Member News Digest 3/12/20: New Surveillance Disclosures, Victory in PDX, and more


Radical Litigation CLE in NYC | RESCHEDULED: September 25, 9 AM-5 PM, Columbia Law School

NOTE: This CLE has been rescheduled due to precautions around the coronavirus.


Law for Black Lives, the Civil Rights Corps and National Lawyers Guild NYC are co-sponsoring a day of continuing legal education focused on litigation as a tool for building community power. Litigation is a powerful strategy to enact systemic and structural change. However, many well intentioned litigators engage in strategies that undermine local organizing efforts or fail to build the power of local communities. This CLE will focus on how to embrace a movement lawyering approach to litigation. The course will give lawyers concrete tools and skills to enhance their movement lawyering practice and to develop litigation strategies that support and build local organizing power.

Rest in Power, Karen Weill

We are deeply saddened to share that beloved NLG legal worker Karen Weill of Bellingham, WA, wife and partner of NLG attorney Larry Hildes, passed away from brain cancer Tuesday morning. Karen was a dedicated fighter and advocate for justice who will be greatly missed by the NLG and all the movements she served.

If you are able, please consider donating to this GoFundMe to help cover medical and other expenses.

Stay strong, Larry. We love you.

NLG-Los Angeles Seeks Program Coordinator

The NLG-LA Chapter is seeking a full time program coordinator, based in MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles, with flexibility for at-home work. Read a full description of the position, salary information, and application instructions on Idealist here.

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 (NOTE: you must be logged in with your account to view this page). Have a job or internship listing you’d like to share with fellow Guild members? Send it to

3/7/20 | The Mercury | Fired Montco public defenders draw support at rally and commissioners’ meeting

The Temple Law Chapter of the NLG joined community organizations on Saturday to protest the firings of Dean Beer and Keisha Hudson, two leaders in the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office—and vocal critics of the county’s money bail policies.

“In firing Dean Beer and Keisha Hudson they have made a terrible mistake and we’re here to send them a message that criminal justice reform will come to Montgomery County,” Danielle Kwock Phillips, of Temple Law National Lawyers Guild, said Thursday as she stood on the steps of the county courthouse. “We’re not going to stand for this. We’re here as the electorate to tell you that you have made a terrible mistake. You will reverse this decision and reinstate Dean Beer and Keisha Hudson.” Read the full article here.

Left: Temple NLG members gathered for the 3/6 rally. Follow @TempleNLG on Twitter for more coverage of the rally.

3/3/20 | The Portland Mercury | Jury Clears Twerking Protester From Criminal Charges

A win in Portland, OR! NLG PDX members Maya Rinta and Vika Safarian successfully represented Alonna Mitsch, an African American woman protesting the Proud Boys last August, who was arrested by police for twerking in the street. The jury found her not guilty and dismissed her misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for obstructing vehicular traffic. While the result was not surprising, it was notable the DA’s office took this small charge all the way to trial.

“I was like, ‘There’s Nazis walking through our city, but I’m shaking my behind in the middle of the street and that’s what you’re worried about?’ That can’t be right,” Mitsch said.

2/11/20 | Boston Neighborhood Network | NLG Mass Lawsuit Reveals New Disclosures on Surveillance of Activists

[VIDEO] A lawsuit by the NLG Massachusetts Chapter against the Boston PD and Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC)—a local fusion center—has produced 1,500 pages of surveillance records of activists from 2011 and 2012, including those with Occupy Boston.

“Not only were BRIC officers surveilling those activists, but those activist groups were labeled as ‘national security threats’ or just ‘threats,’ and we found that very problematic,” says NLG Mass Executive Director Urszula Masny-Latos in this Boston Neighborhood Network interview. Watch the full interview at the link, and read the NLG Mass Chapter’s press release here.

