Austin Lawyers Guild
National Lawyers Guild - Austin Chapter
Austin has had a chapter of the National Lawyers Guild for decades. Our activities and membership list have waxed and waned along with the needs of various movements over time. In 2011, coinciding with the Occupy movement, the Austin Chapter renewed its efforts and rebranded as the Austin Lawyers Guild (ALG). We currently have an active Steering Committee with officers who handle chapter business.
Although we do not require dues payment to become a member of ALG, we strongly encourage folks to join the NLG. We receive a portion of those dues payments each quarter. Our primary opportunities for members to get involved with ALG are as Legal Observers and as criminal defense attorneys who agree to represent activists and protesters arrested while exercising their First Amendment rights, but other opportunities and needs arise as well.
We are growing and enthusiastic! Please join our mailing list to stay up to date on ways to plug in.
NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) was founded in 1937 as an association of progressive lawyers and jurists who believed that they had a major role to play in the reconstruction of legal values to emphasize human rights over property rights. The Guild is the oldest and most extensive network of public interest and human rights activists working within the legal system. From helping organize support for the New Deal in the 1930's, defending victims of the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era, organizing thousands of volunteer lawyers and law students to support the civil rights movement long before the federal government or other bar associations were involved, to defending FBI-targeted members of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement, NLG has fought to defend domestic activists.
Internationally, the NLG has supported self-determination for Palestine, opposed apartheid in South Africa at a time when the U.S. Government still labeled Nelson Mandela a “terrorist,” and began the ongoing fight against the blockade of Cuba. The purpose of the National Lawyers Guild is to serve the people, rather than public or private entities that do not put human needs first. By stating clearly that “human rights shall be held more sacred than property interests,” the NLG Preamble recognizes that economic and social needs should also be considered “rights” and that these rights often conflict with the interests of propertied elites in all nations. To learn more about the NLG's history, please click here.