Mass Defense


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The DC Mass Defense Committee is a network of volunteer lawyers, legal workers, and law students who provide legal support for political activists, protesters, and movements for social justice.



To mark the end of last year, we would like to mention some of the actions members of the Mass Defense Committee were involved in and some of the actions in which we helped those who are leading the different social movements we support. We also would like to thank the dozens of attorneys, legal workers, students, and other volunteers who gave their time and expertise to the work of the Committee. 

  • The Committee elected a new Chair and change the name of the Committee to better reflect politically the work the Committee does.
  • The Committee adopted a policy on how to handle requests for Legal Observers.
  • The Committee updated its listservs for both Legal Observers and Committee business.
  • The Committee adopted a new Membership policy.
  • In January, we helped Law for Black Lives DC provide legal support for a banner drop at Union Station, an action put on by No Justice No Pride, Black Lives Matter DC, and others.
  • In March we helped Law for Black Lives DC provide legal support to the 24/7 occupation of an administrative building at Howard University. The occupation lasted eight days and resulted in meaningful concessions from Howard University’s administration.
  • Committee members and the Georgetown student chapter organized a panel presentation about regulating hate speech in the post-Charlottsville context, which took place on March 26. Check it out here,
  • After last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Mary McCord of Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection brought suit against a number of groups present that day, seeking an injunction prohibiting them from returning to the city. The suit named two leftist groups who the Charlottesville community had asked for help with community defense: Socialist Rifle Club and Redneck Revolt. We assisted the NLG Central Virginia’s legal representation of those two groups. The parties eventually settled.
  • We provided legal support to Smash Racism DC’s splinter march from the MoveOn/Women’s March June 30 protest against Trump’s immigration policy, which ended at Stephen Miller’s apartment complex.
  • We provided region-wide legal support, partnering with Law for Black Lives DC and NLG Central Virginia, to activists who confronted fascists and police during the weekend of Unite the Right II.
  • In March, we provided legal support to BLM DC as they participated in the March for Our Lives.
  • We provided legal support to Smash Racism DC, including advice and support for an anti-grand jury campaign.
  • We provided some legal support to protesters confronting police at Nooks Barbershop in late June.
  • We provided legal support for those protesting ICE facilities throughout the year.
  • We have provided a Know-Your-Rights trainings, LO trainings, advanced LO trainings, and LOC trainings for activists and committee members throughout the year. 

     Would you like to get involved? Contact the committee chair at to obtain the Committee Membership Form.