Non-profit

National Lawyers Guild

This is a logo for National Lawyers Guild. (link)
Website:

www.nlg.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-5606408

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $636,446
Expenses: $664,891
Assets: $390,907

The National Lawyers Guild is a radical-left association of attorneys, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers. Founded from late 1936 to early 1937, the Guild has consistently been identified with radical-left groups and political orientations throughout its history.

In its early years the National Lawyers Guild was significantly influenced by communist members, which quickly led to the resignation of most of its non-communist liberal members. The FBI extensively investigated the group, sometimes using illegal methods, and in 1950 the U.S. House Un-American Activities Committee released a report calling it “the foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party, its front organizations, and controlled unions.” [1]

During the 1960s and 1970s the National Lawyers Guild supported the Civil Rights Movement, and soon after became dominated by a younger membership that was broadly associated with the New Left. It began focusing much of its work on protest support. A few of the organization’s members were affiliated with extremist groups like the Weather Underground. Though there were internal disputes, most members continued to adhere to some form of far-left political orientation.

Today, the National Lawyers Guild is best known for the legal support and training that it provides to left-wing demonstrators. It was active in providing assistance during the protests and riots that occurred in multiple American cities in 2020, largely related to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is also notable for supporting the sometimes-violent Antifa movement. [2]

The National Lawyers Guild is affiliated with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called the National Lawyers Guild Foundation, which provides grants to its national office and to several local chapters. As of 2020, it claimed over 9,000 members.

Origins and Early Years: 1937-1947

What became the National Lawyers Guild (the “NLG” or the “Guild”) had its origins at a meeting of approximately 25 lawyers on December 1, 1936. It was conceived as an alternative to the then-conservative American Bar Association, and was intended to serve as a professional association of left-wing attorneys who supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and the priorities of organized labor. Maurice Sugar, a Detroit-based lawyer who would later become general counsel to the United Auto Workers labor union, had been campaigning for such an association for several years and was instrumental in bringing the idea to fruition. [3]

The NLG’s initial members represented a multi-ideological coalition of the American left. Notable early leaders included American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) counsel Morris Ernst and future Supreme Court justices Abe Fortas and Robert H. Jackson. [4] President Roosevelt knew a number of the Guild’s founding members personally, and sent a letter of congratulations to its founding convention. [5] Indeed, Ernst had reportedly intended for the NLG to function essentially “as the legal arm of the New Deal,” [6] and many of its founding members were active in the labor movement. [7]

Communist Influence and the Liberal Exodus

From the beginning, the NLG attracted many communist members whose politics were far more radical than those of the New Deal liberals. [8] Historian Ellen Schrecker has written that the NLG during this era was “allied with, but not actually run by, the Communist party.” Still, a number of prominent early leaders within the Guild were indeed communists, including labor attorneys Lee Pressman, Maurice Sugar, and Nathan Witt. [9]

In September 1939, general secretary of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) Earl Browder testified before a Congressional committee that while there were “no relations” between the CPUSA and the NLG at that time, the communists viewed the Guild as one of many “transmission belts” for “having Communists work among the masses in the various organizations.” [10]

Conflicts between the Roosevelt-aligned liberals and the communist radicals rapidly fractured the NLG. In early 1939, Ernst proposed an amendment to the Guild’s constitution that would have formalized the group’s opposition “to dictatorship of any kind, whether Left or Right, whether Fascist, Nazi, or Communistic.” [11] The resolution was not adopted, and NLG leadership “tried instead to paper over the conflict,” according to Schrecker. [12] Tensions only grew after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact — a non-aggression treaty containing secret protocols dividing Eastern Europe between the Soviets and Nazis — was concluded between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany later that year.

Ernst and other liberals attempted to remove communists and their allies from the NLG’s national board, but were unsuccessful. [13] Most of the Guild’s prominent liberal members, including Ernst, had resigned from the organization by mid-1940. [14] Membership dropped from over 4,000 to approximately 1,000 by the time the NLG held its convention that year, and when the newly-elected president and executive secretary traveled to the group’s Washington, D.C. office “they literally had to step over a mailbag full of resignations to enter.” [15]

One prominent liberal who resigned, then-Assistant Secretary of State Adolf A. Berle, Jr., explained his reasoning:

The National Lawyers Guild was formed in the hope that expression might be given to the liberal sentiment in the American bar.

It is now obvious that the present management of the guild is not prepared to take any stand which conflicts with the Communist Party line. Under these circumstances, and in company, I think, with the most progressive lawyers, I have no further interest in it.” [16]

World War II

While the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was in force from August 1939 to June 1941, the CPUSA followed instructions from Moscow to portray the war between Nazi Germany and the western democratic Allies as an imperialist war in which the United States should remain neutral. Communist publications began equating the supposed evils of Great Britain with those of Nazi Germany, even going so far as to call Great Britain “the greatest danger to Europe and all mankind.” [17]

According to information published in a report by the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities, NLG leaders including Samuel M. Blinken, Leo Linder, Edward Lamb, Pearl M. Hart, Abraham Isserman, Maurice Sugar, and Martin Popper all attended the Emergency Peace Mobilization held in Chicago in September 1940, which led to the formation of the American Peace Mobilization (APM). [18]

The APM vigorously opposed American aid to Great Britain, such as the Lend-Lease Act. [19] In a statement from March 1941, the APM reportedly declared that “an English victory will result in the same sort of imperialist, anti-democratic peace as will a Nazi victory.” A later report by the House Committee on Un-American Activities called the APM “one of the most notorious and blatantly Communist fronts ever organized in this country.” [20]

Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Poland in September 1939, setting off World War II in Europe; a Soviet invasion of eastern Poland followed weeks later. By mid-1941, Germany had invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece. The Soviet Union had invaded Finland (which prompted a belatedly announced resolution of opposition from the NLG prior to the mass resignation of its liberal members), Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. [21]

After Germany unilaterally terminated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, however, the war “ceased being imperialistic” in the eyes of American communists. The NLG likewise adopted an interventionist foreign policy. In October 1941 — notably, before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent German declaration of war on the United States — the Guild approved an unambiguously pro-war resolution:

