National Lawyers Guild Mission Statement

The National Lawyers Guild is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization which shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests. Our aim is to bring together all those who regard adjustments to new conditions as more important than the veneration of precedent; who recognize the importance of safeguarding and extending the rights of workers, women, farmers, and minority groups upon whom the welfare of the entire nation depends; who seek actively to eliminate racism; who work to maintain and protect our civil rights and liberties in the face of persistent attacks upon them; and who look upon the law as an instrument for the protection of the people, rather than for their repression.

The objects of the organization shall be:

  1. To aid in making the United States and the State Constitutions and law and the administrative and judicial agencies of government responsive to the will of the American people;
  2. To protect and foster our democratic institutions and civil rights and liberties of all people;
  3. To aid in the establishment of governmental and professional agencies to supply adequate legal services to all who are in need and cannot obtain it;
  4. To promote justice in the administration of the law;
  5. To aid in the adoption of laws for the economic and social welfare of the people;
  6. To keep the people informed upon legal matters affecting the public interest;
  7. To encourage, in the study of law, a consideration of the social and economic aspects of the law;
  8. To improve the ethical standards which must guide the lawyer in the performance of his or her professional and social duties; and
  9. To promote world unity through collaboration among the Bars of members of the United Nations.

- from the Constitution of the National Lawyers Guild 

NLG SF BAY AREA CHAPTER PRINCIPLES OF ENGAGEMENT

Principles of Engagement: … a set of rules outlining the social norms and responsibilities of, or mindful practices for, an individual, party or organization.

Reasoning: Because we are an organization committed to creating just and equitable societies and because we are engaged in the work of ensuring no harm is done to any people - particularly - oppressed people; our treatment of each other, our staff and our constituents must be a reflection of the world we are trying to build.

We commit at all times to challenge systems of oppression, and in so doing, be mindful of race, class and gender privilege when communicating with each other and our constituents Our engagements with all oppressed people will be rooted in - and respectful of - their lived experience and awareness of the dynamics between members of the oppressed and oppressor classes

We commit at all times to communicating and engaging each other with respectful language, tone and tenor We will be mindful of the language we use whether that be in e-mail, social media, or face-to-face conversation. Read your written communications twice to check for tone and tenor. Please and thank you is always nice. Communicate in person when possible.

We commit to calling each other in - not out - when we are not being our best selves When issues arise amongst each other, we will respectfully discuss the issue with the involved party, assuming the best of intentions. We will not use social media, gossip, or public shaming to address our conflicts.

We commit to principled struggle - where disagreement is handled with honest, timely, direct and clear communication Our preference, when possible, is in-person communication, as quickly as possible, so that issues are resolved and tensions don’t fester.

We commit to combatting liberalism at all times in ourselves and with each other We will call out unprincipled behavior at all times regardless of fears about confrontation or conflict

We commit to never engaging in behaviors that make it easier for State and government agencies to target, incarcerate or harm each other or our constituents and therefore we commit to being mindful of security issues and protocols

We commit to being held accountable to engaging with each other according to the principles listed above