BJI - Conferences and Trainings

The BJI organizes a range of conferences, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs and trainings for law students, lawyers, and legal workers. The BJI hosts two annual conferences on movement lawyering including the People's Law Conference and the Bertha Justice Conference (BJC).

Law for Black Lives 2015

New York, NY, July 31, 2015

#Law4BlackLives is a national gathering of lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers who are committed to building a world where #BlackLivesMatter. More than a meeting or a conference, this gathering is a call to action for legal advocates from diverse parts of the country to join together in New York on July 31, 2015 and spend a day dreaming about how we can support the growing Movement For Black Lives.

This space will prioritize the voices and leadership of people of color, most importantly Black lawyers and legal advocates. Dialogues will explore how legal advocates can work collaboratively with activists and organizers on a range of matters--from defending the civil rights of protesters to drafting transformative local and federal policy to innovative international human rights advocacy. The convening will also surface current legal needs from the ground and start to brainstorm possible legal tactics. Finally, the space will create an opportunity to stitch together a community of like-minded individuals and build a collective understanding of how legal advocates can build the power of movements.

You will leave this gathering with a clearer sense of pressing legal needs, more confidence about how law can be used to support movements, and new friends and colleagues to inspire you to play a continuing role in this historic movement. For program details visit the Law for Black Lives website.

Bertha Justice Conference 2014

New York, NY, June 6, 2014

This year's Bertha Justice Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer by profiling global and domestic models of "movement lawyering"--lawyers and organizers working together within grassroots social justice movements to build power. We were honored to spotlight some of the most important movements of our time and the lawyers supporting them including: Stop-and-Frisk in NYC, anti-LGBTQ legislation in Uganda, stand your ground laws in Florida, Guantanamo, torture in Colombia, exploitation of laborers in New Orleans, and the Marikana mineworker massacre in South Africa. Our goal was to expose participants to the many different ways lawyers support social movements around the world, and to strategize together about how we can more effectively work for change.

Keynote speakers were Phillip Agnew, Executive Director, The Dream Defenders, and Harry Belafonte, Artist/Activist. more >>


The Peoples Law Conference 2013

New Orleans, LA, April 5-6, 2013

Law students and practitioners learn and think together about how we can Occupy Lawyering - both by being lawyers for social justice, and by occupying legal spaces with social justice principles and practices. This Conference occurred at Loyola Law School with valuable training sessions including:

  • How to start a small, justice-centered private practice
  • How to collaborate with movements, organizations, and individuals to address small and large scale injustice
  • Social justice organizing 101
  • Role lawyers can play in organizing work

The Conference also featured a riverside barbecue and a social justice tour of the city of New Orleans, focused on sites related to the criminal justice system, public housing, healthcare, education, the effects of the flood, and some of the local organizations fighting daily for a more just New Orleans. more >>


The Social Justice Conference 2013
Movement Lawyering in the 21st Century

New York, NY, June 5, 2013

Law students, lawyers and organizers from across the U.S. gathered for a one-day conference in New York City that explored how lawyers can support and build the power of social movements. By examining global and domestic models, the conference highlighted how lawyers and organizers can work together to grow the impact, scale and scope of social justice movements. Panelists included movement lawyers from New York, Miami, Haiti and South Africa. more >>


The Peoples Law Conference 2012

New Orleans, LA, March 24-25, 2012

Law students from across the deep South attended a two-day conference that rooted the practice and study of law in social justice principles and experience. This conference highlighted the struggles of peoples and communities who are neglected and criminalized in casebooks and law classrooms, including communities of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities.

We learned from and networked with elders, youth, and fellow students who are waging justice in the streets and in the courts. We shared knowledge and strategies for supporting communities and movements as they struggle against environmental injustice, lack of access to housing and education, and oppressive policing and incarceration practices. We thought collectively about the role of law students and lawyers in social justice work, and how we can support ourselves, each other, and the people at the center of these struggles. more >>


The Social Justice Conference 2012

Principles and Approaches to Community-Based Lawyering

New York, NY, June 6, 2012

Law student interns from across the U.S. attended a one-day conference in New York City that explored the basic principles and methods of social justice and community-based lawyering. The conference identified concrete strategies, tools and forums that lawyers can use as part of their practice in representing under-served communities; exposed students to a range of public interest organizations in New York City; and examined the importance and diversity of the type of work they will be doing in this rich legal community. more >>


CLE's and Trainings

The BJI organizes Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs and trainings for law students, lawyers, and legal workers. In addition, the BJI sponsors CLE’s and workshops for existing lawyers to exchange strategies and tactics, surface strategic lessons, and share examples of lawyers working alongside movements to create change.


Past CLE's


CLE: Emerging Issues in Cybersecurity, Legal Ethics, and Technology
CUNY School of Law, March 17, 2015

A tipping point has been reached on the issues of legal ethics, secure communications, and data security. From criminal defense attorneys representing domestic clients, to transactional attorneys engaged in trade negotiations, all practice areas are impacted by the new political and technological reality of multi-state mass surveillance technology. This CLE will assist attorneys in understanding how to ethically engage with information technology in this new and challenging climate.

The Alien Tort Statute & Transnational Accountability in the Age of Kiobel
Columbia Law School, November 14, 2013

CCR and Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute invite you to join us for this important discussion. The program will focus on the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) as a tool for seeking accountability for serious human rights violations, particularly in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. Participants will receive a grounding in the ATS, domestic accountability mechanisms, and the interplay between the ATS and foreign courts. more >>

International Justice In Practice: Challenges In The Search For Accountability
Columbia University, September 26, 2011

This program provides an overview of the international human rights and humanitarian law framework and examines a series of case studies illustrating the challenges and successes encountered when applying this framework to mass atrocities or serious violations of international law. more >>

The Alien Tort Statute: A Training Program
Northeastern University, February 2, 2008

This training will provide an overview and introduction to the ATS and related statutes such as the Torture Victim Protection Act, as well as provide participants with a more advanced understanding of the law in this area. Sessions will cover suits against foreign officials, U.S. officials, and corporations. Participants will gain insight into the evolution of the ATS and related statutes as wells as current issues and strategic considerations in their use today. more >>

Last modified 

July 29, 2015