Conference Archives

Below is a list of previous conference summaries and schedules.

2012 – Miami, FL

2011 – Asheville, NC

NLG Southern Regional Conference, May 18-19, 2012
Univ. of Miami School of Law, 1311 Miller Drive, Room E352, Coral Gables, FL 33146

Hosted by the University of Miami Law School Immigration Law Clinic, the National Lawyers Guild South Florida Chapter, and the National Lawyers Guild Student Chapters at University of Miami and St. Thomas University Law Schools.

Friday, May 18, 2012

5:00-6:30 pm Happy hour at “100 Montaditos,” 5829 SW 73rd Street, Miami (Sunset), FL, (305) 669-0777,, hosted by NLG law student chapters.

7:00-9:00 pm Informal dinner get together at Marhaba Lebanese Restaurant, 5701 Sunset Drive, South Miami (Sunset), FL, (305) 740-5880,

Saturday, May 19, 2012
(Approved by the Florida Bar for 8 CLE credits, including 1 ethics)

8:00-8:45 am Registration and Check-in; complimentary breakfast will be provided (coffee, donuts, bagels, fruit)

8:45-9:00 am Welcoming remarks

Hot topics in immigration law
(Panelists: Rebecca Sharpless, Azadeh Shahshahani, Cheryl Little, and Subhash Kateel; Jan Jacobowitz, and Simona Popova. Moderator: Jill Hanson):

9:00–9:50 am Deportation 101 (Rebecca Sharpless) and Secured Communities (Cheryl Little)

9:50-10:40 am Intersection of immigration law with criminal and civil practice areas (Cheryl Little and Rebecca Sharpless)

10:40-10:50 am Break

10:50-11:40 am Ethics issues in immigration law (Jan Jacobowitz and Simona Popova)

11:40 am-12:30 pm Anti-immigrant legislation/Know Your Rights (Azadeh Shahshahani and Subhash Kateel)

Lunch Break and A Movie:

12:30-2:10 pm Extended lunch break, including screening of documentary by Matt Pillischer, Broken On All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration & New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S. (showing from 1:00 to 2:10)

Mass Incarceration, Prison Privatization, the New Jim Crow, and Strategies for Assisting Pro Se Prisoners and Jailhouse Lawyers in Prisoners’ Rights Litigation
(Norris Henderson, exoneree; John Thompson, former death row inmate and exoneree; Bruce Reilly; and Paul Wright)

2:10-3:00 pm Mass incarceration panel

3:00-3:10 pm Break

3:10-4:30 pm Mass incarceration panel continued

4:30-5:30 pm Southern Regional Business

5:30-6:30 pm Break

6:30-9:30 pm Party at Titanic Brewery, 5813 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL (305) 668-1742, (with complimentary appetizers and drink tickets)

Sunday, May 20, 2012
(Approved by the Florida Bar for 3.5 CLE credits, including 1 ethics)

8:30-9:00 am Registration and Check-in; complimentary breakfast will be provided (coffee, donuts, bagels, fruit)

9:00-10:00 am Human Rights, Workers Rights and the Activist Community. Panelists: Jake Ratner or Joe Parker and one or more other representatives from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; Nathan Pim of Food Not Bombs and Occupy Foreclosure; Camilo Mejia, Iraq War conscientious objector and member of the Miami Workers Center; and Muhammed Malik, Occupy activist and former director of the Miami office of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Moderator: Ray Del Papa.

10:00-10:10 am Break

Litigation Skills

10:10-11:25 am Mass Defense Representation: Representation of protesters, demonstrators, and activists, including practice points for civil and criminal representation. The presentation will consist of two primary sections; Ordinance Challenges and Mass Defense. The Ordinance Challenge section will include: preparatory actions such as analyzing municipal ordinances and their compatibility with First Amendment principles; identifying critical elements of demonstrators’ activities; the collection and preservation of narrative testimony and video evidence; collaboration with colleagues to frame litigation, conducting research and drafting pleadings. The Mass Defense section will include: interviewing clients and preparing them for the litigation process; special ethics issues with demonstrators as clients; interaction with public defenders and private criminal defense attorneys to assist in framing litigation; streamlining the drafting and editing of pleadings and initial motions. Presenters: Rob Ross, Jennifer Keesler, Mara Shlackman, and Brooks Franklin.

11:25-11:35 am Break

11:35 am-12:25 pm Representing individuals accused of “terrorism;” the effect of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and the National Defense Authorization Act; prosecution of individuals for lending “material aid” to terrorists, including First Amendment implications; and ethics issues in representing those accused of “terrorism.” Presenter: Khurrum Wahid.

12:25-1:15 pm Litigating attorney’s fees in civil rights cases, and ethical issues in attorney’s fee litigation. Presenter: Randall Berg.

