NOTE: Registration will close 24 hours before event, at 12 PM CST, September 30.

Tools, Strategies, and Discussions for Police Misconduct Litigators Working During an Uprising

Join us for NPAP’s annual CLE program during the National Lawyers Guild #Law4thePeople Convention. In this moment of uprising and community mobilization around police misconduct and accountability, NPAP’s program focuses on tools and strategies to serve our clients and the movement, while also facing the conflicts and challenges inherent in civil-rights litigation. We’ll discuss how to challenge and overcome the police Code of Silence and the doctrine of qualified immunity. We’ll also grapple with the tensions between abolitionist and reformist movement demands and litigation tactics and outcomes. We’ll also talk about how our lawsuits can both serve individual client needs and become tools for local organizing and accountability efforts. Expect to learn tips and strategies for your litigation toolbox along with critical reflections on how and why we do what we do as police misconduct lawyers.


12 PM CST - Lawsuits as Tools for the Movement

Lawsuits can be tools not only for plaintiffs, but also for local organizing efforts. Jamila Johnson and Nikki Thanos will discuss how individual cases can serve the interests of our clients and simultaneously support and provide resources toward local organizing goals. They will address positive relationship building with movement workers, using discovery as a tool for information and resources for local organizing and accountability efforts, and other methods of serving the movement through litigation.


  • Jamila Johnson (Promise of Justice Initiative)
  • Nikki Thanos (New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice; Bridge the Gulf Project)

Moderator: Sarah Gelsomino (Friedman and Gilbert)


1 PM CST - Demanding Truth and Litigating the Code of Silence

The police Code of Silence serves to protect and bury the truth about police misconduct and state repression, and stands in the way of police accountability across the US. Thomas Beck will discuss strategies to expose the existence of the Code of Silence in order to build municipal liability theories, with tips on crossing cops and using expert testimony. Mary Howell will talk about peer intervention within police departments as an antidote to the Code of Silence.


  • Thomas Beck (The Beck Law Firm)
  • Mary Howell (EPIC-NOLA)

Moderator: Michael Avery (President, NPAP)




2:30 PM CST - We Fight to Win: Defeating and Abolishing Qualified Immunity

The legal doctrine of Qualified Immunity has grown deep and far-reaching roots as a powerful shield, protecting cops from accountability in civil-rights lawsuits. Recent uprising demands have shone light on the injustices of QI, while some conservative legal scholars have also denounced its legitimacy.  Paul Hughes will talk about the mechanics of opposing QI in briefing, including tips on how to win and working toward overturning the doctrine, while educating judges in the process. Frances Carpenter will talk about existing and upcoming legislative efforts across the country and other movement-oriented approaches to overcoming and abolishing QI.


  • Frances Carpenter (Law Office of Frances Crockett)
  • Paul Hughes (McDermott Will & Emery)

Moderator: Jacqueline Greene (Friedman and Gilbert)


3:30 PM CST - Reform v. Abolition: Strategies and Tensions in Police Misconduct Litigation

Police misconduct litigation—particularly in the context of the current uprising—sits at the heart of tensions between movement demands for reform and abolition. Different demands within communities often clash. Police misconduct litigation itself inherently validates the role of the legal system and “good” policing, even when client goals are abolitionist. Michelle Gross and Monique Cullars Doty, along with moderator Ashlee Albies, will explore these tensions and discuss strategies for working within and in support of the movement for Black liberation in this moment of uprising.


  • Michelle Gross (Communities United Against Police Brutality [CUAPB])
  • Monique Cullars Doty (Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro)

Moderator: Ashlee Albies (Albies & Stark, LLC)


October 1st, 2020 12:00 PM through  4:30 PM
Registration Fee
Law Student $ 0.00
Legal Worker $ 75.00
NLG Attorney $ 150.00
Non-NLG Attorney $ 200.00