REGISTER FOR 2019 CONFERENCE HERE: http://bit.ly/NLG-LL-2019

Dear friends, comrades, community members,

We believe that lawyering can be a vehicle for liberation.

This is the idea that motivated us – NLG law students from across Southern California – to organize a first-of-its kind grassroots convening for the progressive legal community in Los Angeles. Liberation Lawyering, now in its second year, is a completely student-organized and student-run event that brings together organizers, community members, students, attorneys, and academics to collaborate on pressing social justice issues.

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s Keynote Speaker is Dr. Melina Abdullah, founder of Los Angeles Black Lives Matter and Professor and Chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A. Through her scholarship and work with Black Lives Matter, Dr. Abdullah has emerged as a national leader in the fight for racial justice. Dr. Abdullah’s voice is particularly loud in Los Angeles, where she organizes responses to police violence, collaborates with community organizations to advance progressive legislation, and holds city officials accountable through direct action.

In addition to the keynote session, we are also offering a range of workshops, with a total of 4.5 CLE units available for the day (1.5 credits per session).  While we ask that attorneys contribute $25/session to help cover event costs, students and community members are invited to attend for free, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  Finally, if you are able, we encourage you to support Black Lives Matter with an additional donation on the registration page.

A detailed schedule can be found below.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, March 2!

In Solidarity,

UCLA Law Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG)

Sasha Novis, Liberation Lawyering Founder and Chair

Stephano Medina and Rachel Pendleton, NLG-UCLA Co-Chairs

Liberation Lawyering Committee Members Erik Berner, Ary Hansen, Nicole Hansen, Sam Keng, Chris Kissel (Loyola SOL), Tori Lew, Lydia Nicholson, Jordan Palmer, Simon Sherred, Ihaab Syed, and Sara Yufa

Poster Art by Lydia Nicholson; Design by Lydia Nicholson and Simon Sherred


(Full Workshops Descriptions Below)
Saturday, March 2, 2019
UCLA School of Law

8:30 am – 9:30 am:   Registration and Light Breakfast

9:30 am – 11:00 am: Plenary Session. Co-Sponsored by UCLA La Raza Law Students Association

  •      Introduction by NLG Past President Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan
  •      Keynote Address by Dr. Melina Abdullah

11:15 am – 12:45 pm: Workshops I (1.5 CLE credits available)

  •    Worker-Owned Cooperatives: Supporting Resilient Communities and Advancing Economic Justice
  •      The State of Affirmative Action: Jurisprudence and Strategies Moving Forward
  •      Animal Justice and Human Rights
  •      Envisioning a World without Prisons and Police

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Workshops II (1.5 CLE credits available)

  •      Puerto Rican Self-Determination: The Structural Barriers of Capitalism, Colonialism, and Racism and Organizing for Liberation
  •      Intersectional Immigrants’ Rights Advocacy: Uplifting Black, Queer/Trans, and Non-Latinx Voices
  •      Decriminalization of Sex Work

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Legal Observer Training presented by NLG Los Angeles (1.5 CLE credits available)

*UCLA School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. By attending this conference, you may earn MCLE credit in the amount of up to 4.5 hours of general credit.*


11:15 am – 12:45 pm

(1.5 CLE credits available)

Worker-Owned Cooperatives: Supporting Resilient Communities and Advancing Economic Justice. Co-Sponsored by the Loyola Law School NLG Chapter

Communities across the country are turning to worker-owned cooperatives as tools for cultivating resilience in the face of accelerating social, ecological, and economic crises. Through a discussion of organizational, legal, and political strategies for community driven economic development, this panel will address how democratically owned and operated worker cooperatives can advance economic justice in Southern California.


  • Alfredo Carlos, Executive Director, The Foundation for Economic Democracy
  • Kateri Gutierrez, Member Owner, Collective Avenue Coffee and COOP LA
  • Gilda Haas, Member, L.A. Co-op Lab
  • Brett Heeger, Attorney, Gartenberg Gelfand Hayton LLP
  • Mark Vestal, PhD Candidate, UCLA Department of History
  • Moderated by D. Abuyounes, Co-Chair, Loyola Law School NLG

The State of Affirmative Action: Jurisprudence and Strategies Moving Forward. Co-Sponsored by UCLA Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)

In the wake of the recent shifts on the Supreme Court and the pending affirmative action case at Harvard, this panel will examine where affirmative action stands in 2019 and beyond.  A group of legal experts, attorneys and advocates will explore the political and legal landscape of affirmative action, examine the impact to Black and Brown communities from the potential loss of affirmative action, and incorporate perspectives from progressive and underrepresented Asian-American groups.   