1:15-1:20 pm Closing comments

2:15-3:30 pm Food sharing with Food Not Bombs in downtown Miami (via car pool from the University of Miami)

NLG Southern Regional Conference, April 1-2
Jubilee Community Center, Asheville, NC

The NLG Southern Regional Conference was a great success!  We gathered roughly 30-60 to any single panel or workshop on April 1. Thank you to Curry First and Vanessa Lucas for their work in putting together this year’s Southern Regional Conference.  Organizing this yearly event relies heavily on local people-power and resources.  Thank you, Curry and Vanessa for all of your work leading up to and during the conference!

Below is a recap of the events from the weekend. The first section reviews the Regional business and the second section recaps our five workshops and panels.  Please contact southernrvp [at] for contact information of those listed below.


1.     We formally passed two candidates for two open positions in the Southern Regional. Both positions are unopposed.  Anne O’Beary from South Florida announced her candidacy for the Southern Regional Vice President (SRVP) to the National Executive Committee. Brooks Franklin, formerly of Georgia and currently in North Carolina announced his candidacy for the Treasurer position.  To complete the elections, we will send out e-ballots.  Please look for them and remember to vote!  Only paid members are eligible to vote, so if you haven’t paid your dues, please do so!

2.     NLG President David Gespass discussed the finances of the national organization.  Typically, the convention banquet is the biggest fundraiser to support us nationally.  Donors pledge lump sums at the event.  Some donors may not be able to pledge single amounts.  To facilitate the sustainability of the national organization, David introduced the opportunity to pledge monthly automatic donations.  Please email to see how you can support our work across the country!

3.     This past year, we experienced a vacancy in the SRVP position. It was immediately apparent that we did not have a formalized process for filling vacancies. This is now an opportunity for us to see where we are weak and how we can work better as a region.  Under the new SRVP, several volunteers will draft a proposal for a procedure on filling vacancies resulting from unexpected emergencies and similar situations.  The proposal will be presented at the NLG National Convention in Philly where it will be presented, discussed, and hopefully passed!

4.     We began discussions on where next year’s Southern Regional Conference will be held.  Among the candidates were Puerto Rico, Gainsville and Key West.  The suggestions were wonderful, but we lacked the people-power in each of these cities who could handle the local organizing required.  SRVP candidate, Anne O’Beary offered South Florida as a possibility.  The South Florida chapter is being newly resurrected with Anne’s help and the conference could support and keep motivation for those efforts. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, our next regional will likely be in South Florida, exact location TBD.

5.     The Democratic National Convention in 2012 will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina next year.  Nicholas C. Woomer-Deters of Raleigh requested advance support for the event.  We do not have members in Charlotte who could help manage and organizing incoming legal support for the event.  If you are available to lend advance support to this event, particularly North Carolina members, or if you otherwise have advice to give please get in touch with the SRVP.

6.     To keep our motivation from the conference rolling, we invite your local and student chapters to update the NLG Southern Region’s  It’s a new tool for our region to keep updated and inspired by comrades and friends working on issues similar to those we face in our homes.  Please email your student and local chapter events and current contact information to southernrvp [at] regularly!


1.     National Civil Right to Counsel, John Pollock. John presented the issues and current activities nationwide around providing appointed counsel to indigent litigants involved in civil litigation, as well as the work of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC;  The efforts focus principally around housing, sustenance, safety, child custody, and health.  Currently, the work of legal services accounts for only about 20% of the need for civil counsel.  If you have or even hear about a case that involves a civil right to counsel issue, or you are thinking about including a right to counsel claim in one of your cases, please get in touch with the for his contact information. His organization, the Public Justice Center, coordinates the efforts of the NCCRC, and the NCCRC is available to provide guidance and technical assistance on civil right to counsel litigation, legislation, and educational efforts.

2.     Crimmigration, Azadeh Shahshahani & Marty Rosenbluth. The presentations in this panel introduced the issues involved with 287(g) and Secure Communities.  These provisions exist through MOAs with local or state governments respectively.  The effect is that undocumented workers are jailed in facilities as provided by these federal efforts. It is possible for cities to opt out of 287(g), but it requires organizing efforts on the ground level.  For example, using narratives from those impacted by these provisions and providing data on racial profiling by law enforcement can be used in legislative and advocacy campaigns to prevent 287(g) in municipalities.  For more information on the issues and on how you can implement a Crimmigration Advocacy campaign in your city, please get in touch with the SRVP.g.

