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Legal Observer Program

What is the NLG’s Legal Observer Program? The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal Observer program is part of a comprehensive system of legal support designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the police and with the fewest possible consequences from the criminal justice system. NLG Legal Observers do not act as part of the demonstration but rather document interactions between demonstrators and law enforcement in anticipation of criminal defense or civil litigation. For more information about the National Lawyers Guild’s Legal Observer program, visit http://www.nlg.org/legal-observer®-program.

Request NLG Legal Observers for a Demonstration! To request NLG Legal Observers for a demonstration or action, organizers must fill out this form at least ten (10) days in advance of the planned action. Please provide as much logistical information regarding the demonstration as possible without divulging confidential or legally-sensitive information. The NLG does not send unrequested Legal Observers to demonstrations.

Get Trained as an NLG Legal Observer! The Pittsburgh NLG also conducts occasional trainings for those wishing to become NLG Legal Observers. Though NLG Legal Observers are typically law students, legal workers, and lawyers, trainings are open to everyone – except those working for or with government or law enforcement agencies – interested in being trained and serving as an NLG Legal Observer. We encourage organizations that hold frequent actions to have a few of their members trained to legal observe in the event that none of our volunteers are available. If your organization would like to schedule a training, please email us at pittsburgh@nlg.org.

Please review the Legal Observer Manual (located at http://www.nlg.org/sites/default/files/LO_Manual.pdf) prior to attending a training but note that reading the manual alone does not constitute an official training. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the availability of hardcopies of the manuals at the trainings; as such, attendees are encouraged to save or print their own copy of the training manual for reference.

NLG Legal Observer Resources