Our committees work to support social & community justice.
Bay Area Military Law Panel
The National Lawyers Guild opposes aggressive and interventionist military policies, as well as abusive treatment of service members and veterans. The NLGSF Bay Area Military Law Panel is the local working group of the Military Law Task Force. The Bay Area Military Panel is for lawyers, law students, legal workers and “Barracks Lawyers’ who are interested in draft, military and veterans’ issues. Committee members staff the GI Rights Hotline, provide individual representation to GI’s and veterans, and collaborate on challenges to oppressive military policies.
The Demonstrations Committee is a network of lawyers, legal workers and law students who provide legal support for political activists, protesters and movements for social justice. NLGSF provides legal support for demonstrations and direct actions organized by progressive groups who oppose racism, sexism, classism, fascism, heteropatriarchy and transphobia. We understand that legal support is critical in the planning and aftermath of any action. We seek to partner with organizing groups to ensure that action participants’ legal needs are addressed.
NLGSF can provide the following types of Legal Support: legal education/training, legal observation during actions, operating legal hotline during hotline and until arrestees are out of custody, tracking arrestees through the legal system and providing legal component post-action.
Doris Brin Walker Legislative Reform Committee
The Legislative Reform Committee participates in many Bar related activities throughout the year. Most importantly, the Committee drafts and initiates progressive resolutions on behalf of NLGSF for consideration and debate among delegates to the annual State Bar Convention. The Conference of California Bar Associations then helps resolutions approved at the State Bar Convention become law through its Legislative Program.
Through this process, the Committee has drafted and helped pass a variety of progressive California-wide legislation, including the decriminalization of marijuana and ending the solitary confinement of juveniles.
This year, the Committee has submitted five resolutions to the State Bar Convention, which will be held in September in San Diego, CA, advocating for the following positions:
–Increased funding for Community Boards
–Compensation to families of unarmed persons killed by police
–Increased reporting requirements for use of Tasers by law enforcement
–Limiting ICE actions in public schools or state buildings to persons with warrants
–Prohibiting local government acquisition of surplus military equipment without public approval
The Committee is named after late radical lawyer Doris Brin Walker, who was the first female President of the National Lawyers Guild and helped clear activist Angela Davis of murder and kidnapping charges in the 1970’s.
NLGSF opposes efforts to detain and deport people based on their status as migrants and immigrants and works to improve the laws and policies that affect immigrant communities. The NLGSF Immigration Committee is comprised of attorneys, students, and legal workers who work together to provide Know Your Rights (KYR) trainings, train community members to lead KYR trainings and engage in rapid response work. The Committee’s listserv of over 200 members also provides a space for practitioners to keep updated on changes to the law and policy, seek practice advice from other immigration attorneys and legal workers, and to support communities and organizations fighting mass deportation and the criminalization of immigrants.
Know Your Rights Trainings
Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP)
The Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP) trains law students and other volunteers to attend and observe detained immigration court bond and master calendar hearings and to document violations of immigrants’ due process rights. Observation is particularly needed now because many of the judges in San Francisco Immigration Court are recent appointees. Although immigration court hearings are open to the public, few people attend to observe these proceedings. There is no right to public counsel in immigration court with limited exceptions and, therefore, only 15% of immigrants in detention are represented by attorneys. This means that the vast majority of immigrants have no choice but to go up against the Department of Homeland Security attorneys on their own. By maintaining a constant presence in San Francisco Immigration Court, ICOP keeps pressure on judges to hold them accountable, helps make court hearings more transparent and identifies any needs and trends in immigration court that impact immigrants’ due process rights.
Ready to start volunteering as an immigration court observer?
Volunteering as an observer starts with requesting a training from us. Trainings include an overview of immigration court proceedings and deportation/removal process, as well as important things to note while observing. Once trained, volunteers can immediately start attending immigration court hearings and submitting observation data.
If you’re part of a group or organization that would like to start sending observer teams to San Francisco court hearings, request a training to get started. Volunteers must commit to a minimum of weekly 3 hour observations, for 6-8 consecutive weeks.
Current ICOP observers
Remember to submit one observation sheet per individual observed.
NLGSF People of Color Caucus
The People of Color Caucus is an alliance of law students, legal workers and attorneys of color within the NLG community. Members of POC Caucus engage in collective struggle around what it means to be people of color in a field that continues to be dominated by white practitioners. The national People of Color Caucus was formed in 2005 to help ensure that the anti-racism values of the Guild were actualized in the day to day workings of the organization. POC Caucus is open to all members of the NLG community who self-identify as people of color.
Become a Mentor / Become a Mentee
Attorney Mentor Match Program
The Mentor Match Program pairs new lawyers and law students seeking guidance with Guild attorney mentors looking to share their experiences and knowledge with those newer to the profession.
For Mentees: NLGSF members who are law students and recent law school graduates are eligible to be matched with a Guild mentor mentor. If you are interested in being matched with a Guild mentor, click here.
For Mentors: Guild mentors make themselves available to their mentees for regular contact by phone or email and agree to meet with their mentees in person at least twice/year. If you are interested in becoming a Guild mentor, click here
The Finance Committee oversees the Chapter’s financial state of affairs, including the budget and fundraising efforts.
Testimonial Dinner Committee
The Testimonial Dinner Committee helps plan and execute our annual fundraiser, including identifying honorees, outreach for the event and event logistics.
Former Committees on Hiatus
No Police & Prisons Committee