In only a few short weeks, we’ll get to convene Guildies and our allies for our week-long virtual convention. We’re excited to host our annual gathering of movement legal workers, organizers, lawyers, and activists to learn more about our 2021 panel and workshop topics and to spend time with one another!
Check out the tabs below to learn more about the Convention, our honorees, and our Keynote Presenter!
We will once again be convening a virtual convention! While we missed gathering in person with you all last year, our digital convention was a huge success—with 1,000 attendees participating around the U.S. (and the world).
Like last year, we will schedule events to accommodate attendees across multiple time zones and aim to make programming as accessible as possible—including, but not limited to, having live captioning available.
As always, we will offer sliding-scale registration, with waivers available upon request. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Even if attendees aren’t available to join every event live in real time, registrants will be able to access video recordings of programming to watch and engage with at their convenience.
In addition to workshops, major panels, CLEs, and governance events, we will be sure to include online social events and other ways our attendees can connect with each other!
- Up to 15 hours of available CLE credit
- 18 hours of workshops and major panels on topics such as sex work decriminalization, disability justice and COVID, eviction defense, prison legal support, international labor solidarity, Guild work past and present, and more!
- Keynote Presentation with abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer Talila A. Lewis
- Ceremony to celebrate the work of our incredible 2021 Honorees
- Social hours to connect with other Guild members and allies
- Access to video recordings of all programming to watch and engage with at your convenience
- Discount on all books, DVDs, and CDs from our official convention bookseller, PM Press!
Announcing Keynote Presenter Talila A. Lewis, Abolitionist Community Lawyer, Educator, and Organizer!
Note: ASL interpreter and live English captioning will be provided for the keynote event, which will be livestreamed to the public.
Talila A. Lewis (no gender pronouns; use Talila or “TL” instead of using pronouns) is an abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer whose work reveals and addresses the inextricable links between ableism, racism, classism, and all forms of systemic oppression and structural inequity. Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Lewis engineers innovative and intersectional social justice efforts that address grave interconnected injustices within education, medical, and legal systems that have gone unaddressed for generations. Lewis’s advocacy primarily focuses on harm and violence reduction and interruption, advocacy with people affected by incarceration/institutionalization, and abolition of all forms of incarceration/institutionalization.
As one of the only people in the nation working to correct and prevent wrongful convictions of deaf/disabled people, Lewis regularly presents and trains on this and related topics. As the creator of the only national database of deaf/blind/disabled people, Lewis advocates with and for hundreds of disabled defendants, incarcerated, and returned people and their loved ones. Lewis co-founded and serves as volunteer director of HEARD (HEARD), a cross-disability abolitionist organization works to end ableism, racism, capitalism, and all other forms of oppression and violence. As a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective and the co-creator of Disability Solidarity praxis, Lewis spent most of 2017 and all of 2018 traveling the “United States,” to exchange knowledge with multiply-marginalized communities; visit incarcerated deaf/disabled people; and bake for “love, life & liberation” under the moniker Sweet Solidarity.
Lewis currently serves as a consultant for dozens of social justice organizations on various topics including racial, economic, gender, and disability justice and as an expert on cases involving disabled people. Lewis previously served as the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and as a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Lewis has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, American Association for People with Disabilities, the Nation Institute, National Black Deaf Advocates, and EBONY Magazine, among others.
At the #Law4ThePeople Convention each year, we honors members and allies whose work embodies extraordinary commitment to our mission of human rights and the rights of ecosystems over property interests.
Law for the People Award
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives and as a legal advocate for Palestinian refugee rights at the United Nations. Noura’s research interests include human rights and humanitarian, refugee, and national security law. She is a frequent commentator, with recent appearances on CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, among others, and her writings have been widely published in the national media and academic journals.
Debra Evenson “Venceremos” Award (Awarded by the NLG International Committee)
Kerry McLean is an international human rights lawyer and social justice activist. An NLG member since 2003, Kerry is the founder and Chair of the NLG Africa Subcommittee, a former NLG national board member, former VP of the NLG-NYC Chapter, Co-Chair of her law school’s NLG chapter, and NLG Anti-Sexism Committee Chair for several years. Kerry has represented the Guild in advocacy for the Jena 6, Marissa Alexander and Troy Davis. She also helped coordinate support for migrants of African descent in Mexico. Kerry is also a Steering Committee member of and Spokesperson for the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States.
Ernie Goodman Award
J. Ashlee Albies has been practicing civil rights and employee-side employment law for over fifteen years, including providing legal support to democratic workspaces and local cooperatives. Ashlee has devoted her legal career to providing zealous advocacy for clients harmed by discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment by an employer or the government. She believes in client-centered practice: providing her clients with the ability to make informed decisions about major life choices. Ashlee is a past Co-Chair of the NLG Portland Chapter and past chair of the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section, and currently sits on its Labor and Employment Section steering committee. She has presented on the First Amendment, free speech, creative uses of the law, trial advocacy, and civil rights litigation.
