedings and renews its calls for justice for Breonna Taylor. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home by police officers executing a no-knock search warrant. The officers were acting outside of the scope of the warrant, which required them to knock and announce their presence at Taylor’s apartment, and with a wanton disrespect for human life which ultimately led to her death. Protests erupted in Kentucky—and around the world—over the summer in response to Taylor’s death, as well as in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, and state and local law enforcement have reacted with extreme force and brutality, arresting over 500 activists in Kentucky since June. On September 23, 2020, a grand jury investigation of the police killing led to the indictment of only one officer involved in the no-knock raid on three counts of wanton endangerment—in other words, not for Breonna Taylor’s death. There were no charges issued for the other two officers.

The results of the grand jury proceedings over the killing of Breonna Taylor highlight the historically unjust and uneven criminal legal system that protects the interests of white supremacy, continuing the oppression of Black and Brown lives. The NLG renews calls for an end to the racist criminal legal system, abolition of incarceration, and accountability and reparations for the countless victims of police violence. As the grand jury proceedings in the murder of Breonna Taylor show, the criminal legal system will not resolve the injustices done to Black people by its own volition. Justice will remain elusive until the police are defunded, prisons closed, and resources are reallocated to Black and Brown communities in the form of the social services, education, and economic support needed to reverse centuries of racist exploitation and oppression. It is imperative that we dismantle white supremacy and settler-colonialism in all its manifestations. 

We redouble our commitment to support those demanding radical social change and we also encourage people to mourn, take care of themselves, and build with each other as we engage in this fight.

The NLG is a proud endorser of the #8toAbolition platform, which emphasizes that abolition is not only about dismantling law enforcement, but creating life-affirming systems under which everyone can thrive, rendering these old institutions obsolete. As leading scholar, activist, and abolitionist Angela Davis, who will be speaking as part of the NLG’s #Law4ThePeople Convention states, “Abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It’s not primarily about dismantling, but it’s about re-envisioning. It’s about building anew.” The NLG unequivocally reaffirms its continued support of Black communities and all those organizing in support of abolitionist movements for liberation.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

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NLG Statement on the Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) joins people across the country and throughout the world in mourning the death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Our commitment to human rights is one Justice Ginsberg attempted to uphold throughout her lifetime of service, and we vehemently oppose any attempts to exploit her death as an opportunity to further he oppression and suffering of people of this country. As such, we also insist that the naming and confirmation of her replacement not take place until after the Presidential election in November.

From co-founding in 1970 the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the country to focus exclusively on women’s rights, to co-authoring the first law school casebook on sex discrimination, Justice Ginsburg was committed to furthering the legally recognized rights of women in the U.S. In 1972, Justice Ginsburg founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, later becoming the project’s general counsel overseeing the its participation in more than 300 gender discrimination cases in a single year.

From attorney to a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg helped advance legal equality for women, persons of color, persons with disabilities and marginalized communities across the country, persuading a majority on the Supreme Court and authoring the opinions in United States v. Virginia (striking down prohibition of admission of women to the Virginia Military Academy), Olmstead v. L.C. (persons with disabilities entitled to community-based housing under the Americans with Disabilities Act) and Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services (giving residents of South Carolina standing to seek penalties for industrial pollution without having to prove injury.)

Just as important, if not more, were Justice Ginsburg’s dissenting opinions. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, her dissent was essential to subsequent Congressional action extending the time frame for a woman to bring suit for equal pay. More recently in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion in a case that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, helps to inspire and guide the all-important battle against voter suppression unfolding across the country.

The death of Justice Ginsburg comes at the most critical juncture in recent American political history. The political machinations now underway by the Trump administration to quickly fill her position with a reactionary replacement are part and parcel of the country’s creep towards fascism, and the current administration’s corruption and white supremacist agenda, which Justice Ginsburg vehemently condemned.

Today, we stand at a crossroads, where millions of people in the U.S. and around the world have been stirred into action—at the risk of their lives—to stop the racist police killings, the economic deprivation, the mass evictions, the lethal disregard of human life during a pandemic.

