Michael Allen – 2024 NLG Student Honoree

1. When were you first introduced to the Guild?

I first learned about the Guild when I was applying to law schools. I was reaching out to current students at all sorts of different schools, and a NUSL student told me about it.

2. Who/what encouraged you to join the Guild?

I joined NLG because it seemed like a group of people who shared similar politics to mine. I came to law school with the hope of finding more people that were doing work that inspired me, and NLG acted as a gathering place for those kinds of students my 1L year.

3. What activities with the Guild have you organized and/or participated in?

In my 1L year, I helped put on NUSL’s Critical Legal Theory talks for torts and civil procedure. I also helped with Critical Race Theory talks on property and on Legal Fiction more generally. Outside of these talks, I also helped with a holiday letter writing campaign for Black and Pink, and with a panel discussion for WAMI (Week Against Mass Incarceration) 2022. Finally, I volunteered at the 2022 NLG annual dinner and also as a Legal Observer.

For my 2L year, I worked to recruit for NLG at our student org fair, and helped with a dis-orientation session for incoming 1L students. I also volunteered for the 2023 NLG annual dinner and continued my time as a Legal Observer.

Finally, I have spent my 3L year helping 1Ls and 2Ls with their organizing for Palestinian Solidarity, and also helped with another dis-orientation for new students. I am closing out my 3L year with a part-time internship with the Guild, where I work with NLG’s Litigation Committee and can also shadow volunteers for the Mass Defense Committee.

4. How has being a member of the Guild impacted your time in law school?

The Guild has substantially shaped my time in law school, mostly just through the incredible people I have met through the group. If you put enough like-minded activists in a room, then they will hopefully hang out and have a fun time (which we did!), but also they may end up doing some cool things (which we also did!). I would not have been able to help with any of my NLG stuff through law school if I didn’t have an energetic, passionate, group of friends who I knew would be there to show up when they were needed.

5. How do you plan to incorporate the Guild’s mission into your legal career?

The NLG works to unite law students, jailhouse lawyers, and lawyers/legal workers in service of people by valuing people and ecosystems over profit. The primary word here for me is “unite.” NLG served as a unifying group and unifying energy for me and my peers in law school, and I hope to continue to unify people with our shared mission – through mentorship and collaboration with our current and future generations of lawyers.