  • Professor Devon Carbado, UCLA School of Law
  • Nicole Gon Ochi, Supervising Attorney, Impact Litigation Unit, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Professor Sherod Thaxton, UCLA School of Law
  • Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon, Loyola Law School
  • Moderated by Jennifer Jones & Laylaa Abdul Khabir, UCLA BLSA Students

Animal Justice and Human Rights. Co-Sponsored by UCLA Animal Law Society

This panel focuses on overlapping issues within social justice activism that affect humans and nonhuman animals, covering topics such as compassionate education, consumer and worker concerns, the First Amendment, and intersectional community organizing.


  • Gwenna Hunter, Community Organizer and Founder, Vegans of LA
  • Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel, Compassion Over Killing
  • Vanessa Shakib, General Counsel, Advancing Law For Animals
  • Karen Snook, Kindred Spirits Care Farm
  • Moderated by Kartik Raj, President, UCLA Animal Law Society

Envisioning a World without Prisons and Police. Co-Sponsored by Southwestern School of Law NLG Chapter

This panel will discuss the topic of mass incarceration and nexus with the policing of Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ communities. We will discuss what abolition looks like in our society. What are solutions we can propose, from a grassroots perspective, to rid society of cages and police brutality? What are ways we can advocate and abolish the prison industrial complex?    


  • Tasha Hill, LGBTQ and Prisoners’ Civil Rights Attorney, The Hill Law Firm
  • Dr. Steven Osuna, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, CSU Long Beach
  • Anthony Robles, Organizer, Youth Justice Coalition
  • Mohamed Shehk, National Media and Communications Director, Critical Resistance
  • Moderated by Cristina Pineda, Chair, Southwestern School of Law NLG Chapter

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm

(1.5 CLE credits available)

Puerto Rican Self-Determination: The Structural Barriers of Capitalism, Colonialism, and Racism and Organizing for Liberation. Co-Sponsored by UCLA Law International Human Rights Law Association

This panel explores contemporary issues impacting Puerto Ricans through the analytical lenses of capitalism, colonialism, and race. Particularly, this event will discuss the financial crisis and the post-Maria federal response as it relates to self-determination. The panel will also examine community efforts and organizing to liberate Puerto Ricans from structures of oppression.  


  • Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Past President, National Lawyers Guild
  • Nicole Hernandez, Co-Founder, Puerto Ricans in Action
  • Meagan Ortiz, Executive Director, Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California
  • Moderated by Andrea Gonzalez, UCLA Law Class of 2020

Intersectional Immigrants’ Rights Advocacy: Uplifting Black, Queer/Trans, and Non-Latin Voices. Co-Sponsored by UCLA Law Students for Immigrant Justice (LSIJ) and South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)

This conversation will center on less-publicized immigrant communities such as Cambodian, Black, and trans immigrants. Members and advocates of these communities will highlight some of the major issues facing these marginalized groups and will ask important questions such as how organizers and attorneys can work together to address the specific needs of these communities and incorporate an intersectional approach to the broader immigrants’ rights movement.


  • Onye Ofunwa, Deportation Defense Coordinator, Immigrant Youth Coalition
  • Phal Sok, Organizer, Youth Justice Coalition
  • Kanwalroop (Roop) Kaur Singh, UCLA School of Law Class of 2020
  • Moderated by Ary Hansen, UCLA Law Class of 2021

Decriminalization of Sex Work.

This conversation will center on uplifting the voices of sex workers in our community, as well as discuss strategies for organizing to decriminalize sex work, and ask important questions, such as how FOSTA-SESTA is impacting the sex worker community. In March 2018, Congress passed FOSTA-SESTA, a bill that made websites liable for what users say and do on their platforms, in an effort to curb sex trafficking operations. In practice, this bill has served to threaten or entirely eradicate the ability of sex workers to utilize the internet for their professions in a way that is safe, reliable, and efficient. FOSTA-SESTA is one piece of a larger scheme of government effort to control or hinder those in the sex trade, and coupled with state laws that criminalize sex work, maintaining a safe working environment has become increasingly difficult for sex workers.


  • Zooey Zara, Executive Director, Sex Workers Outreach Project – Los Angeles (SWOP-LA)
  • Aditi Fruitwala, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Southern California
  • Siouxsie Q, The Whorecast
  • Goddess Cori, Sex Worker and Advocate, All Sex Workers Go To Heaven (ASWGTH)
  • Moderated by Daisy Eva, Queer Indigenous Community Organizer, All Sex Workers Go To Heaven (ASWGTH)

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

(1.5 CLE credits available)

Legal Observer TrainingPresented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG)

Would you like to volunteer to safeguard protestors at mass demonstrations? Effective legal observers are crucial to protecting protesters from excessive force and advocating for their legal rights. The training will include interactive lessons on how to record incidents, the parameters legal observers should follow, and learning to spot violations of protesters’ rights. Finally, we will discuss proper advocacy methods after an illegally disrupted protest.


  • Kath Rogers, Executive Director, NLG Los Angeles Chapter
  • Addie Tinnell, Outreach Coordinator, NLG Los Angeles Chapter


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