We recognize that it is us, the people, and not the Supreme Court or any of the other institutions rooted in white supremacy, xenophobia and oppression that make up the legal system in this country that will save us. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, made an historic difference because she was unafraid to stand up for what she believed in. It is in that spirit that we must search within ourselves and our movements to build a system where sacrifices like hers become unnecessary. We must build a system where we can all thrive, and victory is more than just a small respite from state-sanctioned violence. In this moment of grief over the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the NLG, at the start of our national convention, remains committed to justice and liberation of all people. Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg.

Above: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg greeted a group from the NLG when her former Rutgers Law School-Newark colleague, NLG legend Arthur Kinoy (seated right of Justice Ginsburg), moved the group’s Admission to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar on June 13, 1994.  (Photo by Franz Jantzen, Collection of the U.S. Supreme Court Curator’s Office.)

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Zoom Tips for #Law4thePeople Attendees

How to join a Zoom event on desktop via meeting invite link
  1. Click on the invite URL that the host shared via email or text. 
  2. Open the Zoom app. 
  3. Approve the request for permission to use your computer’s audio and camera and click “Join Meeting Audio”

Depending on the meeting’s set-up, you may be placed into a waiting room

How to join a Zoom event through a web browser

You don’t need to download and install the Zoom app to join a meeting. You can use a web browser instead.

  1. Click on the invite URL you received via email. 
  2. A new tab will open on your preferred web browser. If you don’t have the Zoom desktop app installed, the page will urge you to download the app. 
  3. Ignore the prompt and look for this message: “If you cannot download or run the application, join from your browser.”
  4. Click the highlighted text in “join from your browser”. 
  5. Sign in with your name to join the meeting.
How to join a Zoom event on mobile (iPhone, Android)
  1. Download the Zoom app for iOS or for Android on Google Play 
  2. Tap on the invite URL that you received via email, which will open the Zoom app. The app may ask for permission to use your phone’s camera.

Depending on the session’s set-up, you may be placed into a waiting room

You may also call into the Zoom room via phone. The phone number will be included in your email invite to each Zoom meeting.

If you have further questions, please read the Zoom FAQs.

If you have any difficulty accessing a session after reviewing these materials, please contact help@nlg.org. Thanks!

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Disorientation 2020 Webinars Now Available!

The NLG 2020 Disorientation webinar recordings are now available! Check out the links and resources included below. 

Watch “Movement Lawyering with the NLG” and “Staying Radical in Law School” on our Vimeo page and on the NLG website. These webinars cover the culture of legal education, how to survive and thrive in law school, and how to prepare for a career as a movement lawyer!

To learn more about the themes covered in the webinars, take a look at these compilations of resources:

Legal Education and the Legal Profession

NLG Radical Law Student Manual

If you are interested in learning more about the NLG or organizing at your law school, please contact NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org.

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Walter Riley & Boots Riley: A Father-Son Discussion on the Political Moment (Moderated by Barbara Ransby)

We’re thrilled and honored to announce this exciting event as part of the 2020 digital #Law4thePeople Convention!

On Saturday, September 26 at 5pm PT/8pm ET, join us for a very special discussion between longtime NLG San Francisco Bay Area member and human rights attorney Walter Riley, and son Boots Riley, activist music artist and filmmaker (Sorry to Bother You)! This inter-generational discussion will explore the current political moment as it intersects with systemic poverty, racism, capitalism, and the human rights movement.

Moderated by historian, writer, activist and professor Barbara Ransby.

Register for #Law4thePeople to get access to this the entire schedule of events we have lined up over those two weeks! (Please note all NLG committee meetings and the governance plenary are only open to Guild members. Please visit nlg.org/join to join or renew your NLG membership to participate in these events!)

We strive to make the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention as accessible as possible. CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning will be available for all major panels, workshops, keynote speeches, CLEs and special events. In addition, we are collecting accessibility requests for NLG member meetings through attendees’ registration forms and will be fulfilling those upon request.

