Legal Observers

I recently had the pleasure of going to a Legal Observer training by the National Lawyer’s Guild.

And what, you might ask, is a Legal Observer?

As the National Lawyer’s Guild describes:

The 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.

What’s particularly interesting is that Legal Observers are trained and directed by Guild attorneys, who often have established attorney-client relationships with activist organizations, or are in litigation challenging police tactics at mass assemblies.

Essentially, Legal Observers – who don’t need to be lawyers themselves – serve as part of the legal team for activist organizations and thus have attorney-client privilege . Their role is to objectively document and observe demonstrations and, if necessary, to provide legal support to their client activists.

Additionally, as the Guild adds: The presence of Legal Observers® may serve as a deterrent to unconstitutional behavior by law enforcement during a demonstration.

Trained Observers are added to a distribution list of opportunities and are welcome to volunteer for as many or as few events as they have capacity for.

For information about upcoming trainings, contact your local Guild chapter. The Boston office can be reached at (617) 227-7335.

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