2022 Resolutions, Amendments, and Elections

About the NLG Governance Process

As a democratic organization, the work and focus of the NLG is decided by our members. Each year, we hold plenaries in which members discuss programmatic priorities, often in the form of resolutions. We also update our governing documents, our Bylaws and Constitution, and elect new officers to serve on the NLG National Executive Committee (NEC).

This year, NLG will not have a consolidated #Law4thePeople Convention. However, governance matters will be handled during the NLG Governance Plenaries on October 22 and 23, 2022, from 1-4 PM ET. The plenaries will be virtual and open to all current NLG members. All voting will take place online after the plenaries. 

Only members are eligible to vote in NLG elections. To join or renew, visit nlg.org/join.

September 21, 2022

  • Deadline for proponent to complete procedural compliance (if needed).

September 22, 2022

  • Final proposed resolutions and bylaw amendments will be placed on the NLG website.

October 2, 2022

  • Deadline for members to suggest friendly amendments to proposals (no revisions are accepted on the plenary floor)

October 12

  • Deadline for proponents to re-submit final versions with friendly amendments and endorsements

October 21, 2022

  • Deadline to submit emergency resolutions (24 hours before convention begins)
  • Deadline for any candidates for national officer positions to nominate themselves.

October 22

  • Deadline for people to join/renew their Guild membership in order to vote in the election

October 22-23, 2022

  • Governance plenaries.

November 1, 2022

  • Deadline for pro and con statements to be submitted. 

November 4, 2022

  • Online voting begins

December 6, 2022

  • Online voting closes; results will be posted once voting has closed. 

What are Amendments and Resolutions?

Amendments

  • The membership has updated the constitution, originally adopted in 1937, at many conventions. The current constitution and bylaws are available here: nlg.org/about/bylaws-and-resolutions/
  • Amendments can be made to either our constitution or our bylaws.

Resolutions

  • Resolutions are an opportunity for our membership to propose and agree on statements of programmatic priorities for our organization and to take stances on various issues.
  • Examples of resolutions here: nlg.org/about/bylaws-and-resolutions/

Emergency Resolutions

  • Emergency resolutions are resolutions based on events that take place after the initial sixty-day deadline, and up to twenty-four hours prior to the voting plenary. The twenty-four hour deadline may be waived in the event that an emergency resolution is non-controversial as determined by the Resolutions Committee and confirmed by the actual vote. Emergency resolutions must comply with all resolution requirements not related to timeliness.

Friendly Amendments

  • Friendly amendments are recommended changes to the amendment or resolution, which the proponent(s) may choose to either accept or reject.

For more information on Resolutions, Constitution and Bylaws Amendments, see the NLG Bylaws, Section 8.

Email Submission

  • Proposed resolutions, bylaws amendments, and constitutional amendments must be emailed in attachment form by August 1, 2022, Midnight (Pacific Time). Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • Early submission is encouraged, as resolutions and amendments often require edits to be made for submissions to be in full accordance with the procedural requirements.
  • Emails should be addressed to resolutions@nlg.org

Procedural Requirements (Please read carefully!)

The attachment with the proposed resolution or amendment must:

  • On its face include the name and contact information of the person submitting the resolution or amendment. This ensures members can contact the proponent before and during the convention.
  • Contain a specific and explicit implementation clause indicating what individuals or entities will do the work of implementing the resolution (i.e. the Resolutions Committee, the National Office, a local chapter, etc.). Per an amendment approved at the 2014 convention, proponents are only required to have attempted to obtain consent of those tasked with implementing the resolution. If any person or entity is tasked with implementing the resolution, the face of the resolution must indicate that the proponent has contacted such persons or entities before submitting the resolution. Proposal must indicate if 1) proponent has the consent of all persons obligated, 2) that consent was denied, 3) that consultation was impractical and why, or 4) that approval was requested but was not granted or denied.
  • Not exceed 3 pages, 12-point font, including endorsing entities or names. Shorter proposals are encouraged. Endorsing names and entities must be included within the 3-page limit.
  • Proposal must include the name and contact information of the person who will present the proposal in the two plenaries.
  • Any submission that has been denied for lack of obtaining explicit agreement of a tasked entity or individual to implement the resolution or amendment may be appealed to the Executive Council of the NEC by contacting Suzanne Adely at president@nlg.org.