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Now Hiring: Temporary Program Assistant

PROGRAM ASSISTANT
Full-Time, Temporary (6 months)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office
New York, New York

PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Full-Time, Temporary (6 months)

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office
New York, New York

About the NLG: The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights and the rights of ecosystems shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

The NLG is seeking a full-time (35 hours a week) Program Assistant to perform administrative duties to support communications, the mass defense (protest support) program, and other programming efforts as needed. Working closely with our Director of Communications and Director of Mass Defense, the Program Assistant will support the day-to-day workload of office staff.

This temporary position with a six-month term requires a detail-oriented person with strong communication skills and the ability to work well in a small, collaborative office environment. The ability to complete intricate, sometimes tedious tasks is essential. Experience working with Adobe InDesign (or similar programs), CiviCRM (or other customer relationship management platforms), and WordPress is preferred. Although the position will begin largely remotely, we are only considering applicants based in the New York City Metro area. Some responsibilities require working out of our Ridgewood, NY office. 

Job Responsibilities

The Program Assistant provides support to the following areas:

COMMUNICATIONS (approximately 60%)

with guidance from the Director of Communications

Social media

  • Schedule National Office posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Reshare posts by NLG chapters and committees
  • Assist with tracking social media analytics

Publications

  • Proofread and copyedit newsletter articles for publication
  • Transcribe handwritten articles and poetry by people in prison
  • Add newsletter and law journal issues to website
  • Assist with formatting in InDesign

Webinars

  • Schedule programming in Zoom and coordinate logistics with panelists
  • Assist with promotion

Website

  • Add and organize content
  • Update job board
  • Update news

External communications

with guidance from Operations Director

  • Assist with donor acknowledgement
  • Assist with mailings, including fundraising solicitations and Prison Law Program correspondence

MASS DEFENSE (approximately 40%)

  • Field inquiries related to the mass defense program
  • Assist Director of Mass Defense with completing various administrative tasks, coordinating chapter needs such as legal observer trainings, and distributing manuals and other materials
  • Fulfill merchandise orders with guidance from Operations Director

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 1-3 years office experience
  • Demonstrated ability to present independent work and problem solving in a collaborative team environment
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills including ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with internal and external constituencies
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, G Suite, WordPress, Adobe InDesign and CiviCRM preferred
  • A commitment to social justice movements
  • Meticulous attention to detail

Work Environment
The work environment described here is representative of what an employee will encounter while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with different abilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Job largely takes place remotely, with virtual collaboration with other staff. Must be able to participate in online virtual communications including email and video conferencing used to facilitate virtual office culture and work sharing.
  • This position is full time (35 hours a week). The National Office hours are 10:30am – 5:30pm ET, Monday to Friday. Occasional work on evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Must be able to conduct business in English; however, fluency in languages other than English is a plus.
  • Some work at off-site locations required (i.e., order fulfillment at Ridgewood, NY office, dropping off packages at shipping centers); the NLG aims for accessibility and safety in any off-site location. Social distancing and mask-wearing required in any space with other employees.
  • This role requires occasional lifting and carrying of packages under 25 lbs.
  • This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers and phones. Employee is regularly required to communicate effectively via computer and phone. A reliable internet connection is necessary.

Salary and Benefits:

This is a temporary, 35 hour/week position with a salary of $25,000 for six months. Health insurance is available upon request. 

How to Apply:

Candidates should submit a letter of interest and a resume in PDF format to jobs@nlg.org by Sunday, October 4th, 2020.

The National Lawyers Guild is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Black, Indigenous, and people of color, trans people, women, people who have lived in poverty, people with disabilities, immigrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people, and formally incarcerated people are strongly encouraged to apply.

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2020 NLG Elections

Every year following the NLG #Law4thePeople Convention, Guild membership vote on elected officer positions on the NLG National Executive Committee. Please see below for the positions available this year and the statements of candidates.

In 2020, the following offices are up for election:

President (Elect)

  • President is a four-year position and the term will end at the 2024 convention. During the first year of the term, the President-Elect will work with the current President. This position is responsible for fundraising, leading major initiatives and projects of the NLG, and chairing the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Executive Council (EC). See the President Description for more details. 

