NLG advocates on many fronts, including environmental justice, progressive drug policy reform, prison abolition, support for the trade union movement, international human rights work and, of course, protection of the right to protest. It is this protection that is at the heart of our legal compliance and mass defence programs. Our mass defense program includes legal observation on the ground, training on how to identify your rights, prison helplines and prison support for those arrested during protests, as well as legal representation in protest cases. The National Lawyers Guild is the primary resource for preparing legal observers. NLG`s website offers a wealth of information on this topic, as well as a comprehensive training manual for legal observers that explains the roles and responsibilities of legal observers, as well as recommendations for setting up a team of legal observers for your next event. In other countries, legal observers are linked to groups such as Liberty (UK), Green and Black Cross (UK), the G8 Legal Collective (Scotland) and others. In Australia, priests acted as legal observers during major moratorium marches against the Vietnam War in the 1970s. In September 2000, the Pt`chang Nonviolent Community Safety Group organized a large team of legal observers for the S11 protest against the World Economic Forum in Melbourne.  A decade later, during the Occupy movement, a permanent group of teams of legal observers, later called Melbourne Activist Legal Support, was formed to monitor actions in Melbourne.  In Sydney, the Legal Observers Project was established in April 2001, officially located at the Community Law Centre at the University of Technology Sydney and renamed Human Rights Monitors. This group reformed in 2009 under the name Sydney Copwatch.  Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International sometimes send human rights monitors with similar roles to legal observers. NLG partnered with the Bureau des Avocats Internationales, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to initiate legal observers in Haiti during the May Day 2018 protests.
 If you are an organizer in the community, please contact us. We do not enter rooms where we are not invited out of respect for your group. If you`d like to learn more about what we do or have legal observers at your event, envoyez-SeattleLORequest@gmail.com email when you`re in Seattle or OlympiaLORequest@gmail.com when you`re in Olympia. Legal observers are individuals, usually representatives of civil rights organizations, who participate in public demonstrations, protests and other activities when there is a risk of conflict between the public or activists and the police, security forces or other law enforcement agencies. The goal of legal observers is to monitor, record and report illegal or inappropriate behavior. Legal or human rights observers act as independent third parties in the context of conflict-torn civil protest, observing police behaviour to hold police accountable for their actions. Legal observers can write incident reports on police violence and misconduct and then prepare reports. The use of video and fixed cameras, incident reports and audio recorders is common.  1) The formation of an attorney-client relationship gives us a stronger legal argument that all evidence compiled by our legal observers is privileged legal work and is therefore not subject to a subpoena for use by the government. 2) When legal observers witness an arrest, they can quickly pass this information on to our volunteer lawyers to coordinate prison support, obtain evidence and provide information. We only provide legal observers for events that align with our mission and progressive values. As legal observers, we are there to document interactions with police, especially those that could have criminal or civil consequences later on.
In the Seattle chapter, we limit the work of legal observer to law students, lawyers, or lawyers who understand the sensitive nature of the confidential relationship that underpins our work. We try to provide as much legal protection as possible to the protesters we support. The aim is to use this information later in criminal or civil cases as an objective account of events. Please be prepared to provide detailed information about the event. We only send requests to our network of legal observers if an application has been properly processed by NLG staff and sufficient information has been provided. You may have seen us at a march or rally. You can`t miss the green hats; These are the colorful headlights that let everyone know who we are and why we are here. We are legal observers of the National Lawyers Guild. Legal compliance is an exciting way to play an important role in any demonstration or protest.
However, this task also involves great responsibility. Legal observers are mainly law students, lawyers, or other members of the legal community, as these people are usually familiar with the laws and can identify violations in legal terms. However, anyone can be an effective legal observer with proper training. If you are interested in legal observation, you must first take legal observer training. What we do is document and observe police interactions. We try to get the names, dates of birth and contact information of inmates so that our mass defense team can link them to bail money, visit them in prison, make sure they needed medication, or contact friends and family to let them know where they are. We hope that our presence can deter violent police tactics and, if not, we will ensure that we have documented these tactics later for legal advocacy. We are here to ensure that the right to protest is protected and that the state is held accountable for its actions towards protesters. In the United States, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) owns trademarks only for the words “legal observer” and “legal observer” on a green background. The National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer certification program was launched in New York City in 1968 in response to protests at Columbia University and anti-war and civil rights protests throughout the city.