Around 60 attorneys, law students and other legal workers demonstrated Friday on the north side of Philadelphia City Hall holding signs that read “law strikes back” to show their support for the marchers who have been filling the streets to object to the policies of President Trump.
Legal communities in more than a dozen other cities, including Chicago, Portland, Ore. and Washington, D.C., planned similar walkouts or rallies on Friday.
In Philadelphia, the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s Molly Tack-Hooper said the rally — organized by the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild — was to help remind attorneys that offering free legal support is appreciated, but taking to the streets may be just as significant.
“This is a very important backdrop. These court cases do not happen in a vacuum. Having this many people stand up and say, ‘this is not the country I want to be living in. These are not our values.’ It’s an important groundwork for the legal challenges,” said Tack-Hooper, speaking while holding her 2-month-old, Finn.
In recent weeks, she said, more than 200 private practice lawyers have reached out to the ACLU of PA to offer free services in efforts to fight back against some of Trump’s executive orders.
Next week, the mayor’s office and the Philadelphia Bar Association will hold a meeting to figure out how to best deploy all the lawyers stepping up to protect immigrants and other groups targeted by Trump’s policies.
“So many keep calling us to say, ‘I haven’t done public interest work in the past, but I need to be part of this. I want to defend the rule of law,'” Tack-Hooper said.
Chauncey Colwell, a retired product liability lawyer who lives in Bryn Mawr, showed up to assist in “creating the image of constant public support for the people who have been endangered by the current administration.”
“Generating a certain amount of support may generate support for the populations who are being targeted,” Colwell said.
A bike ride and protest attracted several hundred riders Friday evening. The riders road through the streets of Center City and University City. Organizers of this event wrote on their Facebook page: “Donald Trump and his administration’s disregard for human life does not represent us, nor our communities, nor our city.”