Vice-President

  • Vice-President is a three-year position and the term will end at the 2023 convention. This position supports the President in the work of fundraising, leading major initiatives and projects of the NLG, and facilitating the work of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Executive Council (EC).

Treasurer (Elect)

  • Treasurer is a four-year position and the term will end at the 2024 convention. During the first year of the term, the Treasurer-Elect will work with the current Treasurer. The treasurer serves on the Executive Council and chairs the Finance Committee, and is responsible for the overall financial oversight of the National Office budget and fundraising. See the Treasurer Description for more details. 

2020 Candidate Statements

President

Suzanne Adely

Vice-President

Jilisa Milton

Elections Process

Unopposed elections: If candidates are unopposed, they are elected by acclamation at the plenary.

Contested elections: If the election is contested, it will go to an online ballot of the entire current membership.

Publicity & Plenary Participation

The governance plenary will take place during the convention. Candidates will be given two to three minutes to address the plenary if they choose. Candidates may use this time any way they like, and may allot part or all of this time for others to speak on their behalf.

Information for Candidates for Non-Elected or Non-National Positions

Candidates for national office which are selected by caucuses, regions, projects, task forces, or committees (e.g., National Law Student Vice President, National Legal Worker Vice President, Regional Vice Presidents, representatives from The United People of Color Caucus, and representatives from up to ten NLG projects and national committees) should refer to their respective entities for procedures and available offices.

Please email NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi at director@nlg.org if you have any questions about elections. 

The post 2020 NLG Elections first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

#DisO2020 Webinars: Movement Lawyering with the NLG & How to Stay Radical in Law School

At the beginning of each academic year, many NLG student chapters organize “DisOrientation” events to introduce the wider student body to the NLG and “people’s lawyering” in general. For more info on DisOrientation, visit nlg.org/disorientation!

NOTE: Due to the COVID pandemic, the NLG National Office has decided to not print DisOrientation Manual this year and asks students to share our virtual resources such as the digital Disorientation Manual, Radical Law Student ManualKnow Your Rights ResourcesNLG ReviewNLG ScholarsNLG Webinars, and more available on the website. Please also check out the many resources posted on our social media accounts (InstagramTwitterNLG National and NLG Students Facebook pages) and use the hashtag #DisO2020.

Movement Lawyering with the NLG

Wednesday, September 2 @ 4pm ET/1 pm PT

Register: bit.ly/MovementLawyering (URL is case sensitive)

Description: Join NLG legal practitioners and educators for a webinar on movement lawyering and how to use the law to support social movements! These skills are often not taught in law schools, so Guild members will offer an overview of what it means to be a movement lawyer and examples of careers that are in line with these principles. 

Speakers:

  • Cait De Mott Grady (she/her) [Moderator] is the outgoing NLG Student National Vice President who works as a public defender in Detroit and loves growing giant sunflowers. Cait’s movement lawyering framework and experience are grounded in her lifetime of involvement in the Catholic Worker movement and the anti-war and anti-nuclear movement.
  • Azadeh Shahshahani (she/her) is Legal & Advocacy Director at Project South and a past president of the NLG. Azadeh has worked for 15 years in the U.S. South to protect & defend the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.
  • Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan (she/her) is Senior Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national racial justice and immigrants’ rights organization, and is past President of the National Lawyers Guild.
  • Elena L. Cohen (she/her) is the current president of the NLG, and a partner at a small firm focusing on the needs of LGBTQ people and people who have experienced police misconduct. 
  • Sarah David Heydemann (she/her) is an organizer turned lawyer who has worked in workers’ rights for many years, in labor unions, worker centers, civil rights non-profits and firms. She is currently Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, focusing on workplace justice issues. 
Staying Radical in Law School

Thursday, September 3 @ 4pm ET / 1pm PT

Register: bit.ly/StayingRadical (URL is case sensitive)

Description: While many people are drawn to law school initially to further social justice, law students encounter intense pressure to choose careers that have little potential to serve these ideals. The combination of student debt, the culture and pedagogy of legal education, and the discouragement of political analyses in law school undermine student goals of becoming movement lawyers. This webinar will feature NLG members who explore the practices and culture of law school to help new (and current) law students navigate a path that allows them to stay radical throughout the course of their legal education and beyond!

