2015 Law for the People Convention


Join hundreds of legal professionals, law students, activists, and allies for the NLG's annual ‪‎#Law4thePeopleConvention, October 21-25, in Oakland, CA for dozens of panels, workshops, CLEs and camaraderie. 

This year, our Keynote Speaker will be Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and programming will address topics including housing and labor rights, racial justice, police accountability, international law, and much more.  

We'll be updating nlg.org/convention regularly with updates and other news, so be sure to check back for more. RSVP to the Facebook event and join the conversation using the #Law4thePeople hashtag on Facebook and Twitter!

Honorees & Annual Dinner Journal

At every NLG national convention, we honor members and friends of the Guild whose exemplary work and activism capture the spirit of "law for the people" and speak to the Guild's mission of human rights over property interests. Please join us in congratulating them! Read more about our honorees here!

Keynote Speaker
Alicia Garza, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder

Alicia Garza is the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). She has been the recipient of multiple awards for her organizing work in Black and Latino communities, including her work fighting gentrification and environmental racism in San Francisco's largest remaining Black community. Alicia joined the NDWA after serving as Executive Director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in San Francisco since 2009. In 2013, Alicia co-founded #BlackLivesMatter, an online platform developed after the murder of Trayvon Martin, designed to connect people interested in learning more about and fighting back against anti-Black racism. 

View full schedule below or download as PDF

Major Panels

All Major Panels will take place Saturday, October 24

Major Panels I: (9 AM - 10:30 AM)

  • Black Power! from Ferguson to Oakland: From Service Model to a Model of Self Liberation 
    As we witness growing resistance to the white, capitalist power structures that have destroyed communities across the country and the world, this panel will feature grassroots organizers and legal workers from Oakland, Ferguson, and other regions nationwide where Black and Brown people are incorporating Copwatching and NLG Legal Observing into strategies of resistance. (Speakers from WeCopwatch, Canfield Watchmen; co-sponsored by Mass Defense Committee)

  • From ‘Right to Work’ to ‘Fight for 15’: Labor at the Crossroads, Learning Lessons, Going Forward 
    As anti-union legislation spreads nationwide, a ‘new’ movement of low-wage, contingent, immigrant and part-time workers are organizing and deploying new strategies in the fight for economic justice. Within a historical context and intersectional analysis  that includes race and class, this panel will explore the “Fight for $15” and other forms of this movement to strategize how we can move toward a more just and equitable social order. (Submitted by Labor & Employment Committee; co-sponsored by TUPOCC and Anti-Racism Committee)

Major Panels II: (10:45 AM - 12:15 PM)

  • Violence Against Women Under State Control 
    This panel will discuss three examples of violence against women under control of the U.S. criminal justice system: (1) sterilization of women in prison (2) violence against women in immigration detention and (3) violence against trans women in prison. Panelists will explain the historical background of these issues, recent occurrences, resistance, and strategies for ending these practices and seeking justice. (Co-sponsored by Anti-Sexism Committee, TUPOCC, Anti-Racism Committee)

  • Americans Need a Home: Politics of Housing, Race and the American Dream
    Examining the intersections of housing policy, poverty, and racism, this panel will explore roots of failed housing policies locally and nationally and discuss ongoing campaigns and strategies through organizing and litigation to stop displacement and improve access to affordable and safe housing.
  • Advocating for Economic and Social Rights throughout the Americas: A Transnational Dialogue
    Featuring labor law experts from the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, this panel will provide attendees with the opportunity to explore struggles affecting working people throughout the hemisphere, discuss the detrimental impacts of neoliberal policies, and foster collaboration in our efforts to work for change. (Submitted by International Labor Justice Working Group; co-sponsored by Labor & Employment Committee, International Committee)

CLE Seminars

Wednesday, October 21 

  • Immigration Law (8:30 AM - 5 PM)
    The NIP will present this one-day training that will explore immigration trials and techniques and illustrate how to build the record for appeal. A fee in addition to Convention registration will be charged. Visit nipnlg.org/seminars for more. Sponsored by the National Immigration Project (NIP)

Thursday, October 22

  • Debunking Deceptive Defense Experts CLE Seminar (9 AM - 5 PM)
    Featuring Attorney Dorothy Clay Sims and forensic epidemiologist Dr. Michael Freeman. These acclaimed experts will discuss strategies to expose deceptive defense experts, using “excited delirium” as an example. (A fee in addition to the convention registration fee will be charged). Sponsored by the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP)

