National Lawyers Guild


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

NLG'S aim is to bring together all those who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers and minority groups, 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 NYU chapter seeks to build community on the NYU campus, create opportunities for networking between progressive and radical law students and lawyers, and champion progressive and radical causes at NYU, in New York City, and beyond. We work extensively with NLG chapters at other area law schools as well as the NYC chapter.

Current Activities


Again in 2015, NYU joined National Lawyers Guild chapters from Brooklyn Law School, Columbia, Cardozo, CUNY, and New York Law School to organize a day long “DisOrientation” conference for law students from NYC schools. Nearly 100 students participated in workshops and panels. DisOrientation gives law students a way to create and strengthen ties to those at other law schools, as well as with local practitioners.

This year's DisOrientation event took place in Vanderbilt Hall on September 26, 2015.

Rebellious Lawyering Conference

Each year, NYU NLG sends members to Yale Law's annual, student-run conference that features law students, community advocates and legal practitioners. Together, they discuss progressive and innovative approaches to social change and the law.

This year’s conference will be held on Friday, February 19, and Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Legal Observers Training

Coordinator: Malcolm Kim

NLG Legal Observers attend protests and demonstrations as part of a system of legal support designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. You can find them wearing green NLG hats throughout varied and frequent citywide protests and events.

If you missed the training at DisOrientation this year, there will be an upcoming opportunity to be trained as a Legal Observer in October 2015. Please contact Malcolm with any questions.

Integrative Law Movement

Integrative law is a multi-disciplinary global movement that, through practice, policy, and education, seeks to transform the legal system to better reach its basic goals by recognizing it as an interconnected system of human beings. There are many related resources online. Above is a link to one introduction. Please contact Jacqueline with any questions.

Know your Rights and Street Law Training

Events will be announced.

Environmental Justice

In the wake of the People's Climate March last year, NLG students and attorneys are helping to build an international movement to meet the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. International coordination will be needed, at this year's 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris and beyond, on transformative approaches to energy, economic growth, and international security. Our actions must also prioritize equity for the disproportionately affected, such as people of color and/or in low-income communities, coastal and island nations, and refugees. We collaborate with local groups such as the People's Climate MovementGrassroots Alliance (meets 1st Monday of the month), NYC Safe Energy Campaign (meets 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month), Citizens' Climate Lobby, and fossil fuel divestment campaigns including NYU's.

Past Activities

National Immigration Project

In 2006, NYC-area law students organized the Immigration Court Observation Project (ICOP), an initiative to attend immigration proceedings, document observations, and identify lapses in due process. Hundreds of law students have observed over a thousand hearings and produced findings which the NLG analyzed and compiled into a biannual report, distributed to local and national immigration advocacy groups and administrators. In recent years, as courts have become further burdened by an influx of cases, the need to ensure due process and human rights has increased. At NYU, we are now focusing our efforts on this issue through the Immigrant Rights Project.