Revolutionizing Law Schools: 2018 Clinic Cohort Reflections

This month Law for Black Lives completed the first semester of our clinical cohort. We worked with over 10 law school clinics to create resources for movement organizations and train law students in the tenants of movement lawyering. Based on requests from our movement partners, we focused on three topics: bail, land cooperatives, and reparations.



Based on the needs of the 15 members of the National Bail Out Collective, law clinics researched current bail laws, jail populations, and sheriff’s budgets in Memphis, TN, and Dallas, TX. Clinical  Students researched and created a report about the impact pre-trial detention has on women. Organizations within the National Bail Out Collective, have gone on to use the research to support the Mamas Bail Out Day and ongoing campaigns to End Money Bail.


Those Clinics focused on Land cooperatives, provided research for Picture the Homeless and members organizations within the National Alliance of Black Farmers, to research eminent domain in New York and community land trust policies and procedures across the country.

Lastly, in the area of reparations, we worked with law clinics to provide research support to the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table for the development of a reparations popular education toolkit. Law students evaluated existing reparation victories in the national and international context, including reparations given for the internment of Japanese Americans during War World II, the Chicago police torture regime, and to descendants of slaves sold by Georgetown University. Students also explored possible legal mechanisms to obtain reparations in the national and international context.

Next semester we will continue our research on bail, land co-opts, fees and fines, as well as local and state budgets.

We are currently recruiting clinics for the Fall semester. If you are a clinical professor or a clinical student and are interested in our clinical cohort please sign-up at

In Solidarity, 


Crew Love

The key to the Law for Black Lives mission is leveraging the power of lawyers and legal workers to support organizers in their efforts for liberation. This year we had a powerful opportunity to support the work of the National Bail Out Collective and enlisted the support of the Law for Black Lives membership in meeting the needs of local organizers.

Thanks to your support we were able to connect lawyers with local organizers in a number of locations, provide templates for lawyers seeking to reduce bail and provide some contractoral support for organizations trying to ensure that bail money was returned to them. We also are working with the over fifty lawyers and legal workers who signed up to provide some long term research for groups interested in challenging the fees and fines often attached to bail, challenging premature failure to appear decisions and mapping the laws around bail locally.

The L4BL Bailout Crews have been a powerful space for Law for Black Lives members to build with each other as well as to support local organizers. While the Mama’s Day Bail Outs are over for the year the work across the country to end pretrial detention continues and we need your help! If you are interested in joining the L4BL Bailout Crews please sign up here! Our next call will be Wednesday, June 6th at 6est.


In Solidarity, 


Black Love, Reflections from the Mama's Day Bailouts

For the second year in a row the National Bail Out Collective bailed out Mamas and caregivers, in all their varieties, to bring attention to the true costs of money bail and mass incarceration, and to get our people free! In the tradition of literally buying our people’s freedom, we are setting Black women and femmes free from the jaws of incarceration in time for Mother’s Day. This year nearly 6,5000 individuals gave over $440,000 allowing us to bail out more than 140 mothers!

National Mama’s Bail Out Day is a coordinated effort by the National Bail Out Collective, a formation of Black organizers, communicators and lawyers, who are committed to building a community based movement to end pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. The collective consists of nearly two dozen local and regional base-building groups as well as four national organizations with specialties in  communication, digital organizing, cultural change and policy reform. Law for Black Lives serves as one of the co-coordinators of the formation and provides legal and technical assistance.

In addition to supporting bail outs the collective is working to advance critical policy changes and transform the systems that put our people in cages because they are poor, Black, unwell or in crisis. Over the last year the collective created the Transformative Bail Curriculum, a popular education training that roots our current bail reform efforts in a long history of abolition and the continued fight against mass criminalization. We collectively wrote “Until Freedom Comes: A comprehensive Bail Out Toolkit” that provides step by step instructions on how to plan and execute a bail out and bridge bail out actions to larger advocacy efforts. We also hosted a six-part webinar series about bail and bail reform.


The impact of money bail on Black families cannot be understated. Tonight tens of thousands of women will sleep in a cage, simply because they could not afford to pay bail. At least 80 percent of them are mothers and most of them are only guilty of being poor, unable to access health care, or being survivors. In fact, over 86% of incarcerated women have survived physical or sexual abuse and many will experience additional abuse while imprisoned in our local jails.

As a partner and co-coordinator of the National Bail Out Collective Law for Black Lives is honored to work with groups across the country who are opening cages and changing policies! If you want to learn more about the bailouts or support these important efforts follow national bail outs on facebook and Twitter and check out the website To join a local legal crew and support local efforts fill out our survey!

in Power,