All primary proponents should plan to present and speak on behalf of the amendment or resolution at the virtual plenary. If they will not be present, proponents should notify the Resolutions Committee and appoint an alternate delegate to present and answer questions during the plenary.

Note: Amendments from the floor are not accepted, so people objecting to proposals should speak with proponents well in advance of the plenaries to see if they are willing to amend their own proposals before they come to the plenary floor.

Each year, the NLG holds elections to choose the officers of the National Executive Committee (NEC). All current NLG members in good standing are eligible to run for an elected office, although it is recommended that candidates have one year of Guild membership before running for a position. If you are interested, please email a brief candidate statement to NLG Director of Research and Education Traci Yoder at traci@nlg.org before October 21, 2022. If you have any questions about the election process, please email Traci.

In 2022, the following offices are up for election:

Secretary

The Secretary position begins in 2022 and ends at the 2025 Governance Plenaries. This position is responsible for recording and sharing the institutional knowledge of the organization, and participating on the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Executive Council (EC). For more information, please read the NLG Secretary Job Description.

Student National Vice President (SNVP)

The SNVP serves for a 2-year term on the National Executive Committee (NEC), and participates on the Executive Council (EC) during the 2nd year of their term. The SNVP represents the interests of law student members of the NLG. More details about the position can be found in the SNVP Job Description.

This position is only open to current law student members.

Legal Worker Vice President (LWVP)

The LWVP serves for a 2-year term on the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Executive Council (EC). The LWVP represents the interests of the legal worker membership of the NLG. For more information, please read the NLG LWVP Job Description.

This position is only open to current legal worker members.

Information for Candidates for National Positions Elected by Constituencies

Candidates for national office which are selected by regions, projects, task forces, or committees (e.g., Regional Representatives, representatives from The United People of Color Caucus and Queer Caucus, and representatives from NLG projects and national committees) should refer to their respective entities for procedures and available offices.

All Proposed Amendments and Resolutions

PDF versions of each proposed Amendment and Resolution can be found below, along with brief summaries of each proposal.

Resolutions are member-written proposals which advocate for the NLG to take a specific position or action as an organization. This year, members will vote on the following Resolutions:

Below are shortened summaries of each Resolution. These summaries are meant to serve as a guide for voters to determine which Resolutions they’d like to read in full and vote on, since members do not need to vote on each proposal and we understand there are a lot of proposals this year. They are not meant as a replacement for reading the full Resolutions. Please read the full Resolution before casting a vote.

Challenging Empire: National Lawyers Guild Resolution in Support of Anti-Colonialism, Anti-Racism, and Indigenous Sovereignty

This Resolution proposes that NLG formally states its solidarity with Indigenous peoples globally and its opposition to U.S. empire. The Resolution goes on to propose long- and short-term goals for aligning the NLG with anti-colonial struggle, including establishing a working group for anti-colonial political education, repairing our relationships with Indigenous movement partners, and others. 

NLG Resolution Calling for a Reinvigorated Solidarity Campaign with the Cuban People

This Resolution proposes that NLG support Cuban humanitarian and solidarity initiatives, in light of the ongoing and escalated anti-Cuban policies made by the United States government in recent years. The Resolution urges NLG to demand an end to the sanctions against Cuba, suspension of the Helms-Burton Act, and a restoration of the right to travel to Cuba.

Resolution on Corporate Constitutional Rights

This Resolution proposes that the NLG endorse and educate people about the We the People Amendment, a current piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation aims to abolish corporate constitutional rights (also called corporate personhood).

