Legal Observer Program


How to Request Legal Observers

Email We encourage organizers to contact us as soon as possible prior to the action, as last-minute request can be hard for us to accommodate. We consider your request for Legal Observers to be privileged legal communication and any information you provide to us will be kept confidential and never be voluntarily disclosed to anyone.

Overview of the Legal Observer Program

The NLG Legal Observer Program is part of a comprehensive system of legal support which is designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible, without unconstitutional disruption or interference by the government and with the least possible consequences from the criminal justice system. The Program works to build and maintain principled, trust-based relationships with the activists and organizations who request our services.

The primary role of a Legal Observer is to observe and record incidents and the activities of law enforcement, including any arrest, use of force, intimidating display of force, denial of access to public spaces like parks and sidewalks, and any other behavior that appears to restrict demonstrators’ ability to express their political views.

Legal Observers don’t give legal, tactical, or political advice, negotiate with the police for demonstrators, or speak to the press or public on behalf of demonstrators. Legal observers also do not interfere with arrests or police activity in any way.

Legal Observers are typically, but not exclusively, law students, legal workers, and lawyers. 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 political protests.

If you are interested in becoming a legal observer (or assisting with jail support), please email