  • Challenging Colonialism: Advancing Indigenous Peoples' Rights (1 PM - 3 PM)
    This CLE seminar will address key and developing points in indigenous people’s rights advocacy and legal work, including international advocacy and the role of the UN, environmental human rights and the legal and political leadership of indigenous struggles in the environmental movement, historical background and the Doctrine of Discovery, the development of Indian Law, and hands-on case studies of current groundbreaking legal work to defend and advance the rights of Indigenous peoples in the United States. The CLE will be built on an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and anti-racist analysis and practice. Sponsored by the International Committee
  • Whither the UN Charter? Not wither the UN Charter. (3 PM - 5 PM)
    As the UN Charter marks its 70th anniversary this year, the requirements of the Charter and the fundamental duties and rights it imposes upon nations remain outside of political and legal discourse. The Charter is often invoked in debates over US military interventions and discussions of the International Criminal Court.  Unfortunately there is little understanding of the principles of the Charter and this contributes to impunity for its violation. This CLE will explore the legal foundations of the Charter, often-unaddressed issues and principles in the documents, and issues and failures in the Charter’s implementation. Sponsored by the International Committee
Friday, October 23
  • Conducting Inexpensive Focus Groups Off-Site Workshop (9 AM - 12 PM)
    Featuring NPAP Board members Julia Sherwin and Michael Haddad, who will share how they conducted inexpensive focus groups that helped win their cases. This workshop will be held in a location close to the convention hotel. Sponsored by the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP)

Sunday, October 24

  • Protecting Dissent Before and After Arrest (3 PM - 5 PM)
    This free CLE assumes some familiarity with criminal defense and will focus on legal and political approaches to criminal  defense of political activists. Panelists will discuss working with activists and political lawyering; discovery issues and investigation, including using video evidence; legal strategies and political considerations in pretrial litigation; how to tell the story and convey the politics of the case to the jury; and strategies for presenting a political defense at trial. California MCLE credit available, other states’ CLE credits pending. Sponsored by the Mass Defense Committee


Workshops I: Friday, October 23 (9 AM - 10:15 AM)

  • Waging a Battle for Immigrant Rights in the South
  • Dismantling the Cash Bail System: How Lawyers and Activists are Changing the Cash for Freedom Business
  • The Corporate University: Justice, Anti-Racism and Free Speech in the Age of Neo-Liberal Schools
  • Building Economy from the Left: Community Models based on Participatory Democracy and Solidarity
  • Black Lives Matter: Legal and Political Strategies for Resisting Police and State Violence in the US and Internationally
  • Hot Topic: Palestine and the ICC: An Opportunity for Justice and Accountability? 

Workshops II: Friday, October 23 (10:30 AM - 11:45 AM)

  • Challenging Immigrant Detention: Creative Representation Strategies for Hard Cases
  • Fighting to Free Our Political Prisoners
  • Wade in the Water: Detroit, Neoliberalism, and the Future of Cities
  • Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Law Collectives and Radical Law Practice
  • Strategies for Abolition: Fighting Transphobia, Racism and Economic Oppression
  • Street Vending: Challenging the Criminalization of Workers 
  • Transitioning to Justice: Post-Conflict Countries, State Violence and US Interventionism

Workshops III: Sunday, October 25 (11 AM - 12:15 PM)

  • SHUTTING the SHU: Movement Strategies for Ending Solitary Confinement
  • U.S. Empire After the Age of Obama: Africa, Asia and the Caribbean
  • A Tale of Three Cities: Fighting Gentrification and Displacement in the Bay Area and Chicago
  • Local Hire Policies and Job Creation for Environmental Justice Communities 
  • Hot Topic: Fighting the Neoliberal Corporate Agenda by Defeating the TPP and TTIP

Workshops IV: Sunday, October 25 (1 PM - 2:30 PM)

  • 50 Shades of Green: The Conflict between Federal and State Marijuana Laws and its Impact on Immigrants
  • Lawfare: The Legal Attack on Palestinian Communities and Movements
  • #SayHerName: Women of Color, Police Violence and Criminalization
  • Pursuing Reparations: Legal Frameworks and Social Movements for Modern Reparations
  • The Problem of Speaking for Others: Advocating for Juveniles, Animals, and Persons with Disabilities
  • Law School Tuition Crisis: Causes and Strategies for Change

Walking Tours

San Francisco Murals Walking Tour: Thursday, October 22 (3:30 PM - 5:45 PM)
Come see the famous murals of San Francisco, from Balmy Alley to the Women’s Building! The tour will be led by Miranda Bergman, long time muralist, artist educator, and activist. She is one of the creators of the monumental MaestraPeace mural on the Women’s Building, the largest mural in the city. Miranda is also one of the original artists in Balmy Alley and has just restored her mural there. Her murals stretch between Central America and Palestine, and many places in between.

Meet: Lobby of the Oakland Marriot City Center (at 3:30 PM sharp!) to ride BART to San Francisco. Cost: $15-20 (sliding scale - no one will be turned away). Check out the event on Facebook.

