Mass Defense Committee

If you were arrested in any social justice protests in the Los Angeles area and are in need of legal representation AND/OR you witnessed the use of excessive force, protesters getting injured, issues surrounding the length or type of confinement/detainment, etc., while participating in a social justice protest, please fill out the following form: The NLG-LA Mass Defense Committee will evaluate the information submitted through this form to determine whether its volunteer attorneys can help you. 

What is the Mass Defense Committee? 

On June 1, 2020, in response to the mass arrest of protestors participating in George Floyd Solidarity Protests across Los Angeles County, the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles launched the Mass Defense Committee (“MDC”) as a means to recruit volunteer lawyers to provide pro bono criminal defense representation to arrested protestors. Since its launch, the MDC’s advocacy efforts have expanded beyond coordinating pro bono representation for protestors to include: 

1) Non-Filing Campaigns: The MDC organized Non-Filing Campaigns targeting prosecuting agencies across Los Angeles County—the LA County District Attorney and the individual City Attorneys—to demand “no filings, no conditions” for all protesters arrested for low-level offenses. These Non-Filing Campaigns have largely succeeded in sparing thousands of protesters across Los Angeles from criminal prosecution

2) Movement Advocacy: The MDC organized its members to support a variety of movement efforts in the streets and through online mobilization on behalf of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Students Deserve. The MDC stands in solidarity with organizers, activists, and movement partners working to dismantle racist and oppressive systems. We will continue to provide legal support, through a movement lawyering framework, in service of our organizing partners and movements for social, racial, and economic justice. 

The MDC can provide support at three critical stages

Before an action:

Through our Know Your Rights (KYR) Training program, members of the MDC conduct trainings for activists, organizers, and movement partners to inform them of their constitutional rights when protesting and provide information on important legal consequences to be aware of before, during, and after an action. To request a KYR training please email with the subject line: “Requesting a KYR Training.” If you are an attorney, legal worker, or law student interested in volunteering with the MDC to help provide KYR trainings for our movement partners, please fill out the following form:

During an action:

For protests and actions, the NLG-LA Legal Observer Program provides volunteer legal observers at demonstrations to observe and document potentially unlawful or unjustified interference with demonstrators’ rights by law enforcement. Check out the Legal Observing Program under the Resources tab for additional information. 

After an action:

The Mass Defense Committee (MDC) is here to help people navigate the legal process post-arrest, support with arrest-related issues, and leverage the political and legal power of its volunteer attorney network to push for the non filing of charges against arrested protestors. Additionally, the MDC also coordinates pro bono criminal defense representation on a case-by-case basis, based on the facts and circumstances surrounding a protest related arrest. Because our network is made up entirely of volunteer attorneys, we cannot guarantee individual legal representation for arrestees. Lastly, the MDC works in collaboration with Jail Support services to provide support for protestors placed in jail custody after an arrest.