3.     Creating Solid and Focused Chapters, Jessica Tiller. Jessica facilitated a workshop on how we can motivate, strengthen and grow our local and student chapters.  Divided into three working groups, participants presented strategies that we can all use!
For student chapters, suggestions include:

  • Regular meetings with other student NLG Chapters in your state/region.
  • Hold yearly Disorientation events. (More info on Disorientation can be found on the NLG Southern and NLG National websites.)
  • Creating informal or formal mentorship opportunities for students to work with local attorneys.
  • Using technology to broadcast events, such as listserves, online calendars, the website, and video conferencing through law school resources.
  • Create a liaison for student chapters whose job connects law students to local, state, and national events, as well as other law school chapters.
  • Generate a presence during 1L Orientation events.
  • film screenings as introductions to the NLG.
  • Create summer projects for Guild students to plug into with NLG attorneys nationally.  Opportunities could be paid by the host or students can seek outside funding for the opportunity to work with like-minded people.

For Students and Practitioners, suggestions include:

  • Practitioners can work directly with students to create programs and opportunities.
  • Offer NLG CLEs as an incentive.
  • Create internships or informal mentorship opportunities for students.
  • Support Disorientation events.
  • Create new attorney mentorship opportunities with established attorneys.  The Next Generation Committee is active in other regions and could be a useful resource for creating these committees in our region.

In the area of Communication and Collaboration, suggestions include:

  • Retaining information on student members as they graduate and follow-up with them as they enter their first years in lawyering.
  • Generate greater marketing on the local level.
  • Create a local chapter liaison to the student chapters who can inform students of NLG events.

4.     North Carolina Connections to the Torture Taxi and Extraordinary Rendition, Steven Edelstein & Josh McIntre. A North Carolina airstrip is a pit-stop in the path to extraordinary rendition.  In a web of connected air strips, individuals are leapfrogged around the world to arrive in torture prisons in a global torture campaign.  The legal hurdles in litigating this issue are the State’s Secrets Doctrine, the Alien Torts Statute, and the concept of National Security.  Related to the complicit airstrip in North Carolina, the campaign has drafted a call and seeks endorsers.  There is an online form and organizations are encouraged to sign on.  Please note that out-of-state organizations cannot participate in the efforts.  In furtherance of the global campaign to stop torture, advocates can generate discussion on the culture of torture that the US perpetuates both within its borders through prison systems and beyond the borders in extraordinary rendition cases.  For more information on the issue, please see Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror, by law professors David Cole and Jules Lobel through the New Press, as well as former NLG President Marjorie Cohn’s compilation of essays, The United States and Torture, published by NYU Press.

5.     FBI Raids and Grand Jury Repression, Peter Gilbert, Tom Burke, & Azadeh Shahshahani. Joined by local NC members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and other local activists, panelists discussed the ongoing push by federal prosecutors to use grand juries to intimidate, data mine, and repress social movements.  SDS, Muslim, and anti-war activists continue to experience this kind of repression in our region and nationally. Suggestions for countering these efforts include:

  • Hold Know Your Rights presentations in partnership with communities and leaders impacted by this repression, such as CAIR. Even if your community is not pursued by the FBI, these trainings are useful pre-emptively.
  • Conduct NLG CLEs on representing Muslim defendants in a post 9/11 environment.
  • Set up a network of attorneys trained in this kind of representation who can take the cases as they arise.
  • Get involved with a local committee to Stop FBI Repression ( or start one.
  • Raise money for the legal defense of grand jury resisters.

There is a need for this training and experience in the South.  Pleaseget in touch with the SRVP for more information.

Thank you, again, everyone for a rejuvenating and motivating weekend!  See you next year in South Florida!

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2011 Regional Conference Schedule
Jubilee Community Church
46 Wall Street
Asheville, NC 28801-2710

Come up to Asheville one night early and attend the annual Freedom Ball at the Grey Eagle. A fundraiser for a death row exoneree.

Click here for a map of events for the weekend!

Friday, April 1, 2011

3:00 – 6:15 Resegregation: Current Issues in Racial (In)Justice
Speakers: Dr. Dolly Jenkins-Mullen, Dr. Dwight Mullen, Dr. Catherine Kim, Prof. Keith Howard. Moderator: Andrew Stevenson
(3 CLE credits – pending approval by the NC Bar)

8:00 pm Meet up
Mellow Mushroom

Saturday, April 2, 2011

9:00-9:15 Welcome

9:15 – 10:15 National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel
John Pollock

10:15 – 11:15 Crimmigation
Azadeh Shahshahani and Marty Rosenbluth

11:15 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:30 Roundtable Discussion
Creating Solid and Focused Chapters – Lead by Jessica Tiller

12:00 -1:30 LUNCH
on your own

1:30 -2:30 Representing Guantanamo Detainees
Frank Goldsmith

2:30 – 3:30 (or 4) FBI Raids and Grand Jury Repression
Peter Gilbert, Tom Burke (other speakers tba)

3:30 – 4:30 (or 4:00 to 5:00) Regional Business Meeting
Election of SRVP, discuss of DNC in Charlotte 2012, other items.

8:00 pm Get together
Upstairs at Barley Taproom & Pizzeria

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