Legal Support

Most organizations and projects that provide legal services are non-profits that employ lawyers, often full-time. This site is focused on mutual aid and supporting people to, ideally, create volunteer-run projects locally, so the resources listed below are either volunteer-based projects, projects that don’t require lawyers, or projects/orgs that have elements like that that could be used by people starting mutual aid projects. Like in other sections, some non-profits are listed if they have resources that could be used by groups with or without funding.

  • The Midnight Special Law Collective existed for 10 years and disbanded in 2010, but their website still has useful training materials and models for Know Your Rights that might be helpful if your group wants to provide trainings about dealing with police or courts, doing legal observing at protests, etc.
  • Colectiva Legal del Pueblo is a Washington State based project that provides legal support to immigrants and trainings and builds political resistance to immigration enforcement.
  • The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is a 15-year old collective providing free legal help to low-income and/or POC trans and gender non-conforming people. Their website has many resources including training materials, Know Your Rights information, and potentially useful information about forming and maintaining a collective structure in a legal organization.
  • The Transformative Justice Law Project  is a Chicago-based group that provides “free, zealous, life-affirming, and gender-affirming holistic criminal legal services to low-income and street based transgender and gender non-conforming people targeted by the criminal legal system.” Most of their work for most of their existence has been done by volunteers.
  • The Water Protectors Legal Collective has great resources and good information about how to support a lot of arrestees.
  • The Titled Guide to Being a Defendant is a “comprehensive guide to facing charges in the criminal legal system to help defendants not only figure out how to handle their legal cases, but also how to think about their cases. Rather than being a how-to guide, this book offers a way of thinking about criminal charges that is based on defendants’ goals: personal, political, and legal. This book was written by dedicated legal support activists and draws on the wisdom of dozens of people who have weathered the challenges of trials and incarceration.” A free version is available online or you can buy the book.
  • Up Against the Law is a  collective in Philadelphia that was born in Occupy. They run know your rights trainings, an arrest hotline and support protests and recently made a statement about antifa surveillance and police harassment.