Bellagio Library/

The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated: People Power and Legal Power in the 21st Century

edited by Katie Redford and Mark Gevisser

Katie participated in the Bellagio residency program in 2018 and returned for a convening in 2019. These visits to the Bellagio Center advanced The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated: People Power and Legal Power in the 21st Century (OR Books, 2022). Katie is a lawyer with expertise in human rights, climate change and corporate accountability. She is executive director of the Equation Campaign and is co-founder of EarthRights International.

A few words with Katie

“When this project began I had intended to write the book entirely myself, which was totally unrealistic considering I had a full-time job running a global NGO, litigating human rights and environmental cases against corporations. Based on the feedback I got from other residents while at Bellagio, the idea shifted to a book that would instead bring various practitioners from around the world – those I had worked with and others that would exemplify the thesis – together for a conference, where they would write their own stories, and I would edit and tie them together. I would, of course, still write and reflect on my own experience of 25 years – but also through the stories of other people. Mark Gevisser – a ‘real’ writer who was a fellow resident – and I decided that we’d write and edit the book in partnership.

“Mark and I also held the conference that led to the book at Bellagio about 18 months after our residencies. It was great timing: our conference was the week before the mass mobilization of the September 2019 climate strikes, and Mark and I, with other conference attendees, traveled to Turin and attended the climate strike there. One of the leading youth climate activists from Italy, David Wicker, joined us as a special guest for our last day of the conference – and we reflected on our own experiences, together with his, as the global climate crisis was (and still is) forefront to many of our participants’ work.”


“It takes a lawyer, an activist and a storyteller to change the world.”

The concept of movement lawyering – taking direction from impacted communities and organizers, as opposed to imposing leadership or expertise as legal advocates – was first proposed by Bill Quigley and Vince Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights a decade ago. Now, in The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated, 25 of the world’s most accomplished movement lawyers and activists become storytellers, reflecting on their experiences at the frontlines of some of the most significant struggles of our time. In an era where human rights are under threat, their words offer both an inspiration and a compass for the way movements can use – and sometimes break – the law to bring about social justice.

The contributors take you into their worlds: Jennifer Robinson frantically orchestrating a protest outside London’s Ecuadorean embassy to prevent the authorities from arresting her client Julian Assange; Justin Hansford at the barricades during the protests over the murder of Black teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Ghida Frangieh in Lebanon’s detention centers trying to access arrested protestors during the 2019 revolution; Pavel Chikov defending Pussy Riot and other abused prisoners in Russia; Ayisha Siddiqa, a shy Pakistani immigrant, discovering community in her new home while leading the 2019 youth climate strike in Manhattan; Greenpeace activist Kumi Naidoo on a rubber dinghy in stormy Arctic seas contemplating his mortality as he races to occupy an oil rig.

The stories in The Revolution Will Not Be Litigated capture the complex and often awkward dance between legal reform and social change.

Explore More

To find out more about Katie’s work, visit the Equation Campaign and EarthRights International. For more on co-author Mark Gevisser, visit his website.