The National Lawyers Guild accordingly gives its unlimited support to all measures necessary to the defeat of Hitlerism and to the present Roosevelt policy of ‘all out aid’ to and full collaboration with Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and other nations resisting Fascist aggression and to all further steps necessary for the military defeat of Hitlerism.” [22]

The NLG was thereafter supportive of the Allied war effort, though it also continued to advocate for left-wing domestic social policies. In 1942, the Guild’s national executive board adopted a statement urging the western Allies to quickly open a second front in Europe in order to relieve the pressure that German armed forces were putting on the Soviet Union. [23] In 1944, it produced a report on strategies for prosecuting Nazi war criminals, including anticipating and rebutting arguments that certain defendants would likely make, and in 1946 several NLG lawyers were involved in the Nuremburg Trials. [24]

The Postwar Years and Taft-Hartley

Membership growth during the war had been steady, and by early 1947 the Guild had approximately 2,500 member lawyers and 500 affiliated law students. At its 1946 national convention, the NLG’s social legislation committee produced a platform entitled “Program of Basic Protection for the American People,” which set forth a series of proposals on full employment, rent control, housing, and social security. [25]

The NLG argued against many of the foreign policy positions taken by the United States during the early years of the Cold War. It opposed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Marshall Plan to provide redevelopment aid to postwar Western Europe, and the Truman Doctrine of containing the expansion of international communism. [26] The Guild advocated for close cooperative relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Second World War. [27]

The NLG vigorously opposed the Taft-Hartley Act enacted in 1947, with the chair of the NLG’s labor law committee testifying against it. In the Guild’s view, Taft-Hartley “instantly erased” many of the advantages organized labor had enjoyed over the previous 15 years. One provision of the act required union officers to sign affidavits that they were not communists; according to an official history of the Guild, “[a]s a direct result of Taft-Hartley, the labor movement soon ‘purged’ itself of radical leadership.” NLG attorneys at major unions like the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the United Automobile Workers, and the National Maritime Union lost their jobs. [28]

The Second Red Scare: 1947-1960

The years following the Second World War were characterized by markedly heightened anti-communist sentiments and fear in the United States, as the Soviet Union took control of its “satellite” states in Eastern Europe, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces took control of mainland China, and Communist North Korea invaded anti-communist South Korea. This is often simply called “McCarthyism,” after the most visible Congressional proponent of anti-communist investigations, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI). The period is sometimes referred to as the “Second Red Scare,” with the “First Red Scare” having occurred in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the First World War.

In 1947 President Truman signed Executive Order 9835, which established a program for investigating the loyalty of federal employees. This included examination of any affiliation with groups designated by the Attorney General as “totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive.” [29] The National Lawyers Guild saw Executive Order 9835 as “outrageous” and designed “to control the thoughts and limit the freedom of association of all employees in government, including attorneys.” [30]

Representation of Communists

The willingness of Guild members to represent communists in several high-profile investigations and prosecutions during the late 1940s and early 1950s, combined with strong anti-communist sentiments in Congress and among the public, drew considerable attention to the National Lawyers Guild. Perhaps the most famous case was that of Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were represented by NLG members. [31]

In late 1947, ten Hollywood film writers refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC),and were cited for contempt. Historians Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes wrote that most of these “Hollywood Ten” were indeed secret communists, but they refused to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and simply declined to answer the committee’s questions. [32] The Hollywood Ten were represented by NLG attorneys Ben Margolis, Charles Katz, Robert Kenny, Martin Popper, and Bartley Crum; all ten were ultimately imprisoned. [33]

From 1948 to 1949, eleven CPUSA leaders were indicted and tried under the Smith Act, which criminalized advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government. All were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to five years. [34] Five NLG attorneys who represented the defendants—George W. Crockett, Harry Sacher, Abraham Isserman, Richard Gladstein, and Louis McCabe—were cited for contempt after the trial, and also imprisoned for a time. [35]

FBI and Congressional Investigations

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began surveilling the NLG as early as 1940 and would continue to do so until 1975. [36]

According to historian Ellen Schrecker, the FBI illegally entered the Guild’s Washington, D.C. office at least fourteen times between 1947 and 1951. [37] In a 1989 lawsuit settlement, the FBI admitted that “it appears more likely than not” that a number of unauthorized break-ins occurred, that agents copied organizational records while inside, and that they wiretapped the NLG’s headquarters office phone without a warrant. [38] The FBI ultimately turned over approximately 400,000 pages of information it had collected on the NLG as part of that litigation. [39]

Judith Coplon, an employee at the U.S. Department of Justice, was arrested in 1949 and charged with espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union. Though the evidence against her was strong and she was found guilty, her convictions were overturned on appeal due to the illegal investigative methods employed by the FBI. [40]

The NLG analyzed material that was released through the Coplon trial, and eventually concluded that “the FBI may commit more federal crimes than it ever detects.” A Guild report on the FBI’s activities and methods had almost no impact, however, due to the almost simultaneous announcement of a HUAC investigation of the NLG as an alleged communist front organization. [41]

This was not the first time HUAC had looked at the NLG. In September 1939, the committee had asked CPUSA general secretary Earl Browder about the Guild and the nature of its relationship to the Communist Party. [42]  A 1944 committee report appendix, detailing information on alleged communist front organizations, described the NLG as a “highly deceptive Communist-operated front organization, primarily intended to serve the interests of the Communist Party of the United States, through its activities among the legal profession.” [43]

In September 1950, the committee released its “Report on the National Lawyers Guild: Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party.” It charged the NLG with being “an arm of the international Communist conspiracy,” and recommended that the Department of Justice list it as a subversive organization. The committee expressed its view that the NLG’s “attacks on the [FBI] are part of an over-all Communist strategy aimed at weakening our Nation’s defenses against the international Communist conspiracy.” It also suggested that the American Bar Association consider whether NLG membership “is compatible with admissibility to the American bar.” [44]

Though attempts were made to do so, the NLG was ultimately never listed as subversive. In a speech at the national convention of the American Bar Association in August 1953, Eisenhower administration Attorney General Herbert Brownell stated he intended to list the group. Five years of protracted litigation followed, and in 1958 the Justice Department ultimately decided not to list the NLG as subversive. It made the same determination again in 1974. [45] [46]

Membership in the NLG dropped precipitously during the 1950s. Numerous guild members resigned “within days” of the publication of HUAC’s report. An official history of the guild puts total membership in 1955 at 500, [47] while historian Guenter Lewy gave a figure of about 600 for 1956. [48] According to the NLG, the organization’s efforts during the 1950s were largely directed at defending “itself against HUAC, the Justice Department, Senator McCarthy and other forces of Cold War.” [49]

“Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?’

