Guild Notes & Beyond Bars Submission Guidelines

Deadline for Spring 2024 issue: May 31, 2024

Submit to Guild Notes! Guild Notes is the official, biannual newsletter of the National Lawyers Guild. Each publication includes news from our members, committees, and chapters nationwide. Since 2015, the Beyond Bars column has featured the writing, artwork, and poetry of NLG jailhouse lawyers.

If you plan to submit an article, please send an outline of your topic to as soon as possible. This will allow us to budget our content and to avoid any duplication. To submit an article, please read the guidelines and instructions below. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Guild Notes Submission Guidelines & Instructions

  • Your article must directly pertain to NLG work*. If your piece doesn’t directly connected to the NLG, does not involve Guild members, and/or presents no way for Guild members to get involved, it is not appropriate for Guild Notes. (Legal and political essays can be submitted to the NLG Review at *the one exception for this is Beyond Bars articles geared toward people in prison.
  • Because the print version of Guild Notes is going to our incarcerated members who generally do not have internet access, articles that rely on hyperlinks for understanding the overall context will not be accepted; instead we can see about utilizing them for the NLG blog, which also gets emailed out to our membership.
  • All submissions must be in MS Word-compatible formats (.rtf, .doc, and .docx ) and sent as attachments to, indicating “GUILD NOTES SUBMISSION” in the subject line. Please do not send articles in the body of an email.
  • Articles should be from 750-1000 words maximum word count.
  • Articles may be edited for length, grammatical errors, and readability, but no substantive changes to content will be made.
  • Photos (especially high-res) are strongly encouraged! We strive to make our publications both visually appealing and informative, so if you have photos, please send them along even if you are not writing an article. Each photo that’s submitted should be at least 96 dpi (including those taken with a mobile device) and must be accompanied by photo credit (i.e. name of photographer) and a suggested caption.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted, but may be considered for the next issue instead. Please feel free to send articles sooner than the deadline, as this helps expedite the production process.


As the only bar association in the country with Jailhouse Lawyer membership, we launched the column “Beyond Bars,” in 2015—a series of articles, poetry and artwork by people in prison that appear in each issue of Guild Notes, the NLG’s biannual member newsletter. “Beyond Bars” aims to provide incarcerated people with an outlet for political and artistic expression while shedding light on the country’s broken, inhumane, and racist criminal legal system.

Update: October 2017 –  In response to our growing jailhouse lawyer membership, we are expanding 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. (These need not be directly related to NLG work, but should serve as practical resources for incarcerated members.)

“Beyond Bars” Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions must relate to the issue of prison, prisoners’ rights, or mass incarceration in some way. While we will not publish writing detailing the writer’s own legal case, drawing upon personal experience as an illustration of a broader topic is encouraged.
  • Hand-written submissions must be printed clearly and sent to: Attn: GUILD NOTES SUBMISSION, PO Box 1266 / New York, NY 10009. Writings submitted via email may be sent to with the subject line: “GUILD NOTES SUBMISSION.”
  • Please keep your articles to the word limit of 1000 words
  • Always include a suggested title for your writing or artwork. Submissions may be written anonymously, or under a pseudonym.
  • In addition to publication in Guild Notes, submissions may be considered for online publication (e.g. NLG blog, social media).
  • Please indicate whether or not you wish to have your contact information published alongside your articles and/or artwork.
  • While all submissions will be considered for publication, there is no guarantee of publication.
  • Articles may be edited for grammatical accuracy and readability, but no substantive changes to content will be made.
  • Anyone in prison, regardless of NLG membership status, may submit writing and/or artwork for publication consideration.
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