National Lawyers Guild: Leadership, Structure and Finances

National Lawyers Guild (Complete Series)
Origins and early years | The second red scare
The Civil Rights Movement and the New Left | Consolidation and internationalism
Activities and Positions |

Direction, structure and finances

LNG is governed by a National Executive Committee which meets four times a year and by a smaller Executive Council which makes decisions between these meetings.

Suzanne Adely has been appointed President-Elect of the NLG since January 2022. She is Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a union-aligned coalition advocating for increased labor regulation and unionization in the food industry. From 2011 to 2014, she was the United Auto Workers Coordinator of the India project of the Global Organizing Institute. Adely is co-founder of the Arab Workers Resource Center and a member of the Palestinian American Community NetworkWork for Palestine, Al-Awda: the Palestinian coalition for the right of return, and block the NY/NJ boat. She is also a board member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Elena L. Cohen was listed as President of the NLG in January 2022 and also previously served as President of the Guild’s New York Chapter. She is a partner at the law firm Cohen Green PLLC and an adjunct associate professor at the City University of New York system.

The NLG operates as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization. It lists more than 50 local chapters on its website, some of which also have their own nonprofit tax-exempt status. Chapters vary greatly in size and level of activity. The largest and most active chapters are located in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Michigan, and Massachusetts. The Guild also has more than 100 student chapters at US law schools.

In its 2020 annual report, the NLG reports 9,419 members, including 2,234 lawyers in prison. Membership had remained below around 2,500 from 2005 to 2015, but began to increase significantly in 2016.

In 2018, the NLG reported revenues of $636,925 and expenses of $771,050. It raised $144,305 in dues, $129,465 in convention revenue and $343,792 in contributions, gifts and grants. Most of its expenses were for salaries, wages and other benefits, which amounted to $433,309 in 2018. Membership dues are requested on a suggested sliding scale ranging from $25 to $800, depending largely part of the member’s income. Membership for prison lawyers is free.

The National Lawyers Guild Foundation (NLG Foundation) is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the NLG. In 2019, he reported total revenues of $726,899 and net assets of $4,468,568, while in 2018 he reported total revenues of $2,513,776 and net assets of $4,485,887.

The NLG Foundation is an important source of revenue for the NLG National Office. It provided more than $1.05 million in grants to the national NLG from 2017 to 2019. During this same period, the NLG Foundation also provided smaller grants to local NLG chapters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The NLG Foundation also serves as a tax sponsor for chapters that do not have their own IRS tax exempt status.

Major organizational funders of the NLG Foundation include Greater Horizons, which provided $2,935,163 from 2017-2018; the Foundation of the tides, which provided $1,030,500 from 2018-2019; the Fidelity Investments Charitable Giving Fund, which provided $129,775 from 2017 to 2019; the Schwab Charitable Fund, which provided $133,700 from 2017 to 2020; and Warsh Mott Legacywhich provided $110,000 from 2016 to 2018. The CS funds provided matching grants to the NLG Mass Advocacy Program.

The NLG is also closely associated with two other separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The National Lawyers Guild National Immigration Project was originally formed as a committee of the NLG in 1971 and became a separate organization in 1981. It reported total revenues of $1,127,832 in 2019. The National Police Accountability Project also has its own tax-exempt status, although as of 2022 it describes itself as an NLG project on its website. He reported $217,944 in total earnings in 2019.

A version of this article first appeared on InfluenceWatch, a project of the Capital Research Center. InfluenceWatch is an online resource that provides accurate and factual descriptions of various influencers on public policy issues.