The Guild was indirectly involved in a famous verbal exchange that is sometimes given as heralding the decline of “McCarthyism.” While publicly questioning United States Army special counsel Joseph N. Welch at a hearing in June 1954, Senator McCarthy announced that a member of “the legal arm of the Communist Party” — a reference to the NLG — was employed as an attorney at Welch’s law firm. The lawyer, Frederick Fisher, had briefly been a member of the NLG during law school, and this prior association had led Welch to remove him from the firm’s work representing the Army at the McCarthy hearings. [50]

Welch replied that “until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness,” defended Fisher, and implored McCarthy to “not assassinate this lad further.” He then asked McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? [51] Public opinion was reported to be decidedly in Fisher’s favor, [52] and it was rapidly turning against McCarthy, who was censured by the Senate later that year and never recovered politically. [53]

The Civil Rights Movement and the New Left: 1960-1973

The National Lawyers Guild was the first racially-integrated national bar association in the United States, and actively opposed military segregation during World War II. [54] A number of notable civil rights attorneys, including future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, were Guild members. [55] John Conyers and George Crockett, both of whom would later represent Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives, were also active in the NLG’s civil rights work in the early 1960s. [56]

In 1962 the NLG created the Committee to Assist Southern Lawyers (later renamed the Committee for Legal Assistance to the South), in order to provide legal support to the civil rights movement in the Southern United States. All Guild members were asked to provide unpaid assistance to southern attorneys if it were requested of them. At a special convention held in February 1964, the NLG voted to make civil rights work in the South its primary mission. [57]

NLG members were active in the 1964 Freedom Summer project, which sought to promote voter registration among Mississippi’s largely disenfranchised black population. Seventy volunteers, including four NLG board members, signed up to provide assistance to the project through handling civil rights cases. Ultimately, the Committee for Legal Assistance to the South handled 45 cases and represented 315 defendants over the course of the Freedom Summer project. [58] NLG members were also instrumental in founding the Center for Constitutional Rights in 1966. [59]

The New Left and Protest Support

Due in no small part to its civil rights work in the South, NLG membership began to grow beginning in 1966. [60] Most new members were young, and many were associated with the New Left movement and the radical group Students for a Democratic Society. [61] Historian Harvey Klehr wrote that “by 1967, [the NLG] had become the legal arm of the New Left and was intimately involved in radical activities.” [62] At the Guild’s 1968 convention, it adopted a resolution declaring itself to be “the legal arm of the movement.” [63]

This period of growth coincided with, and was related to, a sharp escalation in American involvement in the Vietnam War. At its 1965 convention the NLG passed a resolution opposing the war and offering legal assistance to any who objected to participating in it. By 1967, the Guild “was concentrating much of its effort on selective service and military law.” [64] It eventually opened offices in the Philippines, Japan, and Okinawa for the purpose of providing free legal counsel to military servicemembers who opposed the war. [65] Attorney Michael Ratner remembered how the NLG was unique in the way “it not only defended people opposed to the war, it condemned the war and stood in solidarity with the Vietnamese people.” [66]

Domestic protests also became a focal point for Guild activities, and its offices ultimately provided advice and representation to thousands of arrested protesters during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The NLG’s New York City chapter defended many of the student demonstrators at the Columbia University protests of 1968. [67] The defendants in the Chicago Seven trial of 1969, which stemmed from protests and riots that had taken place during the Democratic National Convention the year before, were represented by NLG attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. [68]

A team of NLG attorneys traveled to New York in order to represent inmates who were being prosecuted for their roles in the Attica prison riot of 1971, which had resulted in the deaths of 43 people. Many Guild attorneys were also involved with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense-Offense Committee, established to support the American Indian protesters who occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota for more than two months in 1973. [69]

The NLG’s Mass Defense program, which today constitutes a significant portion of its work, has its origins during this period. According to the NLG, beginning in 1966 the Black Panther Party engaged in armed patrols, later known as “copwatch,” to monitor the behavior of the Oakland Police Department in California. Reacting to the 1968 Columbia University protests, the Guild drew upon this practice to develop its Legal Observer program, training volunteers to monitor law enforcement actions at protests and to support arrested demonstrators. [70]

According to Klehr, prominent NLG attorney William Kunstler wrote in 1975 that “the thing I’m most interested in is keeping people on the street who will forever alter the character of this society: the revolutionaries.” [71]

The Weather Underground and Other Extremists

At the NLG’s 1967 convention in New York, Bernardine Dohrn was elected as student organizer, [72] and at its February 1970 national convention she led a panel discussion on women and the NLG. [73] Dohrn had been elected as the “inter-organizational secretary” of Students for a Democratic Society in 1968, but by the time she spoke at the NLG’s convention in early 1970 she was serving as one of the leaders of a violent extremist offshoot of the group called the Weather Underground (also known as the Weathermen). [74]

Dohrn was placed on the FBI’s list of ten “Most Wanted” fugitives in October 1970, but was removed three years later after federal proceedings against her were dismissed. [75] By 1975, the Weather Underground claimed to have conducted at least 25 bombings. [76] Though the group ultimately pivoted to a strategy of non-lethal bombings, according to journalist Bryan Burrough in his 2015 book Days of Rage, the first two and a half months of 1970 was “the period, bluntly put, when Weatherman set out to kill people.” [77] Although no murders have been tied to the Weather Underground bombings, a police officer was severely wounded in a February 1970 detonation. [78]

While most NLG members were not involved in violent groups or activities, Dohrn was not the only one who was. Weather Underground member Russell Neufeld was an editor of the NLG’s Midnight Special prison newspaper. Judith Alice Clark, who served 37 years in prison before being granted parole in 2019 for her role in the deadly 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery perpetrated by members of the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground offshoot May 19th Communist Organization, also worked with the NLG. [79] [80]

