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National Lawyers Guild

Professional Development for a Multi-Cultural World: NLG and MLSA presented a three-lunch series focusing on multi-cultural competence as a core value and skill for successful lawyers in January-February 2011. This series aimed to offer an analytical framework and practical tools for communicating and practicing law across cultural divides.

The series kickoff was an introduction to race-based oppression and white privilege by Prof. Zaher Wahab of the Lewis and Clark School of Education and Counseling.

The second session, “Uniting to Understand Racism – Dismantling Racism in the White Ivory Tower AKA The Legal Community” was presented by Hon. Richard C. Baldwin and Hon. Angel Lopez, founding members of former Chief Justice Edwin Petersen’s “Understanding Racism” program; introduction by Stella Manabe and Guyer Meisner, Attorneys.

Successful modern lawyers must be skilled at interacting with colleagues, judges, and clients of all cultural backgrounds. The final session featured a panel of experienced professionals who have “been there, done that, and will do it again.” Stella Manabe of Guyer Meisner moderated this exciting panel that included: Ronault Catalani – New Portland Programs (City of Portland); Willamette Law; activist George Guyer – Guyer Meisner, Attorneys; Willamette Law; practitioner Susana Alba – Attorney at Law; L&C Law; practitioner Karen Fink – Attorney in Recovery; L&C Law; activist Rob Le – Attorney at Law; L&C Law; practitioner Todd Struble – Attorney at Law; L&C Law.

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Student Day (week) Against the Death Penalty, presented by the the L&C Law School NLG and ACLU: Each year, students all over the country come together to celebrate Student Day Against the Death Penalty. 

As part of this national moment of solidarity against the death penalty, we (1) hosted Jeff Ellis, the director of the Oregon Capital Resource Center, dedicated to facilitating and coordinating high quality legal representation in death penalty cases in Oregon, (2) presented a lunchtime screening of the short documentary film “Death by Fire” by Frontline and PBS. The film explores the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a man convicted of arson deaths and executed for those crimes in Texas, and (3) tabled all week in the LRC, providing informational flyers, a posterboard where people write why they are for, against, or undecided about the death penalty, and shared some baked goods.

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Labor Struggles: Wisconsin and Beyond  The NLG hosted a panel discussion on the current labor struggle in Wisconsin and around the world, including Cathy Highet, Labor Law Attorney with the Portland Law Collective, Monica Smith, Attorney with Oregon Educational Association, and, remotely, Ben Manski, Labor lawyer and Organizer on the ground in Wisconsin. Panelists discussed the nationwide attack on public sector collective bargaining, the Wisconsin bill, and the current legal challenges to it, the current state of affairs in Wisconsin, and the response of Unions around the world.

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Constitutional Infringement Under George W. Bush’s National Security Act, presented by NLG, ACS & ACLU: After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and former president George W. Bush’s authorization of the National Security Agency, where can we draw the constitutional line between government authority and civil rights? 

Distinguished attorneys Steven Goldberg and Thomas Nelson shared their involvement in the 2007 Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc. v. Bush case - a case widely regarded as the most important legal challenge to the National Security Act program in the nation. Questioning the government’s authority for warrantless domestic surveillance programs, state secrete privilege and the federal government’s general take on terrorist control, Mr. Goldberg’s and Mr. Nelson’s discourse on the constitutionality at hand was an interesting presentation.

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Police Reform Speaker: Jo Ann Bowman, Executive Director of Oregon Action and former Oregon State Representative made an interesting presentation about police reform efforts in Portland.

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Lecture/Discussion with Dean Spade, co-sponsored by OUTLAW and the NLG. Assistant Professor at Seattle University School of Law. He teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Law and Social Movements and Critical Perspectives on Transgender Law. Prior to joining the faculty of Seattle University, Dean was a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School, teaching classes related to sexual orientation and gender identity law and law and social movements.

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We also hosted the “Whisky Rebellion” fundraiser, Julia Vazquez (who spoke about her experience growing up in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution), a movie event about the Angola 3, and more!