Speakers:

Luna Martinez (she/her) [Moderator]: NLG National Student Vice President

Pooja Gehi (she/her): NLG Executive Director. Pooja graduated from American University’s Washington College, where she chaired her law school’s NLG chapter.

Aneesa Khan (she/her): Assistant Public Defender in the Baltimore City Juvenile Division and NLG Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President. Aneesa helped start the student NLG chapter at University of Baltimore Law and received the 2017 C.B. King Law Student Award.

Ray Rojas (he/him): Attorney in private practice and NLG Texoma Regional Vice-President.

Natsu Saito (she/her): Law professor, activist, author of Settler Colonialism, Race and the Law: Why Structural Racism Persists

The post #DisO2020 Webinars: Movement Lawyering with the NLG & How to Stay Radical in Law School first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

2020 Resolutions and Amendments

Learn more about the 2020 digital #Law4thePeople Convention and/or register at nlg.org/convention!

Each year, NLG members propose resolutions and amendments for review and vote of the full membership. In 2020, we have two proposed resolutions as well as a full update of our Constitution and Bylaws to bring them into compliance with recent amendments as well as to create internal coherence in our governing documents.

These proposed resolutions and amendments will be discussed at the convention plenary scheduled for Friday, September 25th at 12-2pm ET/9-11am PT.

Please send any friendly amendments to resolutions@nlg.org before the plenary, and submit all pro or con statements to resolutions@nlg.org by the end of the convention (Sunday, October 4).

2020 Proposed Resolutions

Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing submitted by NLG Anti-Racism Committee

Resolution on Non-Collaboration with Grand Juries submitted by the NLG San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter

2020 Proposed Amendments (all submitted by NLG Secretary Daniel Gregor)

Rationale and Explanation for Proposed Amendments to the NLG Constitution and Bylaws

Amendments: NLG Constitution

Amendments: NLG Bylaws

The post 2020 Resolutions and Amendments first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

The Road to Abolition: Honoring Dr. Angela Davis

WE’VE GOT BIG NEWS! Join us during the digital 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention as we honor scholar, activist, and author Dr. Angela Davis with the 2020 Arthur Kinoy Award!

For decades, Dr. Davis has worked to advance the mission of human rights over property interests through an intersectional approach to movements for global solidarity, prison abolition, and anti-carceral feminism.

Watch her acceptance speech as she gives her thoughts on the current political moment, and the struggles ahead.  

The event, The Road to Abolition: Honoring Dr. Angela Davis, will take place on Friday, October 2, at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, and will be open to all 2020 #Law4thePeople convention attendees. Register for the convention now! (NLG members register here.

You may also join us in congratulating Dr. Davis by placing a message in our Annual Awards Program, or by becoming a #Law4thePeople Sponsor (all sponsorships include convention registrations and an ad in the awards program)—and support the NLG all at the same time!  

More info about the convention is available at nlg.org/convention, and information about all our awardees is available here.   We can’t wait!

In solidarity,

NLG National Office

The post The Road to Abolition: Honoring Dr. Angela Davis first appeared on National Lawyers Guild.

NLG Organizing Legal Support Ahead of 2020 RNC and DNC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: communications@nlg.org

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is preparing legal support for anticipated protests at the 2020 Republican and Democratic National Conventions taking place this month. NLG chapters in Charlotte, NC; Jacksonville, FL; and Milwaukee, WI have been coordinating with the National Office to support demonstrations in the midst of rapidly changing plans due to COVID-19. 

The NLG has provided legal assistance for RNC/DNC protests for decades. The 2020 convention season comes in the wake of an unprecedented global pandemic and violent state repression against the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that began with the police murder of George Floyd in late May. Plans for the political conventions have changed multiple times over the past few months, with both conventions eventually transitioning to a mostly digital platform. Trump’s decision to hold the RNC in person—first in Charlotte and then in Jacksonville—has caused much confusion and concern. 

