NLG Stands with People of Ferguson

NLG Stands with People of Ferguson, Condemns Systematic Police Violence in Communities of Color
FERGUSON, Mo. — The NLG joins the people of Ferguson in expressing disheartenment at the grand jury decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. The rampant impunity with which police murder innocent people of color, as well as the heavily militarized response to protests in Ferguson, are symptoms of a larger system of racial injustice that has criminalized and oppressed people of color since the country’s founding. In just the last week, police have shot and killed two other unarmed African-Americans – Akai Gurley, 28, “accidentally” gunned down in his Brooklyn stairwell; and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy holding a BB gun near a Cleveland playground. As Ferguson and the rest of the nation rallies to demand an end to this state sanctioned violence, the NLG will be working to support and uphold the First Amendment rights of protesters.

The NLG helped establish the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee (FLDC). The FLDC is coordinating legal support for arrestees with support from Guild members from New York, Chicago, Detroit, and elsewhere. NLG Legal Observers will be monitoring police activity in Ferguson and solidarity demonstrations nationwide to ensure that the rights of protesters are respected.

These extrajudicial killings are bolstered by the rhetoric from mainstream media that criminalizes peaceful protesters, especially people of color, while repeatedly failing to challenge the motives and actions of police officers and other officials in positions of power. Guild Legal Worker Vice President Kris Hermes, who has been working on the ground in Ferguson, explains that the media’s profitable sensationalism “serves as a cover to use violent repression against protesters,” while the “grand jury system was manipulated to exonerate Wilson.” Given Gov. Jay Nixon’s preemptive “state of emergency,” deployment of the National Guard, and FAA “no-fly zone” declarations, the government’s intent to squash dissent in Ferguson is clear.

As Ferguson protesters emphasized in an open letter, their struggle speaks to a much larger tradition of racial oppression, of which police brutality is just one part:

“This fight for the dignity of our people, for the importance of our lives, for the protection of our children, is one that did not begin Michael’s murder and will not end with this announcement. The ‘system’ you have told us to rely on has kept us on the margins of society […] This system you have admonished us to believe in has consistently, unfailingly, and unabashedly let us down and kicked us out, time and time again.”

The NLG calls on lawyers, law students, and legal workers of conscience to contribute their legal knowledge to defending the people of Ferguson. Volunteers who are ready, willing, and able to contribute to these efforts in Ferguson may sign up here.

The NLG is accepting donations for its efforts in Ferguson and elsewhere.

New NLG Palestine Delegation Report on Political Prisoners in Israel

New report by National Lawyers Guild Palestine delegation shines a light on political prisoners in Israeli jails

“Prisoners of Injustice,” released today, is a new report that summarizes the findings and experiences of the May 2014 National Lawyers Guild delegation to Palestine examining the conditions and situation of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

The report reviews the experiences and findings of the delegation, who observed Israeli military trials and met with human rights organizations, families of Palestinian prisoners, and former prisoners, among others.

The report also details the delegation’s observations on the construction of the oppressive “separation Wall,” the expansion of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, and Palestinian popular protest.

Over 500 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in administrative detention, without charge or trial; the report looks at the role of administrative detention in suppressing Palestinian dissent. In addition, the report examines the targeting of children and youth for arrest and imprisonment.

The delegation also observes the connections and similarities between “war on terror” prosecutions, mass incarceration, and militarized, racialized policing in the United States, and the situation of Palestinians under occupation.

The delegation worked closely with Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, as well as with Defence for Children International Palestine Section, throughout its time in the West Bank.

The delegation urges the widest possible distribution of the report to decision-makers, lawyers, legal workers, law students, organizations and activists.

The National Lawyers Guild was formed in 1937 as the nation’s first racially integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.

To read the report, please click here to download:

To download or view the report on Scribd, please see:


Chicago All Chapter Meeting

Now that we are energized after a successful Convention, join fellow chapter members for an overview of the Chicago Guild, interactive subcommittee breakout sessions, networking and involvement opportunities, and chapter board elections!  We will have light snacks during the meeting, and will head to a happy hour TBA immediately afterwards for mingling and networking.

When: Friday, Nov. 7 at 5:30pm, happy hour TBA to follow! 
Where: Grace Place 637 S Dearborn St
Who: All are welcome! Members, soon-to-be members, students (note: only members will be eligible to run or vote in Chapter elections)
RSVP: not required, but appreciated, on Facebook or to


Subcommittees to learn more about include: NextGen, TUPOCC, Labor & Employment, Mass Defense, and Police Accountability.

(dis)Orientation 2014 — It’s Not You, It’s Law School!




The National Lawyers Guild Chicago Chapter is proud to announce our 2014 city wide DisOrientation!!!
Saturday, October 4th @1:00 p.m.
Loyola University, Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson

DisOrientation is an event for students to discuss surviving law school with our values and commitment to social justice intact. Come meet NLG law students, legal workers, and attorneys, while attending various panels and trainings on how to become a peoples lawyer.

The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

Our aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, people with disabilities and people of color, upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and who look upon the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.

1-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:15 Welcome
2:30-3:30 Student Panel
3:45-4:45 Attorney Panel
5-6 Legal Observer & Know Your Rights Trainings

Happy Hour to follow!
Clark Street Ale House
742 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
6:30 p.m.

Chicago Legal Observers in Ferguson


Our NLG Chicago Legal Observer Program volunteers are in Ferguson, supporting demonstrators and monitoring police. We have been working in cooperation with attorneys in Missouri on a Mass Defense of those persecuted by this insane system that has befallen the citizens of Ferguson .

We need your help. $10, $20, $100 will ensure that “boots on the ground” are there to ensure civil rights for the people that have had enough! DONATE HERE NOW!

More photos of our Legal Observers in Ferguson:



Jeff LOing in Ferguson 8-18-2014