Some NLG members functioned as a critical source of funds for the Weather Underground. According to Burrough, a group of radical attorneys in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were “by far the most important single source of money” for the Weathermen. Almost all of these lawyers belonged to the NLG. One of them told Burrough that “you gotta understand, honey, we were lawyers, but we were revolutionaries in our hearts…we would’ve done anything for these people…This was the revolution, baby, and they were the fighters.” [81]

Though Burrough wrote that approximately a dozen attorneys were mentioned as key Weather Underground supporters, only a few acknowledged it. Dennis Cunningham was one, admitting that “I gave them money, sure, and I raised even more.” Michael Kennedy, a member of the NLG’s San Francisco and New York City chapters, [82] was “by far the most important attorney in Weatherman’s support network,” according to Burrough. [83] Kennedy was close friends with Bernardine Dohrn, and also with NLG attorney Leonard Boudin, [84] who was the father of Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin and grandfather of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. [85]

Guild attorney Charles Garry represented Black Panther Party co-founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton during the late 1960s, including defending Newton against murder charges related to the killing of a police officer. [86] Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, but that conviction was later overturned on appeal, and two subsequent trials ended with hung juries. [87]

In 1977, Garry became counsel to cult leader Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple. [88] Garry visited the cult’s Jonestown camp in Guyana, initially remarking that “I have seen paradise, where there is no sexism, racism, ageism, elitism, no one hungry.” [89] He was present at Jonestown in 1978 during the mass murder-suicide of more than 900 Peoples Temple adherents, narrowly escaping death himself. [90]

The Old Left Versus the New

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the NLG as an organization shifted away from its older longtime members and towards the new young activists. This change was rapid and profound. In 1968, a majority of attendees at the Guild’s national convention were members of the NLG’s founding generation. By early 1971, these older members had become a minority. [91] This trend was accelerated by the admission of law students as full Guild members in 1970, and of legal workers and jailhouse lawyers the following year. [92] During the period from 1968 to 1971, most of the NLG’s members were between the ages of 25 and 40, while its leadership was between 55 and 70. [93]

This caused considerable generational strife. Victor Rabinowitz, NLG president from 1967-1968, remembered that “to many of us, these 25- to 30-year-olds seemed undignified, contentious, noisy, undisciplined. The generational differences were startling and deep.” Still, Rabinowitz argued that “those of us who are Marxists” should welcome the new young members, because “in their emphasis on the freedom of the individual, perhaps the young are looking to the ultimate goal of Communism rather than to the intermediate state of Socialism.” [94]

At the Guild’s 1970 convention, approximately 50 younger members who could not afford the price of the formal dinner being served prior to the evening’s events were forced to wait outside the dining room while the other convention attendees ate. This prompted protests and calls for “future Guild conventions to be conducted in a place and style in conformity with the new membership.” What became known as the “Banquet Dinner Riot” featured scenes of Guild members guarding the banquet hall doors to prevent their hungry comrades from sneaking in to grab plates of food, and attorney William Kunstler burning his dinner ticket as a gesture of solidarity. [95]

There were political conflicts between the two generations as well. The younger members were broadly associated with the New Left, and according to Doris Brin Walker (who became president of the NLG in 1970), they brought with them “Maoist influence, rancor toward the Soviet Union and anger toward the Old Left, which had failed to construct anything approaching a peaceful world or an ideal society.” [96] Disputes among the Guild’s various far-left ideological factions became intense during this time. Nevertheless, there was enough unity on the NLG’s overarching purpose for it to declare in 1971 that “there is no disagreement among us that were are a body of radicals and revolutionaries.” [97]

Many of those from the Old Left generation became less active in the NLG during this time, and by the 1970s the organization’s leadership largely consisted of law students or young lawyers who had only been practicing for a short period of time. A 1987 history of the Guild explains that as a consequence of this there was a scarcity of “mature leadership” in the organization for several years, during which it lost “the accumulated skills and experience of all but a handful of founding members.” [98]

Consolidation and Internationalism: 1973-Present

The year 1973 proved to be pivotal for the National Lawyers Guild and for the consolidation of its radical political ideology. That year’s convention has been described as “the cataclysmic merger of old and new left politics” on the basis of four core principles: anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-capitalism, and anti-imperialism. [99] The 1973 convention also affirmed the Guild’s view that “the main component of the socialist revolution in the United States will be an organized revolutionary working class.” [100]

According to former NLG president Victor Rabinowitz, many older Guild members slowly re-involved themselves with the organization during the 1970s, and by the early 1980s the generational divisions among members had diminished substantially. Writing in 1987, Rabinowitz said that “the difference in outlook and program has vanished” within the NLG. [101]

To historian Guenter Lewy, writing in 1990, the NLG exemplified the “amalgamation of Old and New Left.” He regarded it as “probably the only organization that has survived changes of both membership and leadership from the Depression of the 1930s to the present day and has prospered as a result of those changes.” In Lewy’s view, Marxist-Leninist principles were largely what served to unite the Guild’s Old and New Left factions. [102]

From 1980 to 1987, membership in the NLG grew by about 2,500 to a total of just under 9,000. As of mid-1987, approximately 58 percent of these were lawyers, 28 percent were law students, and 14 percent were jailhouse lawyers and legal workers. Much of the growth during this period was due to NLG chapters established at law schools. [103]

Indeed, the Guild had established a law school of its own. In 1974, it partnered with the Asian Law Collective, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and La Raza National Students Association to found Peoples College of Law, an unaccredited law school originally named “The Guild Law School.” [104] It was soon recognized in the New York Times as being the “only radical law school in the country,” [105] and to this day requires that admitted students “demonstrate a commitment to progressive social change.” [106] The school maintains a close relationship with the Guild’s Los Angeles chapter. [107]

Professor John J. Tierney quotes Guild member Chip Berlet as providing the following characterization of the NLG in 1999:

The cacophony at some [Guild] meetings makes Star Wars seem like a minimalist film. I have chaired committee meetings with debates featuring cadres from Leninist, Trotskyist, Stalinist, and Maoist groups, along with Marxists, anarchists, libertarians, and progressive independents—interacting with a preponderance of reluctant Democrats—all intertwined with multiple alternate identities as lawyers, legal workers, labor organizers, tribal sovereignty activists, civil liberties and civil rights advocates, environmentalists, feminists, gay men and lesbians, and people of color.” [108]

Pro-Soviet Internationalism

The 1970s saw the NLG place increased emphasis on international issues and foreign affairs. What had begun as opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War had transitioned to outright support for the Vietnamese communists by 1973. [109] At the Guild’s 1975 convention — the year Saigon fell to communist forces — NLG president Doron Weinberg expressed the organization’s solidarity with the communist victory. [110] A Guild delegation traveled to Vietnam in 1978, remarking that the country’s policies would “serve as a model for the progressive peoples of the world who have yet to overthrow their oppressors.” [111]

In 1974 the NLG sent a delegation to Cuba, and in 1977 it sent one to the People’s Republic of China. Other delegations traveled to Iran, Guatemala, Southern Africa, Chile, and to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [112]

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) partially financed the Guild’s trip to the Middle East in 1977. Later that year the NLG passed a resolution calling for a sovereign Palestinian state and recognizing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. [113] The NLG had not previously taken an official position on the conflict in the Middle East, and NLG members had supported the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. [114] Historian Harvey Klehr wrote in 1988 that “the Guild’s position has become more extreme over the years,” with a 1985 resolution reportedly declaring that Israel bore sole responsibility for having “thwarted” the peace process. [115]

The NLG’s shifting stance towards Israel broadly tracked that of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had likewise supported the establishment of Israel in 1948, but relations between the two countries were deteriorating by the 1950s “as Israel moved towards a more openly pro-Western position in the Cold War.” [116] In 1967 the Soviet Union severed diplomatic ties with Israel over the Six-Day War, which it described as having been launched with “encouragement by covert and overt actions by certain imperialist circles.” [117] Soviet support for the PLO increased, and by 1974 Moscow was referring to it “as the sole organization expressing the will of the Palestinian Arab people and reviving their national aspirations.” [118]

Though a Maoist caucus that was opposed to the CPUSA and to the Soviet Union was organized in 1977, it never attracted more than about 15 percent of Guild members. NLG leadership was essentially pro-Soviet during this period. Then-president William Goodman explained that “we will not be able to organize into the Guild, and in fact we will lose much of our membership, if we promote slogans of opposing the Soviet Union and opposing the Communist Party.” [119] The NLG also re-affiliated with the Soviet-aligned International Association of Democratic Lawyers in the early 1970s, which it had previously left in 1951. [120]

Historian Guenter Lewy wrote in 1990 that looking back, the NLG’s “concern with the observance of human rights has always stopped at the borders of the Socialist bloc.” In fact, the NLG’s vice president stated in 1978 that the Guild was “not Amnesty International. Its aim is not to ferret out human rights violations wherever they exist. As an anti-imperialist organization, its aim is to aid national liberation struggles.” [121] The NLG declined to send observers to the Soviet Union’s trial of dissident Natan Sharansky in 1978 due to a reluctance among membership to criticize that country’s judicial proceedings. [122]

Opposition to U.S. Foreign Policy and Israel

The Guild “has supported the Cuban Revolution since its triumph on January 1, 1959” and affirms its belief in “the benefits that socialism has brought to all the people of Cuba.” [123] It has called for the full normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and for the return of the American naval installation at Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban government. [124]

The law firm of Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C. was founded by NLG attorneys Victor Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin in 1944, and has represented the interests of the Cuban government in United States-related legal matters since 1960, serving as “Cuba’s only U.S. counsel” since that time. [125]

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the NLG adopted a resolution condemning “such acts of barbarism” and calling for those responsible to be brought to justice. However, it also stated that the policies and practices of the United States government and American corporations were responsible for contributing “to the conditions that create” anti-American sentiments in the Middle East. The Guild demanded that the United States and the United Kingdom immediately stop “illegal” military actions in Afghanistan. [126] In both 2003 [127] and 2007 it called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over the War in Iraq. [128]

The Guild advocates for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and describes the country as “a colonizing project rooted in racist ideology and launched with the violent displacement and ethnic cleansing of its Palestinian indigenous population that continues until this day.” It demands that Israel end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” [129]

In May 2021, the NLG’s International Committee released a statement marking 73 years since “the Zionist settler colonial movement with the support of imperialist powers established the state of Israel.” It demanded that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners and affirmed “the legal right of Palestinians to resist the colonizing power that seeks to annihilate them,” including through armed struggle. It criticized attempts by the United States to facilitate the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and various Arab states as a “project designed to advance Israeli impunity.” [130]

Activities and Positions

The NLG generally espouses a radical-left ideology. Its objective is “to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights and ecosystems over property interests.” The Guild describes itself as anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-racist, and as “dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system.” [131] In a 2015 fundraising appeal, the NLG said to prospective donors: “This holiday season, don’t fund capitalism, fund the groups working to dismantle it.” [132]

Associated Groups

The NLG has student chapters at over 100 American law schools, [133] and operates a Radical Law Student Project with the goal of “changing the practices, pedagogy, and expectations of law school in order to transform the culture of legal education.” [134] The NLG Scholars network consists of dozens of law professors and practicing attorneys who are also Guild members. [135]

The National Police Accountability Project is a separate nonprofit, though on its website it is also identified as a project of the NLG. It promotes policies and legislation that it views as enhancing police accountability. [136]

The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild is another independent nonprofit, though it likewise remains closely associated with the NLG. It specializes in immigrant incarceration and deportation proceedings, including advocacy on behalf of illegal immigrants. [137]

Radical Policy Positions

The NLG describes itself as a political organization, and is broadly antagonistic towards all levels of government in the United States. [138] It has passed resolutions declaring that the federal government “is based on and dedicated to preserving white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy and imperialism,” and claiming that the NLG has “the right and the responsibility to help build a culture of noncooperation and resistance in opposition to the State.” [139]

