The Legal Observer (LO) program of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) 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 (DNC) 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 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 movement for Black lives. Legal Observers (LOs) respond upon request to protests, rallies, and direct actions that are in furtherance of human and civil rights or social, racial, reproductive, LGBTQ+, economic, and/or environmental justice goals.
To request Legal Observers, please complete this secure form or contact a trusted LO.
NLG-STL periodically conducts Legal Observer trainings across the St. Louis region. Most trainings are announced on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. To request a LO training, email info at nlgstl dot org or contact a trusted Legal Observer.
Current Legal Observers click here for training and other resources.
NLG-STL works with St. Louis Jail & Legal Support and street medics, as well as area legal firms (nonprofit and private) and law clinics. Our program collaborates with ACLU-MO.
Some other LO programs (incomplete list):