Local NLG chapters are preparing an organized mass defense infrastructure of Legal Observers, jail support, arrest hotlines, and on-call defense attorneys in case of mass arrests or police violence. NLG Legal Observers monitor protests and document police misconduct at the request of local organizers. Jail support volunteers track arrestees through the criminal legal system, and support solidarity efforts for protesters being held in police custody. The NLG also helps connect volunteer criminal and civil movement lawyers with defendants to provide legal representation for cases arising out of protests.

As designated National Special Security Events, the RNC and DNC usually include intensive security and have in the past attempted to limit the constitutional rights of protesters. 

“For decades, the Republican and Democratic conventions have been flash points for mass resistance and police violence,” said Kris Hermes, NLG member and author of Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000. “In this moment of popular uprisings against structural racism and police violence, these conventions hold particular weight. Without fail, the NLG will be in the streets monitoring the police response and steadfastly supporting the Movement for Black Lives.”

Related: 

Featured Image: RNC Protests – Philadelphia, 2000. Brandun Kayal /  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The NLG Mass Defense Committee was formed in 1968 in response to the wave of protests during that tumultuous time. To support the NLG Mass Defense Fund and the right to protest, please donate at www.nlg.org/massdefense

The National Lawyers Guild was formed in 1937 as the nation’s first racially integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

# # #

Member News Digest 8/13/20: Webinars, Chapter Updates, Convention, and more!

   Here’s your round-up of all the NLG’s been up to these past couple weeks!

Be sure to check out nlg.org/convention if you haven’t already—#Law4thePeople registration is now open!

Upcoming Webinars Grand Jury Repression: Preparing for Solidarity / TODAY, 6:30pm PT-8:30 pm PT

Presented by the NLG SF Bay Area Chapter. See information about additional upcoming NLG SF webinars at instagram.com/nlg_sf!

Register: bit.ly/teachin3

Both the state and federal government have historically used grand juries as a tool of repression against resistance movements. Grand juries are used to gather intelligence and information to target particular individuals who are leaders in social justice movements. Several people have already been served with grand jury subpoenas as a result of the recent uprisings. At the same, it is a historical tradition to resist grand juries and not to comply with this extrajudicial government form of repression. Sometimes this has meant going to jail in order to protect the movement. Come hear grand jury resisters speak about their experiences from lawyers who defend them and about how you can prepare to resist and act in solidarity with those who choose to do so.

Defending Voting Rights in 2020 / TOMORROW, August 14, 12pm-1:30pm ET / 9am-10:30am PT

Presented by NLG Labor & Employment Committee, co-sponsored by the NLG International Committee

Register: bit.ly/NLGLEC-VotingRights

The conversation of this panel will center around the question: “How can legal workers/attorneys/organizers help fight voter suppression and purging?” Speakers include: Greg Palast, Investigative Journalist and Author of How Trump Stole 2020; Terry Ao Minnis, Senior Director of Census & Voting Programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Jeanne Mirer, Co-chair of the NLG International Committee and President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. See Jeanne Mirer and Jerry Wallingford’s recent article on voting rights in Truthout here.  Please contact nlglabor@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Webinar Recordings Building a Culture of Resistance to State Repression (8/4/20) The NLG’s Ría-Thompson Washington and Larry Hildes joined Nelini Stamp of Working Families Party, the Catalyst Project, and activists from Charlottesville and Portland as panelists on this webinar hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice to discuss strategies for collective resistance. Watch the recording here! Don’t Get Got: A Community Self Defense & Know Your Rights Training Watch the recording of the second session of NLG SF BA’s webinar series which includes an introductory training for organizers active in the recent uprisings. Learn how to prepare and protect yourself and your community on the street, at home, if arrested, or if visited by Federal agents. Chapter/Committee Updates NLG Pittsburgh Protest Felony Defense Fund

The NLG National Lawyers Guild – Pittsburgh Chapter established this legal defense fund at nlg.org/pghlegalfund to support activists facing “unsubstantiated felony charges.” They write: “We believe that these severe and unprovoked charges are being used to intimidate with the intention of repressing protests against police brutality in our city. 100% of funds raised will be used directly for the legal defense and expenses of these individuals. It will also provide much needed commissary funds while they are in jail.” Support and/or share the NLG PGH-legal defense fund here.

