Member News Digest, Jan. 22, 2021

Here’s your round-up of all the NLG’s been up to these past couple weeks!

Be sure to keep up with us in real time on social media, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Upcoming and Ongoing Events

International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) have assembled a commission of experts from around the world to investigate racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. The International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States will broadcast live hearings online with testimony from victims’ families and lawyers beginning January 18, 2021, which is the day that the United States commemorated the birthday of civil rights legend Martin Luther King, Jr. The hearings come to a close on February 6, 2021.

Please visit the website of the commission at to see the hearing schedule, to review the case list, and to register to attend these public hearings. All of the hearings will take place over Zoom and will be recorded and transcribed.

The ADA in the Wokplace: Recognizing and Resisting Discrimination

The National Disabled Law Students Association will be hosting this event on February 10th, 2021, at 1 P.M. EST via Zoom. How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) apply to employment? How can legal professionals use the ADA as a tool to protect employees in the workplace? What is the “interactive process” and why does it matter? Answers to these questions and more will be addressed by our expert panelists who have experience in applying the ADA in creative ways to address accessibility problems in the workplace and the legal profession.

CLE Information (via New York University, New York): This event is approved for 1 credit in the Areas of Professional Practice category. The credit will be both transitional and non-transitional. This event is appropriate for both newly admitted and experienced attorneys.

#WAMI2021: Prison Abolition and Beyond

For the 2021 Week Against Mass Incarceration (March 1-6), we ask NLG Law Schools and Local Chapters to organize around the theme of “Prison Abolition and Beyond” to include all locations and instances in which people are held against their will, including jails,  immigration detention, juvenile detention facilities, psychiatric wards, and more. We also intend the “beyond” to include consideration of the abolition of policing as part of the larger mass incarceration system (and in line with the Guild’s 2020 resolution supporting the abolition of police). Check out the #WAMI2021 page on our website for ways to get involved.

National, Committee, and Chapter Statements and News

NLG Members & President File Class Action Lawsuit Over NYPD Policing of BLM Protests

Members Gideon Oliver, Remy Green, Wiley Stecklow, Dave Rankin, and President Elena Cohen “announce the filing of a major class action lawsuit against the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, and other City officials, over the NYPD’s violent policing of the George Floyd protests this summer. The lawsuit seeks to put an end to ongoing, violent protest policing tactics deployed by the NYPD against Black Lives Matter activists in New York City.

You can read more here.

NLG Demands Immediate Structural Change in Wake of Impeachment and Attempted Coup

Last week’s white supremacist coup attempt facilitated by law enforcement makes clear that the path forward requires a serious reckoning with the conditions that caused this moment. […] For this reason, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) demands that the political response to last week’s fascist mob looks beyond the Trump administration and enacts structural change, including an overhaul of the prison and policing systems, a firm condemnation and rejection of white supremacist ideologies, and the implementation of more progressive policies across the board.”

NLG Michigan: 40+ Cases Against 30 BLM Protesters Dismissed in Detroit

“Detroit’s 36th District Court Judge Larry Williams, Jr., dismissed without prejudice all criminal cases on his docket against all Black Lives Matter protesters arrested during this past summer: a total of over 40 cases involving 30 protester defendants. Most of these cases involved protesters arrested during the initial weekend of protests following the police murder of George Floyd (May 29, 30 and 31; June 1 and 2), but  also included are protesters arrested on other dates during the summer; and also some protesters arrested for blocking Detroit school buses, to prevent them from picking up school children for dangerous in-person school sessions during the pandemic. Most of these cases involved misdemeanor charges of Disorderly Conduct or Loitering.”

NLG Condemns Attempt by Fascist Mob Incited by Trump to Overturn Election, Complicity by Law Enforcement

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) opposes today’s attempt to overturn the election, led by Trump loyalists and right-wing operatives in Washington, DC, in the strongest terms possible. Following a rally by Trump where he continued to falsely claim victory, a right-wing fascist mob stormed and occupied the U.S. Capitol Building and several state Capitol buildings in an attempt by white supremacists and other revanchists to preserve the racist, sexist, and colonial inequalities on which the United States was founded—with complicity by law enforcement.”

NLG In The News

1/21/21 | truthout Eric Garner’s Mother Says We Must Push for Justice That Her Son Didn’t Receive

Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, spoke at the opening hearing for the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States.

From truthout: “They killed him. It is no justice for him. But we must still stand for justice,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said during the commission’s opening hearing on January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “We must get justice for those who come behind him.”

1/19/21 | Briarpatch How Canada is targeting Indigenous resistance to TMX

Check out thie piece written by Kris Hermes of the Mass Defense Steering Committee:

“In December, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick found Jim Leyden guilty of criminal contempt of court for breaching an injunction originally brought by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (TMX) in March 2018. The injunction is the line that TMX has drawn in the sand, so as to stifle any meaningful resistance at the company’s worksites throughout the province – including TMX contractors and subcontractors – and all along the pipeline’s path.”

1/15/21 | The Nation These Progressives Helped Keep Hope Alive in 2020—and Prepare Us for 2021

The Guild is proud to endorse the Justice for All Act, introduced by Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib.

From The Nation: “The Michigan Democrat’s new Justice for All Act seeks to guarantee that victims of discrimination can vindicate their rights in the courts by restoring and expanding the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. National Lawyers Guild president Elena Cohen says legislation like Tlaib’s is “sorely needed in order to protect all people of this country.”

1/14/21 | Capital & Main Seeking to End “Juan Crow” Laws in the Next Congress

“As Joe Biden is about to enter the White House, immigrant rights advocates claim that, in the same way that society is coming to grips with the inadequacies, irrationalities and abuses of the criminal legal system, a parallel process to defund from harms and invest in community programs is also appropriate in immigration, especially as they’ve come to be so entwined. […]

“All of the worst excesses that exist in the criminal legal system have been imported into the immigration system,” says Sirine Shebaya, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project. “Excluding people because of their contacts with the criminal legal system often has harsh consequences, on both sides.”

1/13/21 | KQED Alameda County Jail to Start Coronavirus Testing for Staff

“Santa Rita jail in Alameda County plans to implement COVID-19 testing for staff this week in response to the region’s recent surge in cases. On-site testing was previously not available to staff. […]

“We feel that soon the sheriff is going to claim, as they have before, that they’ve controlled this outbreak when all they’ve really done is just stop seeing it,” said Lina Garcia Schmidt, a member of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.


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

Posted in Member Recap, News.