Student Organization Spotlight: National Lawyers Guild
Are you looking to join a student organization committed to defending civil and human rights?
Just look for the bright green hats.
There are more than 25 student organizations at Georgia State University College of Law, each one providing unique perspectives of the law and an opportunity to build relationships with Atlanta’s legal community. With so many different organizations to choose from (and the abundance of acronyms to interpret), you can become overwhelmed. But for those students who came to law school itching to fight social injustice and defend human rights, the choice is simple… just look for the bright green hats.
The hats are worn by members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the color is meant to help them stand out in a crowd. Founded as an association of progressive lawyers and jurists in the 1930s, the organization plays an important role in the fight for civil and human rights. In the 1960s, the guild started the Legal Observer program in response to police brutality at protests. According to the national website, legal observers took notes on interactions between protesters and law enforcement, while lawyers defended thousands of civil rights activists who were arrested for exercising free speech.
“If it turns out there are arrests at the protest, the notes that the legal observer takes are actually a work product prepared in anticipation of litigation,” said Megan Harrison, co-founder of the college’s National Lawyers Guild Student Chapter, which was was established in spring 2016. “Students who are legal observers at protests where there are arrests, either planned or unplanned, will have the opportunity to potentially work with an attorney to help with the defense of protesters. Their notes could actually be used in trial, and they may even be called to testify.”
Through the student chapter, students have the opportunity to train as a legal observer.
“It’s a way to get involved now, defending free speech rights and the rights of grass roots movements, and to be active and participatory in our democracy,” Harrison said. Working as a legal observer is just one way the Guild gets law students involved. The organization also provides networking opportunities.
Each year, the chapter hosts an event called “Disorientation,” where NLG members from several law schools including Georgia State, Mercer, Emory, University of Georgia and John Marshall come together and discuss how to survive law school with their values intact, essentially disorientating themselves from the traditional 1L culture that focuses on a more homogenous approach to school and the law. At the event, practicing attorneys meet with students and discuss how to use the law as a tool for social change, and support marginalized and oppressed communities.
Catherine Gavrilidis (J.D.’20) is a Graduate Research Assistant for Law Communications and she serves on the boards of the Association of Women Law Students and Phi Alpha Delta.
Hungry? No Problem with Lots of Great Restaurants Nearby
One of the perks of going to school in the heart of downtown Atlanta, is the abundance of great, local restaurants located within a walking distance of the law school. There are numerous inexpensive and tasty restaurants located just a couple blocks away from the college on Broad Street. Every day during lunchtime, the area is full of people, and, with the large variety of places, there is truly something for everyone.
My two favorite places on Broad Street are Reuben’s Deli and Fish Bowl Poke. Reuben’s Deli is a true New York deli, they have even been voted No. 1 Best Deli in Atlanta and a Top 10 Deli in the United States. The sandwiches are super filling and delicious. Fish Bowl Poke is a great option if you are looking for something light and healthy. When you enter the shop, you are instructed to fill out a slip of paper that lists out all of the different toppings, bases, sauces and types of fish that you can get in your bowl. This way you can order exactly what you like.
Blossom Tree is also a favorite among many students. One of the most popular items on its menu is the taco plate, it comes with three tacos and your choice of two sides.
If you are looking for something cheap and quick, then Rosa’s Pizza is a great option, it is only $2.20 for a huge slice of cheese pizza. It also has a combo in which you can get two one-topping slices and a drink for only $6.75.
No matter what you’re craving for lunch, you will find several delicious options in easy walking distance from the school.
Some Good Study Spots in 85 Park Place
As law students, we all spend a lot of time reading, writing outlines and studying in general but everyone has different preferences for where they do this.
Some students prefer to study at school in the Law Library, while others like their local coffee shop or their own home. I enjoy studying at the tables scattered around the First, Second and Third floors of the law school. There’s lots of natural light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, and normally it’s not too loud.