The Portland NLG has a new website! Check out their website with a bunch of mass defense and other resources for Portlanders at PortlandNLG.org Legal Observers from Seattle NLG Aggressively Targeted by Law Enforcement

“In addition to SPD’s haphazard and arbitrary deployment of force, officers specifically targeted the Seattle NLG’s legal observers (LOs), all while concealing their badge numbers. These incidents included: Deliberately spraying pepper spray into a LO’s face at close range, tossing flash bang grenades directly at legal observers, needlessly grabbing and shoving LOs; purposely hitting LOs with their bicycles…” Read the full press release at the NLG Seattle webpage here.

NLG International Committee: Support Steven Donziger

In response to the persecution of environmental human rights attorney Steven Donziger, a dedicated group of attorneys coordinated by the NLG International Committee and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers reviewed the record in the case and came to believe Judge Lewis A. Kaplan violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct in his handling of the case and facilitating Chevron’s attacks on Mr. Donziger and the Ecuadorian judgment and that his actions with respect to the criminal contempt charges are evidence of his misconduct.

Complaints of judicial misconduct may be filed by anyone concerned with this conduct. Your signature on this complaint will assist in making the reviewing judges realize the importance of this case to the community of lawyers and lawyer/jurist/bar associations.

* View the full text of the complaint at this link: bit.ly/donzigerjudicialcomplaint
* To sign on to the complaint, please visit this link: bit.ly/judicialcomplaintkaplan

NLG In The News 8/12/20 | Insider | Protesters in Minneapolis say they won’t clear barricades around the George Floyd Memorial until the city leaders meet their 24 demands

“Protesters created a list of 24 demands that they said city leadership must meet, or they themselves would maintain the barricades around the memorial… Protesters gained the support of the National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota, which in a Facebook post wrote: ‘Neighbors, youth, and community activists have been tending to this space for months since the police murder of George Floyd in order to keep it a sacred space for the memorial. It is inherently a space of protest.’

The guild added: ‘The people of George Floyd Square have developed very clear demands that need to be met and have openly communicated to the city what needs to happen in order for negotiations regarding the removal of the barricades to begin.'”

8/10/10 | Washington Post | Federal scientists begin addressing massive covid-19 outbreak at immigration detention center in Virginia

“The CDC staff will focus on one specific thing,” said Sirine Shebaya, a lawyer with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild, which is representing some of the plaintiffs in that case. “In our lawsuit, we’ve raised a whole list of conditions that go beyond the issue of testing,” she said. “It’s very unlikely that the CDC inspection will cover all of these different areas.”

8/10/20 | Verso Blog | Destroying to Replace: Settler Colonialism from Kashmir to Palestine

NLG past president Azadeh Shahshahani co-wrote this piece with activist Zainab Ramahi: “Despite India’s successful overthrow of British rule, it has created a colonial occupation of its own in Jammu and Kashmir. And recently, it has been taking its cues straight from Israel’s playbook,” the write. Read the full piece here.

8/7/20 | Roanoke Times | Lawyers guild says Floyd Courthouse’s Confederate monument sends wrong message

The Southwest Virginia Chapter of the NLG issued a statement last week calling for the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at the entrance of the Floyd County Courthouse. The SW VA NLG  “presents these events and issues to support the Guild’s concerns about whether people of color will receive equal treatment under the law at the Floyd County Courthouse,” the statement said.

