Uniting the legal community in the service of the people
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 as the country's first racially-integrated bar association of progressive lawyers and jurists who believed that they had a major role to play in the reconstruction of legal values to emphasize human rights over property rights. The Guild is the oldest and most extensive network of public interest and human rights activists working within the legal system.
We work tirelessly towards our mission of uniting 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, LGBTQ people, 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.
The Guild Los Angeles has four primary programmatic areas to fulfill our mission:
Amplifying the voices of the movement
We believe in actions being movement and grassroots led, and that we utilize our skills and resources to support the movement. Our Programmatic Committees and Coalition memberships are the primary ways we further this programmatic area.
Resources and Education
We provide educational materials and host events on the social and economic justice movement and being lawyers for change. We conduct CLEs and Student Retreats to educate our membership on being effective lawyers and advocates for the movement. Our popular Lawyer’s Guild radio show on KPFK disseminates information of the movement to the general public.
Observing and Protecting
This is where we put our skills as lawyers to work, either on individual cases or in arenas where people are not usually represented, like observing protest actions and immigration proceedings. Our Homeless Citation Clinic and Street Vendor Citation Clinic are special projects of this area.
Connecting lawyers and legal workers for change
A major purpose of the guild is creating an association of like-minded committed lawyers and legal workers, and to promote the interests of the group in serving the movement. We encourage our membership to join a Guild committee or join our legal observer team, we host special events such as our Annual Dinner, Winter Awards Dinner, and Student Mixer to encourage the active networking of our membership. We also support student law school chapters.