The NLG supports dismantling and abolishing all institutions “where people are held against their will”—including prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities—and advocates for the “release of prisoners serving life without parole and other inhumane sentences.” [140] In 2020, the Guild passed a resolution calling for “the defunding, dismantling and abolition of all forms of policing,” stating that police accountability was impossible because police are only accountable “to the white supremacist, capitalist, settler colonial state.” [141]

Other policy positions adopted or embraced by the NLG include “non-collaboration with grand juries,” [142] support for extensive abortion rights, [143] divestment from fossil fuels, [144] ending the “illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands” by the United States, [145] and the payment of reparations for slavery by federal, state, and local government entities. [146]

The NLG was highly critical of the Trump administration, which it described as a “fascist” presidency. [147] It organized “critical legal support infrastructure” for protesters against President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, including facilitating jail visits and legal representation for those who were arrested. [148] The NLG later called for prosecutors to drop all charges against more than 200 individuals who were arrested under felony riot laws at the protests. [149]

In an article from December 2017, the NLG’s director of research and education Traci Yoder argued that opposition to the Trump administration needed to be focused not simply on specific political issues, but rather function part of a broader opposition to “the free market, anti-regulatory stance informed by neoliberal economic policies” that his administration had adopted. According to the article, “the role of the Left must be to challenge these policies as well as the neoliberal commonsense that dominates our lives, and which prioritizes the maximizing of individual rights and wealth over collective well-being.” [150]

The Mass Defense Program, through which it provides legal training and support for participants in left-wing movements and protests, is a major part of what the Guild does. This includes training volunteer legal observers to attend demonstrations, monitor and document the activities of law enforcement, and provide support for protesters who are arrested, including connecting them to legal defense and bail funds. The NLG will only provide legal observers for causes “that directly align” with its values. [151]

In 2020, during the wave of protests and riots largely related to the Black Lives Matter movement, the NLG claimed to have helped organize legal representation and attorney referrals for approximately 20,000 arrested protesters. In doing so, it worked closely with the far-left Movement for Black Lives and Law for Black Lives, as well as with the Center for Constitutional Rights. [152] The NLG was highly critical of police response to the widespread unrest, calling it “unwarranted and excessively violent.” [153]

After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in the killing of George Floyd, the NLG released a statement asserting that “policing is an inherently violent, racist institution that cannot be reformed.” [154] In June 2021, the Guild sent a letter to the Biden administration demanding that it drop all federal charges against more than 350 demonstrators who had been arrested over the course of the Black Lives Matter protests, writing that the “prosecutions were intended to stifle dissent and protect white supremacy.” Approximately 90 organizations signed the letter. [155]

Support for Antifa

The NLG is notable for supporting the far-left radical and sometimes violent Antifa (short for anti-fascist) movement. In his 2021 book Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, journalist Andy Ngo describes the Guild as “in effect…the legal arm of Antifa.” [156] According to Ngo, the NLG’s Portland chapter has used its Mass Defense resources to pay the bail of individuals arrested at Antifa-associated riots. [157] The Wall Street Journal has reported on how NLG organizers have discussed protest tactics with self-described Antifa members. [158]

A 2017 article written by the NLG’s director of research and education entitled “Legal Support for Anti-Fascist Action” promised that the Guild “will continue to support anti-fascists and anti-racists in the street and in the courts, and will not be swayed by the argument that hateful, dangerous speech should be tolerated at any cost.” In addition to the NLG, the article identified the Southern Poverty Law Center and Political Research Associates as nonprofits that “have important roles to play in research, analysis, and legal support for anti-fascist movements.” [159]

Officers from the NLG’s San Francisco chapter have also written in support of Antifa, saying in an article entitled “We are all antifa” that portraying it as violent “is a dangerous effort eerily reminiscent of the left-baiting that accompanied the Nazi rise to power.” They promised that “the National Lawyers Guild won’t stand by as fascists and white supremacists seek to take power in the streets and halls of government. We stand in solidarity with all who fight hatred. We will continue to show up, to defend activists who challenge fascism, and we call on all people of conscience to do the same.” [160]

In June 2020, the NLG issued a statement opposing then-President Donald Trump’s call to designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. The Guild’s Mass Defense director stated that doing so was “merely an attempt to criminalize ordinary people who are exercising their right to protest.” [161]

Leadership

The NLG is governed by a National Executive Committee that meets four times a year, and by a smaller Executive Council that makes decisions in between those meetings. [162]

Suzanne Adely is listed as president-elect of the NLG as of January 2022. She is co-director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a labor-union-aligned coalition advocating for increased labor regulations and unionization in the food industry. From 2011 to 2014 she was the United Automobile Workers Global Organizing Institute’s India project coordinator. [163] Adely is a co-founder of the Arab Workers Resource Center, and a member of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, Labor for Palestine, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, and Block the Boat NY/NJ. [164] She is also a member of the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. [165]

Elena L. Cohen was listed as president of the NLG as of January 2022, and also formerly held the position of president of the Guild’s New York City chapter. She is a partner at the law firm of Cohen Green PLLC, and is an adjunct associate professor in the City University of New York system. [166]

Structure and Financials

The NLG operates as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. It lists more than 50 local chapters on its website, some of which also have their own nonprofit tax-exempt statuses. Chapters vary significantly in their size and level of activity. The largest and most active chapters are located in New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Michigan, and Massachusetts. [167] The Guild also has more than 100 student chapters at American law schools. [168]

In its 2020 annual report, the NLG reported 9,419 members, including 2,234 jailhouse lawyers. Membership had remained under about 2,500 from 2005 to 2015, but began to increase significantly in 2016. [169]

In 2018, the NLG reported $636,925 in revenue and $771,050 in expenses. It collected $144,305 in membership dues, $129,465 in convention income, and $343,792 in contributions, gifts and grants. Most of its expenses were for salaries, wages, and other employee benefits, which combined for $433,309 in 2018. [170] Membership dues are requested on a suggested sliding scale basis that ranges from $25 to $800 depending largely upon the member’s income. Membership for jailhouse lawyers is free. [171]

