Diana Imbert

Putting the power of the law back into New Yorkers’ hands through a legal education movement for youth

Black and white image of Diana Imbert
Defying Legal Gravity
Black and white image of Diana Imbert

Struggling to balance the responsibilities of a full-time job, school, and teaching at a non-profit in her community, Diana began to fall behind in her first year of law school. Desperate for extra study time and hoping to reinforce the material, she started teaching the first-year law courses she was learning to the pre-college students she was teaching on the weekends. Not only did it work (she passed!), she was surprised to see that her students not only digested the law, but used it effectively to navigate their worlds. She would hear examples of using contract law at the bodega and property law in their family's tenant-landlord issues.

Born from this accidental pilot was her non-profit organization, Defying Legal Gravity (DLG). DLG democratizes the law, and builds the power of communities to know, use, and shape the law by teaching the foundational first-year law school curriculum to NYC youth. Starting with high school, Diana runs a Saturday program where, throughout the academic year, students learn the required legal courses studied by every lawyer in America. When taken together, these courses give young people an access key to a legal understanding of the world, enabling them to become immediate advocates for justice in their communities. Eventually, she plans to use DLG as the cornerstone of a broader legal-literacy movement, shortening the distance between everyday New Yorkers and real legal knowledge, providing tools for communities to understand, navigate, and shape the law itself.