Introducing Profiles of the Guild

Carlos Villarreal
Executive Director

Corporations always make dumb statements like “our people are what make us special.” It’s just propaganda disguised to maximize profits. The NLG, on the other hand, is in the business of social change, and our people really are what make us special. So we’ve decided to focus on some of our members, past and present, who everyone should know about. We’re calling it Profiles of the Guild.

Since the Guild has never been a staff-driven organization, most of its pioneers and spokespeople over the years have been members who are passionate about human rights and who do incredible legal and political work with the Guild. Learning about some of these people is probably the best way to get a sense of the organization. So part of the purpose of Profiles of the Guild is to serve as an introduction to the Guild.

We could also call it a speakers bureau, except that not all the people profiled are available to speak – Thomas Steel and Patti Roberts are deceased for example. We’ve been around for 75 years, so any proper introduction to the NLG will inevitably include some no longer with us.

Patti Roberts, incidentally, was one of the earliest advocates to raise concerns regarding the connection between inequity of pay, gender and race, leading to her founding the Comparable Worth Project in Oakland. Thomas Steel successfully sued San Francisco in several major police brutality cases, and in another case prompted it to sell the Mount Davidson cross. Both served as presidents of the chapter at different points in their lives and helped set the course of the NLG in the Bay Area.

The individuals profiled so far are more established lawyers and legal workers. Keep in mind there was no competition to determine who would be profiled initially; there are undoubtedly individuals we need to add. No Doris Walker yet? What about Dennis Cunningham? Of course they should be up there; and they will. Over time we hope to have a very full profiles section with simple ways to search by law school or practice area.

You can find Profiles of the Guild at If you’d like to contribute to this project, contact me at or 415.285.5067x304.