Berkeley South Asian Radical History Walking Tour: Thursday, October 22 (12 PM - 3 PM)
Discover over 100 years of radical South Asian American history in the streets of Berkeley, California! South Asians have been living in California since at least 1854, but their stories are still little known. Join community historians Barnali Ghosh and Anirvan Chatterjee as South Asian American history comes to life on an engaging 2-mile walking tour (wheelchair/stroller accessible). You'll visit original sites, hear stories, and come away inspired by secret histories of immigrant freedom fighters, feminists, and beyond. Learn more about the tour, its guides, and read reviews here.

Meet: 2712 Telegraph Avenue (on the 1/1R bus AC Transit line from downtown Oakland, or a 10 min cab ride. The tour will end at the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Cost: $15-20. Check out the event on Facebook.

Black Radical Oakland Walking Tour, Sunday, October 25 (3 PM - 6 PM)

Travel with members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the NLG through Oakland, visiting key sites of struggle for the Black Panther Party and other Black radical movements in the historic Town.  From the site of Huey P. Newton’s trial and Bobby Hutton’s murder to the location of major demonstrations against the Vietnam War and the killing of Oscar Grant, you’ll see the history of Black radical movements in Oakland from the 1960s to the present.  The tour is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Check out the event on Facebook.

Meet: Lobby of Oakland Marriott City Center to walk to Alameda County Courthouse. Cost: $15 – 20 (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Black History and Civil Rights Hike on San Francisco Coast: Sunday (10 AM - 12:30 PM)

Hike along the coastal trail and learn about San Francisco's Black History, including the Sutro Bath's importance as California's first civil rights test case, the Buffalo Soldiers' storied history in the Presidio, Maya Angelou's route to Ocean Beach as the first African American cable car driver, and Captain William "Black Ahab" Shorey's whaling boat adventures. Departing from the Visitor Center we will walk down to the Sutro Baths ruins. Our trip will feature invigorating ocean breezes and very diverse terrain, including paved and unpaved trails, large staircases (137 steps) and short ones, a walk along Baker Beach and a brief walk on the sidewalks of one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in San Francisco. The hike will be approximately 4 miles. Please wear sturdy, comfortable shoes and fleece/windbreaker and bring water and snacks. The tour will be led by Zoe Polk, NLG-SF Bay Area member. Check out the event on Facebook!

Meet: Lands End Visitor Center (From 12th Street Bart station to Montgomery Bart Station. Take 38 Geary Bus to last stop/Land's End Visitor Center). Cost: Sliding scale donation of $15-20, to benefit the Convention Childcare Fund. 

Friday Luncheon

Join us October 23, from 12:30 PM - 2 PM for our annual Friday Luncheon! This year, attendees will enjoy a delicious meal over performances by two local artists: Naima Shalhoub, a first-generation Lebanese American singer and advocate for women in prison and Lubna Morrar, a Palestinian poet and activist with the Arab Youth Organization and member of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. Don't miss it!

Exhibit Tables

Reach hundreds of convention attendees by TABLING at ‪#‎Law4thePeople‬! Reserve table space to exhibit your organization, cause, or even artisan crafts. Full tables (6 ft.) and half tables (3 ft.) are available. Tabling will take place Thursday, 10/22 - Sunday, 10/25. Learn more and/or reserve a spot at bit.ly/Tabling2015. Space is limited, so act fast!

Hotel Info:

Location: Marriott Oakland City Center
1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
(Near 12 St./Oakland City Center BART Station)

Special Group Room Rate: $149/night (plus tax)
NOTE: Book by Tues. Sept 29 to receive the group rate

Book your room now!

  • online at resweb.passkey.com/go/nlg2015convention
  • by phone at Reservations Toll Free: 1-877-901-6362 OR Reservations Local Phone: 1-800-454-1719 (mention code "NLG" to receive group rate when booking by phone)

Alternative Housing:

The Alternative Housing Committee is committed to helping make this year's convention as accessible as possible by helping people find accommodations so that the hotel is not a cost-prohibitive factor. Since alternative housing is made available through the generosity of local volunteers, we cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled (If you're in the Oakland area and have some extra space to share during the convention, please consider signing up!).

If you'd like to offer or request housing, please complete one of the online forms below by October 10:


If you will need childcare services at the convention, please complete the online request form at bit.ly/Childcare2015 by October 10.

*The true cost of the convention is hundreds of dollars per person. However, like the NLG's membership fees, convention registration rates are sliding-scale suggested amounts. No one is turned away for lack of funds. Please contribute whatever you can so that we may continue providing conventions that are affordable for all. Your support keeps the Guild alive—the movement thanks you!

Due to overwhelming demand, all volunteer slots have been filled. If you're a law student, legal worker, and/or low income and would like to request a registration waiver, please email registration@nlg.org.