Rebellious Lawyering Conference Marks 20th Anniversary on Feb. 21-22

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference (RebLaw), the largest student-run public interest conference in the U.S. RebLaw 2014 will be held on Friday, February 21, and Saturday, February 22, 2014, at Yale Law School.

Founded in the spirit of Gerald Lopez’s Rebellious Lawyering as a forum on community-based legal practice, RebLaw has grown to a gathering of hundreds of law students, activists, and legal practitioners dedicated to legal work in the service of social change movements and to challenging hierarchies of race, wealth, gender, and expertise within legal practice and education.

This year, RebLaw will host leading activists and attorneys from around the country to discuss ongoing legal struggles for environmental, economic, racial, gender, immigration, and criminal justice. The 2014 panel sessions will address wide-ranging topics, including campaign finance reform, food sustainability, the rights of sex workers, mobilizing for the rights of the formerly incarcerated, feminist responses to the drug war, and defending radical animal rights activists. In addition to learning about ongoing progressive legal work, attendees are invited to participate in workshops to develop their own consciousness and skills as rebellious lawyers, including anti-oppression strategies, movement lawyering, legal observation of protests, recognizing and disrupting law school classroom hierarchies, and coping with vicarious trauma.

In honor of its 20th anniversary, RebLaw is proud to host keynote and endnote addresses that reflect the innovation and accomplishments of the past two decades of community-based lawyering and the next generation of social justice movement leaders. Robin Steinberg, the founder and Executive Director of the Bronx Defenders and lecturer in law at Columbia University, will deliver the keynote address. Founded in 1997, the Defenders have gained national recognition for their innovative, holistic approach to public defense that provides social work support to their clients and engages in advocacy to fight the systematic causes of mass incarceration. Cristina Tzintzun, Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project, will close the conference. Based in Texas, Tzintzun and the Project are part of a growing national movement to organize and advocate on behalf of low-wage workers, especially those made vulnerable to exploitation by their immigration status.

For complete details about the conference, as well as online registration, visit the RebLaw website. Registration is free for members of Yale University as well as the University of Connecticut, University of New Haven, Quinnipiac, and the surrounding New Haven communities. The registration fee is $30 for all other attendees.


In conjunction with the 20th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference at the Yale Law School, the Law Library's Rare Book Collection has a new exhibit, "350 Years of Rebellious Lawyering."

The exhibit showcases nine historic examples of public interest lawyering, ranging in time from William Leach's The Bribe-Takers of Jury-Men Partiall, Dishonest, and Ignorant Discovered and Abolished (London, 1652) to Mr. Natural in Bailed Out, an underground comic published by Boston's Legal Defense Group in 1971. Also are on display is Clarence Darrow's 1920 defense of Communist labor organizers, a notorious 1854 fugitive slave trial, and Thomas Pearce's The Poor Man's Lawyer (1755).

The exhibit was curated by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian, and Ryan Greenwood, the 2013/14 Yale Law Library Rare Book Fellow. Those who cannot visit the exhibit will be able to view it in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog,

The exhibit is open to the public, 9am-10pm daily, February 20 - April 30, 2014, on Level L2 in the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.