Resolution to decharter Delaware-New Jersey NLG Chapter

This Resolution would revoke the Delaware-New Jersey NLG Chapter Charter. The NEC (NLG’s national board) recommends revoking the Charter.

Voting YES would decharter the Delaware-New Jersey Chapter, and chapter members would become members-at-large (NLG members without a chapter affiliation). Voting NO would allow the Delaware-New Jersey Chapter to keep its charter.

Resolution to include Buffalo in the Northeast Region

This Resolution would include the Buffalo, New York NLG Chapter in the Northeast Region with the rest of the NLG’s New York State chapters. Historically, the Buffalo NLG Chapter has been assigned to the Mid-East Region with Ohio, Michigan, and Pittsburgh.

Voting YES would add Buffalo to the Northeast Region. Voting NO would keep Buffalo in the Mid-East Region.

Amendment to Change the Definition of Legal Worker

This Amendment would update the definition of “legal worker” in the NLG Constitution. Currently, the Constitution says a legal worker is somebody working, who has worked, or who is training to work at an office or collective that provides legal services. The proposed change would add “for pay or as a volunteer,” to include potential members who may do unpaid legal work.

The following proposals all deal with making the NLG governing document text reflect our actual organizational practices. None of them recommend a change to our actual day-to-day operations. 

Voting YES on any of these Amendments would mean supporting these updates being formally incorporated into the governing documents. Voting NO on any of these Amendments would be rejecting these updates.

Below are shortened summaries of each Amendment. These summaries are meant to serve as a guide for voters to determine which Amendments they’d like to read in full and vote on, since members do not need to vote on each proposal and we understand there are a lot of proposals this year. They are not meant as a replacement for reading the full Amendments. Please read the full Amendment before casting a vote.

Amendment to Change Bylaws Section 1.6 and 1.7 – Progressive Dues Schedules

This Amendment would add a clause allowing for a fee waiver for members who cannot afford to pay annual dues. The National Office currently allows fee waivers when members request them, but it is not written in the NLG Bylaws.

Amendment to Change Constitution Article 5.11 – Travel Expenses

If passed, this Amendment would add the Student National Vice President and Legal Worker Vice President to the list of elected NLG board members who can get reimbursed for travel expenses to and from in-person NLG meetings. Currently, the NLG Constitution lists all elected representatives except for these two positions. In practice, all board members have been reimbursed for NLG-related travel expenses.

Amendment to Change Constitution Article 2.2(c) – At-Large Membership

If passed, this Amendment would edit the NLG Constitution to accurately reflect that the National Office approves or denies requests from individual members who want to join as members-at-large (this usually occurs when a new member is located in a geographic area without a Chapter). Currently, the NLG Constitution assigns that responsibility to the NEC (NLG’s national board), but this administrative task is done by the National Office in practice. 

Amendment to Change Constitution Article 3.1(c) – Geographic Chapters

If passed, this Amendment would give the National Office the responsibility of defining Chapter geographic areas, in consultation with the relevant members and Chapter(s). Currently, the NLG Constitution assigns this responsibility to the NEC (NLG’s national board); in practice, this is a task that the National Office has been primarily navigating for over a decade.

Amendment to Change Constitution Article 3.4 – Denial of Chapter Application

This Amendment would reflect that the National Office is the entity that works with Chapters to make sure no two Chapters areas overlap. Currently, the NLG Constitution assigns this responsibility to the NEC (NLG’s national board); in practice, this is a task that the National Office has been primarily navigating for over a decade.

Amendment to Change Bylaws Section 1.7 – Dues Schedules

This Amendment would update the NLG Bylaws to allow the National Office to determine the membership fees for at-large members. Currently, the NLG Bylaws assign that responsibility to the NEC (NLG’s national board). In practice, the National Office has been setting these rates for over a decade.

Amendment to Change Bylaws Section 15 – Convention Evaluation and Survey

This Amendment would have the convention evaluation be sent out by the National Office, not the NEC (NLG’s national board). The NLG Bylaws currently assign this responsibility to the NEC, but in practice, the National Office has sent out the survey and reported back to the NEC.

