Taproot Earth is building a network of lawyers working to support Black-, Brown-, and Indigenous communities and movements leading us toward climate justice and a just transition from an extractive to a living economy and democracy.
The Just Transition Lawyering Network will build power, shift resources, and engage in systemic change for climate justice and a just transition.
By building the infrastructure for a values-aligned community of attorneys and scholars who are committed to Black-, Brown-, and Indigenous-led frontline movements.
Several lawyers shared their insights on just transition lawyering for the launch of JTLN. Watch their responses by clicking the questions below:
- How do you define a “just transition”?
- What is your connection to just transition lawyering?
- What roles can lawyers play to support communities and movements at the frontlines of the climate crisis?
- Who should see themselves as part of JTLN?
- Looking into the future, how do you want the lawyers of JTLN to have shown up in this fight for climate justice?
The Network will provide space for legal practitioners and scholars to:
- Strengthen our analysis, skills, and relationships through shared learning, mentorship, and community-building.
- Establish and reinforce mechanisms for accountability as we engage with communities and clients impacted by the climate crisis.
- Facilitate information sharing and coordination of strategies across regions, sectors, and movement efforts.
- Connect frontline communities to legal resources.
- Support mobilization in response to emergent and disaster needs.
OUR POINTS OF CONNECTION
The Network brings together attorneys and attorney networks who:
- Share a common framework that links lawyering to resist and repair the harms of extraction with lawyering for new, community-stewarded models and solutions.
- Share a common understanding of accountability to frontline communities and movements, rooted in the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing and the values of just transition lawyering.
- Represent a breadth of practice areas, regions, and communities impacted by the climate crisis.
- Center Black Liberation and Indigenous sovereignty in our practice.
The vision of the Network emerges from the legacy of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, whose legal response to the needs of frontline communities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Disaster inspired Taproot’s work.
The Network also builds on Taproot’s partnerships in creating the Just Transition Lawyering Institute (JTLI), which brought together organizers, attorney advocates, and scholars for a 12-week pilot institute that ran from fall 2021 to spring 2022.
The climate crisis will impact all areas of the law, so we hope to welcome members across a wide range of regions, sectors, practice areas, and strategies.
We envision the Network bringing together licensed practicing attorneys, legal academics, and law-trained professionals putting their law degrees to other creative uses. We look forward to creating opportunities for law student engagement in the future. The Network is for you if:
- You are a licensed attorney, a law professor, or a law-trained individual applying that learning to a different field.
- You are actively responding to the impacts of the climate crisis on your clients, your community, and your engagement with law and policy — or you are beginning to recognize that your field and every legal field will be touched by the climate crisis, if it has not been already.
- You strive toward lawyering practices that honor the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing, including:
- Understanding client and community needs and centering their voices so that lawyers come in as needed.
- Utilizing the tools of the law to advance community visions and larger movement strategies.
- Translating and breaking down law and policy language so it is accessible for broader audiences.
- Being mindful of the power that comes with a law degree.
- Understanding layers of injustice & role of historic trauma experienced by frontline communities with which we are working.
- Passing the mic and facilitating access to power.
- You understand that movements lead to transformative change and that lawyers need to support those movements.
- You are curious, imaginative, and willing to learn from and with the people around you.
Starting in 2021, the Just Transition Lawyering Institute (JTLI) piloted a curriculum that applies the Just Transition Framework to law and lawyering and expands participants’ capacity to learn, teach, practice, and support the communities we love to fight the bad and dream the new into being.
JTLI co-anchors The Chisholm Legacy Project and Gilmore Khandhar, LLC will steward the Institute forward, launching the next cohort in the fall of 2023. The application will go live on July 1, 2023.
View the videos below for an introduction to some of the foundational material from the Institute.
- Settler Colonialism, Racial Capitalism, and the Struggle for Environmental Justice, featuring Natsu Taylor Saito (Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law emerita, Georgia State College of Law)
- Colonialism, Capitalism, and Climate Change – Contemporary Legacies, featuring Angela Harris (Distinguished Professor of Law emerita, UC Davis School of Law)
- Stopping Extractive Industry Expansion, featuring Adrienne Bloch (Managing Attorney, Fossil Fuels Program, Earthjustice)
- What is Solidarity Economies Lawyering? Part I and Part II, featuring Julian Hill, Esq. (Clinical Teaching Fellow, Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic, Georgetown University Law Center); Sushil Jacob, Esq. (Cooperative Enterprise Attorney); Gowri Krishna, Esq. (Community Economic Development Lawyer and Professor, New York Law School); Renee Hatcher, Esq. (Director, Community Enterprise & Solidarity Economy Clinic, UIC John Marshall Law School); Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq. (Executive Director, Black Belt Justice Center); and moderator Parag R. Khandhar, Esq. (Principal, Gilmore Khandhar, LLC)