8/3/20 | Truthout | Congress Put the Brakes on Cuba Relief to Protect Front-Line Democrat

“Two amendments aimed at alleviating the stranglehold on Cuba’s economy were withdrawn because of pressure to protect a vulnerable Florida rep.” Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, a human rights attorney and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, helped organize support for the amendments with a coalition of progressive foreign policy groups, including the push to get McGovern to allow the amendments on the floor. She said that advocates figured the amendments ‘would be a sure thing’ — considering the congressman’s ‘longstanding support’ for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the U.S.

8/1/20 | Truthout | Mass Arrests in 2020 Echo the Brutality Endured by RNC Protesters 20 Years Ago

NLG legal worker member Kris Hermes wrote this piece comparing the police violence towards protesters at the 2000 RNC (and the legal support mobilized by groups like the NLG and Up Against the Law Collective) to that of Black Lives Matter activists today: “As uprisings continue across the country, people are refusing to accept anything less than structural change. The Movement for Black Lives is demanding not only that we rethink policing and the carceral system, but also that we address the systemic economic and social inequities that have been perpetuated against Black people for years.” Kris Hermes is the author of Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000.

Resources Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests.

The NLG National Office released this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. Visit: nlg.org/FederalRepressionResources

Endorsements National Reparations Day

Rally Saturday, August 15 @ Trump International Hotel NYC. The NLG endorsed this upcoming rally that will commemorate the first National Reparations Day Rally held in the US on August 17, 2002.

“Reparations speak to the crimes committed, the damages caused, the compensation needed to repair and advance collectively. Reparations encompass police terror, criminal injustice, inadequate healthcare, skyrocketing unemployment, inferior housing, education designed for incarceration, lack of wealth, shorter life spans and higher infant mortality rates….This is why we call for all those outraged by what is happening now to join us on August 15th around the country to put forward the demand for Reparations. In New York City we will demonstrate in front of President Trump’s International Hotel, a half block from the statue of Christopher Columbus, the genocidal initiator of our MAAFA. These two embody the continuum of terror, misery and exploitation of Africans in this country.” Learn more about at the December 12 th Movement website.

#DroptheADL

The NLG is one of 100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations and coalitions have issued an open letter with an accompanying primer encouraging community institutions and organizations to rethink their relationships to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The letter comes in response to the ADL’s history of targeting and co-opting movements for justice—particularly those led by communities of color—and advancing Islamophobia, policing, and global militarism while projecting a false badge of progressivism. Read more at droptheadl.org.

#DiplomaPrivilegeNow

We recently joined an open letter with Public Rights Project and many other public interest legal organizations urging state bars to cancel bar examinations this year and award full diploma privilege to recent law school graduates. Both in-person and online exams exacerbate inequities affecting applicants of color, lower-income applicants, and applicants with disabilities, and COVID-19 has only made the need for licensed public interest lawyers greater. Read and have your public interest legal organzation endorse the open letter here: bit.ly/SupportingDiplomaPrivilege

#Law4thePeople Convention Register now for the 2020 #Law4thePeople Convention!

As you may have seen, registration for the all-digital #Law4thePeople Convention, Sept 21-Oct 4, is now OPEN!

We’re honored to announce that scholar, author, and activist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will be our keynote speaker! In addition, we have a great lineup of timely major panels, workshops, and CLEs planned, which you can check out here. Full descriptions with confirmed speakers for each event will be posted soon.

We’re also thrilled to announce the following 2020 awardees! (Additional awardees will be announced soon.)You can learn more about them here and congratulate them with an ad in our Awards Program Tribute Journal—all while supporting the NLG!

NLG Minnesota Chapter: Law for the People Award; Jeanne Mirer: Ernie Goodman Award; Jodi Hill: CB King Award; Charlotte Kates: Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award; Sara Kershnar: Legal Worker Award

Register or learn more at nlg.org/convention!

Jobs Members-Only Job Board

Are you searching for a movement related legal or organizing job OR internship?

A reminder that all current NLG members have access to our Members-Only job board! This resource includes open positions for attorneys, paralegals, organizers, legal workers and law students.

Check it out at nlg.org/job-board (NOTE: you must be logged in with your nlg.org account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to jobboard@nlg.org.

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