Amendments to Update Constitution Article 5 – Ombudsperson

These Amendments remove the “Ombudsperson” role from the list of NEC (NLG national board) positions. This is meant to allow the NEC to hire an Ombudsperson, instead of having that role as a volunteer board member.

Amendment to Article 5.2 (a) removes “Ombudsperson” from the list of elected NEC officers.

Amendment to Article 5.1 removes “Ombudsperson” from the list of all NEC officers.

Amendment to Update Constitution Article 7 – Referenda

This Amendment removes sections of the NLG Constitution that describe “referenda,” or a vote that includes all members. These sections were originally written when the NLG Convention used to use a delegate system. The NLG no longer uses a delegate system, and instead, all members are eligible to vote on Amendments, Resolutions, and officer positions. This section is therefore no longer relevant.

Voting YES on this Amendment would remove the references to referenda.

Amendment to Change Bylaws Section 8.12 – Vote Timing

This Amendment will give the National Office five (5) days from receipt to notify members of the final versions of all proposed Amendments and Resolutions. It will achieve this by asking the Resolutions Committee to finalize the text five days earlier, so membership will not experience any delay.

Currently, the Constitution requires the National Office to post all final versions, and format and send an email to all members, on the same day that they receive the final version. This is usually logistically impossible.

Amendment to Change Bylaws Section 8.3 – Sending Proposed Resolutions and Amendments

This Amendment will give the National Office ten (10) days after the governance plenary to send the voting form to members. Currently, the NLG Bylaws state that the National Office must send this link “immediately after” the governance plenary.

The following proposals all recommend a change to a procedure outlined in the NLG Constitution or Bylaws.

Voting YES on any of these Amendments would mean supporting these updates being formally incorporated into the governing documents. Voting NO on any of these Amendments would be rejecting these updates.

Below are shortened summaries of each Amendment. These summaries are meant to serve as a guide for voters to determine which Amendments they’d like to read in full and vote on, since members do not need to vote on each proposal and we understand there are a lot of proposals this year. They are not meant as a replacement for reading the full Amendments. Please read the full Amendment before casting a vote.

Amendment to Constitution Article 3.2 – Regions

This Amendment would resolve a discrepancy between the Constitution and Bylaws. The Bylaws allow the NEC (NLG’s national board) to decide the boundaries of a Region, while the Constitution says an all-member vote at the annual Convention decides, delaying decisions up to a year. This amendment would change the Constitution to allow the NEC to decide the boundaries of a Region.

Amendment to Bylaws Section 2 – Dissolution of Chapters

This Amendment would revise the NLG Bylaws to allow the NEC (NLG’s national board) to dissolve a Chapter by a vote of two-thirds majority, in cases where the three-fourths of the Chapter membership petitions to be dissolved, or if the NEC determines the Chapter is unable to function due to having too few members. Currently, the Bylaws require this process to be decided by an all-member vote at the annual Convention, which can delay decisions for up to 12 months.

Amendment to Constitution Article 8 – Conflict and Discipline

These five (5) Amendments all revise Article 8 of the NLG Constitution to allow the NEC (NLG’s national board) to decide Chapter and member discipline issues. Currently, the Constitution requires that these decisions be made by an all-member vote at the annual Convention, which can delay decisions for up to 12 months.

Amendment to Article 8.1 gives the NEC authority to censure a Chapter by a vote of two-thirds majority.

Amendment to Article 8.2 gives the NEC authority to revoke a Chapter Charter by a vote of two-thirds majority.

Amendment to Article 8.3 requires the NEC to issue charges in writing and give the Chapter an opportunity to be heard before voting on censure or revocation.

Amendment to Article 8.4 states that local Chapter decisions about discipline may be appealed to the NEC.

Amendment to Article 8.5 allows the NEC to vote on censure, suspension, or expulsion of at-large members, who do not have a local Chapter to do this.

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