Share your NLG news in Guild Notes! Deadline is 3/23

Submit to Guild Notes, the NLG’s national newsletter featuring updates from NLG members, committees, and chapters! Submit your articles for publication consideration to by Monday, March 23, 2020. (NOTE: These articles should be directly related to NLG work. For more info, see the Guild Notes submission guidelines.)

A reminder that the Beyond Bars: Voices of NLG Jailhouse Lawyers column also features articles, artwork, and poetry from people in prison in Guild Notes. In response to our growing jailhouse lawyer membership, we have expanded the column to include pieces specifically geared toward the needs of folks on the inside, e.g. strategies to bring litigation against prisons, or stories of solidarity and survival. (Beyond Bars articles need not be directly related to NLG work, but should serve as practical resources for incarcerated members.)

3/4/20 | NLG Joins Coalition Letter Against Legislation Targeting Palestine Advocacy in Arizona

The NLG, its International Committee, Palestine Subcommittee and Central Arizona chapter joined a collective letter calling on members of the Arizona Senate to reject proposed legislation, SB 1143 and HB 2683. These bills attempt to impose the so-called “IHRA definition of anti-Semitism” to define hate crimes. The IHRA definition and, especially, its associated “examples” repeatedly conflate criticism of and opposition to the Israeli state and anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Read the full letter here.

Support Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is recovering in the hospital after attempting to take her own life yesterday. She is scheduled to appear for a court hearing tomorrow.

If you haven’t already, please sign the petition at to demand her immediate release.

“Ms. Manning is still scheduled to appear on Friday for a previously-calendared hearing, at which Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May, 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures. In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called ‘coercive’ incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse. Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself.”

Read the full statement from her legal team, which includes NLG-NYC member Moira Metlzer-Cohen.

Propose an NLG Webinar!

Are you a current Guild member who wants to wants to organize a discussion on a particular movement issue you are working on with the NLG? Submit a proposal to host an NLG webinar!

Webinars should be related to timely movement/political issues that speak directly to current NLG work, such as that of a committee or chapter. NLG webinars can be directed toward the general public and open to all, or for NLG members-only, depending on the nature and goals of the presentation. (See an overview of some of our areas of focus at

IMPORTANT: All NLG webinars require endorsement/sponsorship from one or more NLG entity, such a a chapter or a committee/task force/project. Learn more and/or submit your NLG webinar proposal here!

Pace International Law Review | Human Rights, Economic Justice and U.S. Exceptionalism

NLG past president Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan wrote this law review article for the Pace International Law Review, bringing an anti-capitalist (and anti-imperialist) lens to the human rights framework.

“As lawyers, we must be mindful that rights’ struggles are always about dignity and to the extent that a rights framework assists in achieving that, it should be pursued. But, when the law actually impedes progress and stifles demands for dignified living, the law must be changed, ignored or disobeyed.” Read the full piece here.

Join the NLG IC, IADL and AAJ on a Joint Observation Delegation to Bolivia for May 3, 2020 Elections

The NLG International Committee (NLG IC), International Association of Democratic Jurists (IADL), and Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ) are sponsoring a joint delegation to Bolivia to investigate the conditions leading up to the May 3 presidential and legislative elections and to assist in the evaluation of whether the elections are transparent and fair. Members of the delegation will serve as accredited election observers and will participate in putting out a report on its findings. (NOTE: Due to coronavirus, the delegation may be postponed or canceled.) Learn more about the delegation and how to join, here.

Fundraiser: Send NLG to Universal Periodic Review in Geneva

The United Nations will review the U.S.’ human rights record at the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in May 2020. The UPR takes place for each country only every four years, so this marks a unique and important opportunity for the National Lawyers Guild to raise its voice at an international level regarding U.S. human rights violations.

Please help the NLG support Kerry McLean and Martha Schmidt to attend the UPR. The NLG has submitted two reports to the UPR process as part of a collective effort organized by the US Human Rights Network, on the right to health care and violations of voting rights.

Posted in Announcements, Member Recap.