The National Lawyers Guild Foundation (NLG Foundation) is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliated with the NLG. In 2019 it reported total revenue of $726,899 and net assets of $4,468,568, [172] while in 2018 it reported total revenue of $2,513,776 and net assets of $4,485,887. [173]

The NLG Foundation is an important source of revenue for the NLG national office. It provided over $1.05 million in grants to the national NLG from 2017 through 2019. During that same period, the NLG Foundation also made smaller grants to local NLG chapters in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [174] The NLG Foundation also serves as a fiscal sponsor for chapters that do not have their own IRS tax-exempt status. [175]

Major organizational funders of the NLG Foundation include Greater Horizons, which provided $2,935,163 from 2017-2018; the Tides Foundation, which provided $1,030,500 from 2018-2019; the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, which provided $129,775 from 2017-2019; the Schwab Charitable Fund, which provided $133,700 from 2017-2020; and Warsh Mott Legacy, which provided $110,000 from 2016-2018. [176] The CS Fund has provided matching grants to the NLG’s Mass Defense Program. [177]

The NLG is also closely associated with two other separate 501(c)(3) nonprofits. The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild was originally formed as a committee of the NLG in 1971, and became a separate organization in 1981. [178] It reported $1,127,832 in total revenue in 2019. [179] The National Police Accountability Project also has its own tax-exempt status, though as of 2022 it describes itself as a project of the NLG on its website. [180] It reported $217,944 in total revenue in 2019. [181]

