The Legal Observer (LO) program of the National Lawyers Guild was formed in 1968 in New York City to respond to repression of protests at Columbia University and of ongoing citywide protests that were part of the anti-war and civil rights movements. Around the same time, student NLG members formed a legal response to the mass arrests of demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The overall program is a component of the Guild’s Mass Defense Committee (MDC) and autonomous regional programs are run by respective chapters. The St. Louis Chapter began reconstituting its program in 2011 in response to the Occupy movement and the LO program was rapidly developed in response to the uprising in Ferguson, MO in August 2014 and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Legal Observers respond upon request to protests, rallies, and direct actions that are in furtherance of human and civil rights or social justice goals.
Current Legal Observers click here for training and other resources.