80 years of meaningful social change in the Bay Area.
Dedicated to the principle that human and civil rights are more sacred than property rights, the National Lawyers Guild seeks to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective political and social force to protect and defend communities, social justice movements, and political and grassroots organizations and activists advocating and organizing for those rights.
For over 80 years, the National Lawyers Guild has served as the legal arm of movements leading the fight for meaningful social change in the United States. As a progressive and leftist legal organization, the NLG has represented and defended activists in the courtrooms and on the streets.
In these highly charged political times, the work of the Guild has never been more urgent. From attacks on our most marginalized communities to an escalating effort to suppress dissent, the need for progressive resistance – and protections for those who choose to resist – is dire.
The San Francisco / Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLGSF) has met this need for the past 50 years. Our chapter has played a significant role in supporting the resurgence of social movements demanding racial and economic justice in the Bay Area. With a membership of over 700 progressive law students, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers and attorneys, NLGSF is the largest NLG chapter in the country.
If you would like NLGSF to endorse your action or campaign, please email Jay Kim, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NLGSF Chapter Specifics
Jay Kim joined NLGSF in January 2018 with over ten years of community lawyering experience. As a Co-Founder and Co-Director of Common Law, a non-profit organization in New York City that supported community organizing efforts through legal education and legal assistance, Jay helped grow a volunteer-run start-up to a fully funded organization with innovative programming. For over seven years, Jay defended organized street vendors against excessive fines and administrative violations; represented low-income tenants in the Lower East Side fighting eviction and gentrification; and also created a foreclosure defense legal clinic for pro se homeowners. Employing a combination of direct representation, strategic direct action support, and intensive political and legal education, Jay developed a robust model for community lawyering with grassroots partners. This model not only achieved favorable results for individuals but also built community power for member-based organizations of color.
Jay was also a founding member of O4O, a city-wide organizing effort to actualize the human right to housing through direct action. With O4O and Common Law, she organized several large-scale actions, including eviction blockades for tenants facing eviction and foreclosure auction blockades inside New York State Supreme Court. In addition to her time with O4O and Common Law, Jay was an active organizing member of Nodutdol, a membership based organization comprised of progressive Korean Americans working to build solidarity between Koreans and the struggles of other people of color as part of a larger movement for self-determination and liberation.
Prior to joining NLGSF, Jay was a Supervising Attorney and Clinical Instructor at DC Law Students in Court. She supervised and taught trial advocacy skills to a new generation of law students to provide high quality legal services to low-income Washingtonians.
Jay received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and is a proud alum of CUNY School of Law. She is admitted to the bar in New York and Washington, D.C
Charlene Khoo joined NLGSF in 2018 with extensive experience as an organizer with Critical Resistance and Asians4BlackLives, fighting for racial justice, gender justice and the abolition of the prison industrial complex. She has a background in non-profit administration and fundraising and has worked at organizations including the Oakland Museum of California, the San Francisco SPCA and San Francisco State University.
Charlene previously worked in the anti-violence field as a case manager and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and trafficking. She received an MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University.
Pronouns: She/Her or They/Them
Phone: 415-285-5067 Ext. 102
Marcelena joins NLGSF with experience in membership led organizations and is most interested in data analysis as it pertains to organizational assessment and strategy. Their work is motivated by their values of equity, access, and liberation for marginalized people.
Outside of NLGSF, Marcelena works toward building alternatives to incarceration through transformative justice and organizing to abolish the prison industrial complex.
Marcelena is a recent graduate and received their MPP from Mills College.
Law 4 the People Intern
I was born and raised in the Bay Area and am currently an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco. I am pursuing a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in philosophy. When I am not pursuing social activism, I am a tutor with America Reads at a local elementary afterschool program in the Fillmore. In my free time, I spend my time with organizations on campus such as the USF Dons Band, Delta Delta Delta sorority, and Latinas Unidas. More than anything, I really love and identify with NLGSF’s law-oriented social activism and aspire to one day join the guild as a lawyer.
Are you a community activist?
Get support for your action through NLGSF!
NLGSF provides legal support for demonstrations and direct actions organized by progressive groups who oppose racism, sexism, classism, fascism, heteropatriarchy and transphobia.
Judith Mirkinson – President
Sara Kershnar – Vice President
Rachel Gendell – Treasurer
Cat Brooks – Secretary
Sam Hamilton – Law School VP
Karen Jo Koonan