Recently, Steven DeCaprio, co-founder of the Association of Legal Apprentices ("ALA") was awarded the Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice to lay the groundwork for the Legal Apprentice Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (“NLG”). The Legal Apprentice Committee will assist marginalized community members find mentors that will sponsor them to become attorneys through the Law Office Study Program which allows apprentices to study law under the supervision of a lawyer instead of going to law school.
The ALA will be working with the NLG to create a Legal Apprentice Committee. However, we need your support to have sufficient resources to make this possible.
The NLG is an organization of attorneys and legal workers committed to social justice. By creating a pathway for a new generation of attorney-organizers who are unburdened by student debt we can expand the capacity and diversity of the National Lawyers Guild to become a much stronger force for lasting social change.
Currently, the high cost of tuition is a barrier to racial and economic diversity in the legal profession. Also, the high cost of tuition often forces new attorneys to seek careers outside of social movements in order to pay student debts.
The ultimate goal of the Legal Apprentice Committee is to serve as a viable alternative to accredited and unaccredited law schools for individuals interested in becoming NLG affiliated attorneys. Thus, the Legal Apprentice Committee can be a launching point for the next generation of NLG attorneys while also ensuring that the NLG increases membership and diversity moving into the future.
Steven DeCaprio has been a social justice organizer for over 20 years. He completed the Law Office Study Program and passed the California Bar Exam. However, the State Bar of California denied his application to the state bar due to his housing rights organizing. He is currently appealing that decision.
He is also the founder of Land Action which works in mutual aid with homeless organizers to access land and shelter.
The Legal Apprentice Committee will bring in numerous marginalized communities into the NLG, and create a committee that makes the NLG the alma matter of a new generation of NLG affiliated attorneys with the goal of creating an educational counter-institution for that ongoing purpose.