Legal Worker Award
Ría Thompson-Washington is an anti-racist activist, organizer, and Black queer feminist living in the metro Washington, DC area. As the granddaughter of a sharecropper from South Carolina and the daughter of an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, Ría is committed to expanding access to our democracy to those living at the margins. Ría joined the NLG in 2015 as a student at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and shortly thereafter, was elected NLG national vice president and executive vice president. She has served as Queer Caucus chair and is currently a Mass Defense Steering Committee member and The United People of Color Caucus co-chair. Since 2016, Ría has been a Legal Observer coordinator and trainer in the NLG DC Chapter. She is the senior manager of the Voting Rights & Democracy Program at the Center for Popular Democracy.
C.B. King Award
Kendall Lawrenz is a third-year law student at The George Washington University Law School, where she is an active member of the GW NLG Chapter. Kendall became involved with protest defense as a DC NLG legal observer and Law 4 Black Lives DC jail support volunteer during the summer of 2020. She currently serves as a DC NLG Executive Board member and Legal Observer Coordinator. As a law student, Kendall has interned with the Office of the Public Defender for Arlington County, Bread for the City, and The Bronx Defenders. She currently works as a research assistant with Professor Kate Weisburd, analyzing the privacy implications of electronic monitoring surveillance in the carceral system.
Carlos Moctezuma García is a member at García & García Attorneys at Law, P.L.L.C. Carlos tries all types of immigration cases in addition to state and federal criminal cases. Carlos has received awards for his pro bono work from three organizations: the Texas Civil Rights Project (2016), ProBAR (2015), and the Hidalgo County Bar Association (2013). Carlos dedicates much of his time serving as the chair of the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the vice chair of the Board of Directors for the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Project South was founded as the Institute to Eliminate Poverty & Genocide in 1986. Our work is rooted in the legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement, and our mission of cultivating strong social movements in the South powerful enough to contend with some of the most pressing and complicated social, economic, and political problems we face today. Three Strategic Directions guide Project South’s work: Neighborhood Organizing to Grow Community Power; Movement Organizing to Grow Regional Power; and Movement Support to Grow Grassroots Leadership.
We’re thrilled to announce the 2021 programming, member-submitted and organized programming that comprises the bulk of #Law4thePeople events! Full schedule with descriptions, speakers, and CLE materials can be found at nlg2021.sched.com.
- Legal and Organizing Strategies to Fight and Win Against the False Promise of the Gig Economy (NLG Labor and Employment Committee CLE)
- NLG Military Law Task Force CLE
- Using and Implementing the Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the U.S. (International Committee CLE)
Major Panels (120 minutes)
- The Path To Sex Work Decriminalization in the US
- Building Movements and Disability Solidarity in the Age of COVID-19
- Using the State Against the State: Strategy of the NLG
Workshops (90 minutes)
- Eviction Defense: Adapting Legal Observation for Eviction Rapid Response
- Prison Legal Support Network: A Model to Supporting Jailhouse Lawyers and Prisoner-Led Organizing
- Observation Towards Action: Documenting Court Hearings and Mobilizing Campaigns
- Defending the Attica Brothers
- On the Ground in Minnesota: Defending the Uprising, Racial Justice Protests and Line 3
- #BlockTheBoat: Building Labor Solidarity for Palestine and the Boycott Movement
- International Labor Solidarity and the Fight to Preserve Democracy
- Hot Topic Workshop: Liberal Imperialism and the Biden Administration
The NPAP CLE, “Immunities on Appeal: Effective Strategies for Civil Rights Plaintiffs,” will discuss strategies for appealing immunity issues in civil rights cases, including the nuts and bolts of appellate advocacy, recent Supreme Court cases, the future of qualified immunity, and tips for framing issues at the circuit level.
The NIP CLE, “Immigration Defense Strategies: Lessons from the Criminal Defense Context,” will cover a wide array of immigration defense topics, ranging from constitutional procedure to adopting a public defense approach to immigration.
Each year, we run our Awards Program Tribute Journal and Sponsorship Program to give aligned organizations, members’ firms, groups, and individuals the opportunity to spread the word about their work and congratulate our honorees. This is also an opportunity to help sustain the NLG financially, and we’re extremely grateful for the support.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s Tribute Journal will be digital only. View our program booklets from past years here.
Tribute Journal Ads are also included with Sponsorships. Event sponsorships are a great way to get your business or organization in front of our amazing community. Your sponsorship puts your company in front of hundreds of attorneys, organizers, and activists, provides your team with tickets, and helps support our work! You can become an event sponsor with ticket packages ranging from $500-$7,500. Benefits include Convention registration, digital promotion of your name or logo and the placement of an ad in the Tribute Journal.