About Us

The?National Lawyers Guild?was founded in 1937. Its Constitution commits its members to using the legal system as?"an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than their oppression." 

IN the 1930s, the American Bar Association (ABA) refused to admit Black attorneys and opposed the social reforms of the New Deal. In 1937, a group of concerned lawyers, recognizing the need for an alternative to the ABA, founded the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) as the first integrated bar association in the country, and established a policy to support the social welfare legislation of the New Deal. Today, the National Lawyers Guild continues the work for which it was founded--to use law as an effective political and social force in the service of the people--by actively opposing the drastic cutbacks in social welfare programs and by advocating the advancement of civil rights and liberties. 

NLG is the only public interest bar organization whose members are active in virtually all areas of human rights and civil rights policy and practice. Members from many legal specialties find common interests and support within the Guild. 

With more than 5,000 members, thousands of supporters and associates, and nearly 200 chapters, the NLG has provided legal support for people's movements for social and economic justice for over 60 years. It is the oldest and most extensive association of public interest and human rights activists working within the legal system. Over the past year, NLG members have done amazing legal work in supporting activists in work at Standing Rock, #J20 and Inauguration demonstrations, immigration reform and travel, and more. 

At WCL, members organize and attend events, campaigns. We have organized demonstrations and events related to a number of issues, including: gentrification and displacement, discrimination, worker’s rights, discrimination, and more. Additionally, members often serve as Legal Observers (LOs) at demonstrations in the DC community. LOs provide important and necessary legal support for organizers and demonstrators who take part in protests and direct actions in our community.