2015 Law for the People Convention

REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Register now at early bird rates, available through September 10. Current NLG members receive 20% off! Sliding scale rates are available*

Calling all activists, allies, and legal professionals! Join us for the NLG's annual ‪‎Law for the People‬ Convention, October 21-25 in Oakland, CA for 5 days 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 programming updates and other news, so be sure to check back for more. Follow us on social media by RSVPing to the Facebook event and using the #Law4thePeople hashtag on Facebook and Twitter!

Looking to coordinate a meeting on-site at the Convention? Request meeting space by completing this online form.

2015 NLG Honorees

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! They are:

  • Walter Riley, Black Friday 14, Trayvon 2Law for the People Award
  • Alice B. JenningsErnie Goodman Award
  • Art Heitzer, Debra Evenson Venceremos Award
  • Sarah Coffey and Jill HumphriesLegal Worker Award
  • Deborah WillisArthur Kinoy Award
  • Danielle AlvaradoC.B. King Award

Read more about our honorees, and join us in celebrating our comrades by placing a message in the 2015 Law for the People dinner journal!

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. 

In this Democracy Now! segment that aired December of last year, Alicia discusses the actions of the "Black Friday 14," the activists—including Alicia herself—who were arrested for shutting down the BART transportation system on Black Friday in San Francisco. Alicia is also featured in the cover story of the latest issue of Yes! Magazine, where she discusses the origins of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and work of the its local Oakland chapter. (Photo: Chris Wiggins)

Major Panels

  • Black Power! from Ferguson to Oakland: From Service Model to a Model of Self Liberation 
  • Law School Tuition Crisis: Causes and Strategies for Change 
  • From ‘Right to Work’ to ‘Fight for 15’: Labor at the Crossroads, Learning Lessons, Going Forward 
  • Violence Against Women Under State Control 
  • Americans Need a Home: Politics of Housing, Race and the American Dream
  • Advocating for Economic and Social Rights throughout the Americas: A Transnational Dialogue

CLE Seminars

  • Immigration Law [Wed. 10/21, 8:30 AM - 5 PM]
    The NIP will present this one-day training thatwill 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)

  • Debunking Deceptive Defense Experts CLE Seminar [Thurs. 10/22, 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)

  • Conducting Inexpensive Focus Groups Off-Site Workshop [Fri. 10/23, 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)

  • Challenging Colonialism: Advancing Indigenous People’s Rights [Thurs. 10/22, 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. [Thurs. 10/22, 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
  • Protecting Dissent Before and After Arrest [Sun. 10/25, 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


  • Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Law Collectives and Radical Law Practice
  • SHUTTING the SHU: Movement Strategies for Ending Solitary Confinement
  • Fighting to Free Our Political Prisoners
  • Pursuing Reparations: Legal Frameworks and Social Movements for Modern Reparations
  • Birth Justice For the People: How Punitive Responses to Pregnancy Undermine Personhood
  • Strategies for Abolition: Fighting Transphobia, Racism and Economic Oppression
  • Wade in the Water: Detroit, Neoliberalism, and the Future of Cities
  • A Tale of Three Cities: Fighting Gentrification and Displacement in the Bay Area and Chicago
  • Street Vending: Challenging the Criminalization of Workers 
  • Building Economy from the Left: Community Models based on Participatory Democracy and Solidarity
  • Challenging Immigrant Detention: Creative Representation Strategies for Hard Cases
  • 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
  • #SayHerName: Women of Color, Police Violence and Criminalization
  • Black Lives Matter: Legal and Political Strategies for Resisting Police and State Violence in the US and Internationally
  • Transitioning to Justice: Post-Conflict Countries, State Violence and US Interventionism
  • U.S. Empire After the Age of Obama: Africa, Asia and the Caribbean
  • Lawfare: The Legal Attack on Palestinian Communities and Movements
  • The Corporate University: Justice, Anti-Racism and Free Speech in the Age of Neo-Liberal Schools
  • Local Hire Policies and Job Creation for Environmental Justice Communities 
  • 50 Shades of Green: The Conflict between Federal and State Marijuana Laws and its Impact on Immigrants
  • The Problem of Speaking for Others: Advocating for Juveniles, Animals, and Persons with Disabilities

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:


If you will need childcare services at the convention, please complete this request form

*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.