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  93. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Page 43. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  94. Guenter Lewy. The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life. Oxford University Press. 1990. Page 284. ^
  95. Guenter Lewy. The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life. Oxford University Press. 1990. Page 284. ^
  96. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Page 47. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  97. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Page 162. ^
  98. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Page 50. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  99. Guenter Lewy. The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life. Oxford University Press. 1990. Page 285. ^
  100. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Page 163. ^
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  103. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Pages 5; 56. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
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  110. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Page 52. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  111. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Page 163. ^
  112. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Page 52. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  113. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Page 164. ^
  114. “Resolution: 2019 NLG Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.” National Lawyers Guild. 2019. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019NLGBDSResolution.pdf ^
  115. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Page 164. ^
  116. Avi Shlaim. “Israel Between East and West, 1948-1956. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 36:4, November 2004, 657-673. Available at: https://users.ox.ac.uk/~ssfc0005/Israel%20between%20East%20and%20West%201948-56.html ^
  117. “Six Communist States Break Off Relations with Israel. – Communist Denunciation of Israel and Support for Arabs. – Rumanian Refusal to Break With Israel.” Keesing’s Record of World Events. Volume 13, June 1967 Soviet Union, Page 22105. Available at: http://web.stanford.edu/group/tomzgroup/pmwiki/uploads/0345-1967-06-KS-c-EYJ.pdf ^
  118.  Richard H. Shultz, Jr. The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Warfare. Hoover Institution Press. 1988. Page 88. ^
  119.  Guenter Lewy. The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life. Oxford University Press. 1990. Page 286-287. ^
  120. Victor Rabinowitz and Tim Ledwith. A History of the National Lawyers Guild: 1937-1987. The National Lawyers Guild Foundation. 1987. Pages 28; 48. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/A-History-of-the-NLG-1937-1987.pdf ^
  121. Guenter Lewy. The Cause That Failed: Communism in American Political Life. Oxford University Press. 1990. Page 286. ^
  122. Harvey Klehr. Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today. Transaction Publishers. 1988. Pages 163-164. ^
  123. “Resolution Supporting the Collection of Accurate Information on the Status of LGBT People in Cuba.” National Lawyers Guild. 2007. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/LGBT-People-in-Cuba-resolution.pdf ^
  124.  “NLG Resolution Calling for Full Normalization of U.S. Cuba Relations.” National Lawyers Guild. 2016. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Resolution-Calling-For-Full-Normalization-of-U.S.-Cuba-Relations_Cuba-Subcommittee.pdf ^
  125. “Practice Areas.” RBSKL. Accessed January 27, 2022. Available at: https://rbskl.com/practice-areas/international-law/ ^
  126. “NLG Resolution on the Current Crisis.” National Lawyers Guild. 2001. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/NLG-Resolution-on-the-2001-Crisis.pdf ^
  127. “RESOLUTION CALLING FOR IMPEACHMENT OF GEORGE W. BUSH, HOLDER OF THE TITLE OF UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, DICK CHENEY, HOLDER OF THE TITLE OF VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND CABINET OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPRESSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, WHICH IS PART OF THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND.” National Lawyers Guild. October 2003. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2003_Impeachment-w-Memo.pdf ^
  128. “Resolution on Impeachment of Bush and Cheney.” National Lawyers Guild. 2007. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Impeachment-resolution.pdf ^
  129. “Resolution: 2019 NLG Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.” National Lawyers Guild. 2019. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019NLGBDSResolution.pdf ^
  130. “National Lawyers Guild stands in solidarity with Palestine, calls for action.” National Lawyers Guild International Committee. May 13, 2021. Available at: https://nlginternational.org/2021/05/national-lawyers-guild-stands-in-solidarity-with-palestine-calls-for-action/ ^
  131. “Our Work.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed January 27, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/our-work/ ^
  132. Pooja Gehi. “Fund the Movement. Remember the NLG on #GivingTuesday!” National Lawyers Guild. December 1, 2015. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/fund-the-movement-remember-the-nlg-on-givingtuesday/ ^
  133. “Student Chapters.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed January 31, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/students/student-chapters/ ^
  134. “Radical Law Student Project.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed January 31, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/radical-law-student-project/ ^
  135. “NLG Scholars.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed January 31, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/nlg-scholars/ ^
  136. “About Us.” National Police Accountability Project. Accessed January 27, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg-npap.org/about-npap-justice/ ^
  137. “Mission and History.” National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. Accessed January 27, 2022. Available at: https://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/mission.html ^
  138. “Emergency Resolution on Movement Lawyering and Collective Defense.” National Lawyers Guild. 2021. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Emergency-Resolution-on-Movement-Lawyering-and-Collective-Defense.pdf ^
  139. “Resolution on Non-Collaboration with Grand Juries.” National Lawyers Guild. 2020. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Resolution-on-Non-Cooperation-Grand-Juries.pdf ^
  140. “Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Prisons.” National Lawyers Guild. 2015. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Resolution-Supporting-the-Abolition-of-Prisons-REV.pdf ^
  141. “NLG Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Policing.” National Lawyers Guild. 2020. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Resolution-Supporting-the-Abolition-of-Policing-REV.pdf ^
  142. “Resolution on Non-Collaboration with Grand Juries.” National Lawyers Guild. 2020. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Resolution-on-Non-Cooperation-Grand-Juries.pdf ^
  143. “Resolution Opposing the Criminalization of People’s Reproductive Lives.” National Lawyers Guild. 2018. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Reproductive-Justice.pdf ^
  144. “Resolution Supporting Divestment from Fossil Fuels.” National Lawyers Guild. 2016. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Resolution-Supporting-Divestment-from-Fossil-Fuels.pdf ^
  145. “Calling Upon the United States of America to Begin to Comply Immediately with International Humanitarian Law in its Long and Illegal Occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.” National Lawyers Guild. 2019. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Hawaiian-Subcommittee-Resolution-Final.pdf ^
  146. “Resolution in Favor of Reparations for Slavery.” National Lawyers Guild. 2019. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Reparations-Resolution.pdf ^
  147. “Power to the People! NLG Responds to 2020 Presidential Election Results.” National Lawyers Guild. November 7, 2020. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/power-to-the-people-nlg-responds-to-2020-presidential-election-results/ ^
  148. “NLG Preparing Legal Support for #J20 Inaugural Protests.” National Lawyers Guild. January 17, 2017. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/nlg-preparing-legal-support-for-j20-inaugural-protests/ ^
  149. “NLG Calls on DC Prosecutors to Drop All Charges Against J20 Demonstrators, Legal Observers and Journalists.” National Lawyers Guild. February 2, 2017. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/nlg-calls-on-dc-prosecutors-to-drop-all-charges-against-j20-demonstrators-legal-observers-and-journalists/ ^
  150. Traci Yoder. “The Dangers of Deregulation Under Trump and Pence.” National Lawyers Guild. December 13, 2017. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/the-dangers-of-deregulation-under-trump-and-pence/ ^
  151. “History of NLG’s Mass Defense Program.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed February 3, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/history-of-nlgs-mass-defense-program/ ^
  152. “National Lawyers Guild 2020 Annual Report.” National Lawyers Guild. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2020-Annual-Report-Web.pdf ^
  153. “NLG Condemns Violent Police Response to Black Lives Matter Protests Nationwide.” National Lawyers Guild. June 1, 2020. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/nlg-condemns-violent-police-response-to-black-lives-matter-protests-nationwide/ ^
  154. “In Response to Chauvin Verdict and Ongoing Police Violence, NLG Continues to Support Calls for Abolition.” National Lawyers Guild. April 21, 2021. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/in-response-to-chauvin-verdict-and-ongoing-police-violence-nlg-continues-to-support-calls-for-abolition/ ^
  155. “90 Organizations and 4600+ Individuals Tell Biden Administration to #DropTheCharges Against BLM Protesters.” National Lawyers Guild. June 7, 2021. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/90-organizations-and-4600-individuals-tell-biden-administration-to-dropthecharges-against-blm-protesters/ ^
  156. Andy Ngo. Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy. Center Street. 2021. Page 59. ^
  157. Andy Ngo. “More Than Two Dozen Antifa Rioters Charged for Portland Mayhem.” The New York Post. January 20, 2022. Available at: https://nypost.com/2021/06/06/more-than-two-dozen-antifa-rioters-charged-for-portland-mayhem/ ^
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  159. Traci Yoder. “Legal Support for Anti-Fascist Action.” National Lawyers Guild. July 10, 2017. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/legal-support-for-anti-fascist-action/ ^
  160. Nina Farnia, Rachel Lederman, and Meredith Wallis. “We Are All Antifa.” San Francisco Chronicle. September 6, 2017. Available at: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/We-are-all-antifa-12174947.php ^
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  170. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). National Lawyers Guild Inc. 2018. ^
  171. “Join or Renew Membership in the National Lawyers Guild.” National Lawyers Guild. Accessed February 1, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/join/ ^
  172. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). National Lawyers Guild Foundation Inc. 2019. ^
  173. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). National Lawyers Guild Foundation Inc. 2018. ^
  174. Author’s calculations based on National Lawyers Guild Foundation IRS Form 990 filings from 2017-2019. ^
  175. “National Lawyers Guild 2020 Annual Report.” National Lawyers Guild. Available at: https://www.nlg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2020-Annual-Report-Web.pdf ^
  176. Author’s calculations based on respective IRS Form 990 filings. ^
  177. “Mass Defense Program.” National Lawyers Guild. February 6, 2021 (accessed via Wayback Machine). Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20210206015429/https://www.nlg.org/massdefenseprogram/ ^
  178. “Mission and History.” National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer Guild. Accessed February 2, 2022. Available at: https://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/mission.html ^
  179. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Inc. 2019. ^
  180. [1] National Police Accountability Project official website. Accessed February 2, 2022. Available at: https://www.nlg-npap.org/ ^
  181. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). National Police Accountability Project Inc. 2019. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lamis Deek
    Attorney
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $636,446 $664,891 $390,907 $47,513 N $510,509 $100,375 $0 $83,660
    2018 Dec Form 990 $636,295 $771,050 $445,670 $73,831 N $488,097 $129,465 $0 $85,301 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $988,633 $686,544 $541,482 $34,888 N $843,695 $123,783 $0 $77,312 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $711,793 $660,900 $248,355 $43,850 N $578,895 $113,969 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $667,777 $604,995 $238,819 $85,207 N $515,267 $138,476 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $579,488 $558,147 $166,380 $75,550 N $424,626 $139,163 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $498,303 $564,213 $107,068 $37,579 N $388,922 $90,334 $0 $78,644 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $608,293 $574,886 $179,669 $44,270 N $445,271 $124,028 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $525,989 $506,197 $137,082 $35,090 N $360,149 $131,602 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    National Lawyers Guild

    NO 922
    NEW YORK, NY 10038-0000